5 Must-See Shows in Europe this Fall

25 Aug 2022

In Europe, the past is always present. Nicknamed the 'Old World', it's no wonder that many museums dive into the continent's both illustrious and at times problematic past. That's precisely why the future also features prominently at European institutions – it's the only way to move forward and the lens through which we must envision what the world could, or should be.

This fall, we recommend the following 6 exhibitions that explore the current search for answers about the past and the artistic voices that ushered in modernity and beyond.

La Triennale di Milano | Unknown Unknowns: An Introduction to Mysteries (until December 11)

The 23rd International Exhibition of Triennale Milano, Unknown Unknowns addresses a series of themes including: gravity, seen as “the greatest designer”, an artisan that tirelessly shapes the universe; maps, systems by which trajectories and routes are determined; the new challenges facing architecture, such as how to live in extraterrestrial space; and, ultimately, the mysteries linked to deep space. Its four special commissions include work by the Japanese artist Yuri Suzuki, the Italian designer Irene Stracuzzi, the US architects' collective SOM, and the Turkish-American artist Refik Anadol. As well as these commissioned works, the show features a series of site-specific installations by Francis Kéré, Tomás Saraceno, Bosco Sodi, and others.

Francis Kéré's monumental installation at the entrance of 'Unknown Unknowns ' at La Triennale di Milano. Photography: DSL Studio
Francis Kéré's monumental installation at the entrance of 'Unknown Unknowns ' at La Triennale di Milano. Photography: DSL Studio
Otto Dix, 'Sylvia von Harden' (1926) at Musee National d'Art Moderne - Centre Pompidou. Photo: Scala, Florence © Otto Dix / Visda.   Germany in the 1920's
Otto Dix, 'Sylvia von Harden' (1926) at Musee National d'Art Moderne - Centre Pompidou. Photo: Scala, Florence © Otto Dix / Visda. Germany in the 1920's
Joan Mitchell. Plowed Field, 1971. © The Estate of Joan Mitchell
Joan Mitchell. Plowed Field, 1971. © The Estate of Joan Mitchell

Royal Academy, London |William Kentridge  (September 24 - December 11)

William Kentridge is South Africa’s most celebrated living artist. Kentridge’s globally acclaimed practice spans across etching, drawing, collage, film and sculpture to tapestry, theatre, opera, dance and music. The Johannesburg-born artist developed his early work during the apartheid regime of the 1980s, and his electrifying large-scale productions and animations have since been shown across the world as incisive commentary on society and what, if anything, happens after social injustice. This is his first survey exhibition in the UK.

Fondation Louis Vuitton | Claude Monet - Joan Mitchell  (October 5 - February 27)

Perfectly bridging the old and the new, this exhibition stages an unprecedented dialogue between the works of two exceptional artists, Claude Monet (1840-1926) and Joan Mitchell (1925-1992). Both left their mark on their respective eras and on subsequent generations of painters through their unique, immersive response to a shared landscape – that of the French countryside. In his last paintings, the Water Lilies, Monet aimed to recreate the motifs he observed on the surface of his water lily pond in Giverny. Joan Mitchell, on the other hand, explored via abstract composition the emotions she felt at La Tour, her studio in the small French village of Vétheuil. 

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen | Germany in the 1920's - Neue Sachlichkeit (until February 19)

After the First World War, German society during the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) experienced years of deep poverty and political unrest. Simultaneously, there happened a short-lived flourishing of democracy and a strong culture of freedom. Despite the crises, a period of wild and violent artistic innovation emerged. This exhibition offers a journey through the roaring and explosive 1920s in the Weimar Republic. The movement of "Neue Sachlichkeit" and its sober realism is spotlighted especially, with its harsh and satirical works of art.

Gropius Bau, Berlin | Louise Bourgeois: The Woven Child  (until October 23)

This is the first major retrospective of Louise Bourgeois to focus exclusively on the works that she made with fabrics and textiles during the final chapter of her storied career. It is also the largest exhibition of the artist’s work in Berlin, with many works that have never been shown before in Germany. The exhibition charts the artists’ lifelong connection to textiles, and the memories they conjure, through a diverse body of sculptures, installations, drawings, collages, books and prints.

– Words by Cultivist Team