Focal Point Gallery, Elmer Ave, Southend-on-Sea SS1 1NB

David Blandy: The World After

The World After, David Blandy, 2019, installation view.

How many times can the world end? If the current abundance of post-apocalyptic fiction is anything to go by, too many times. Coming out of this crowded field of contemporary art and popular culture is David Blandy’s exhibition ‘The World After’ at Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea. The show takes as its subject Canvey Wick on Canvey Island, Essex, the site of a partially built oil refinery that was abandoned after the oil crisis in 1973. A case study in regeneration, the Wick is now a 93.2 hectare nature reserve, and one of the most important areas in Britain for endangered invertebrates. For over a year, Blandy has worked with local gaming communities in Southend to write a fictional future for this site, resulting in a film, an installation and a Dungeons and Dragons-esque role-playing game. Review by Kirsty White

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Frans Hals Museum, Groot Heiligland 62; Haarlem, Netherlands

Marianna Simnett: My Broken Animal

The Needle and the Larynx (video still)

I must treat everything as a given. As such, it seems necessary to accept that Marianna Simnett’s exhibition at the Frans Hals Museum feels like two distinct shows packaged into one on purpose. In taking this rupture seriously, the question would then be, why? What does the two-in-one form do here? With the first body comprised of two works from 2016 and the second of four from 2019, a separation along the lines of the chronological is a start. Review by Isabelle Sully

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Museum of Cycladic Art, Neofitou Douka 4, Athens 106 74, Greece

Lynda Benglis: In the Realm of the Senses, Presented by NEON

Lynda Benglis: In the Realm of the Senses, Installation view copyright Panos Kokkinias Courtesy NEON

I’ve never seen Lynda Benglis’s work look more relevant than scattered around an opulent Neo-Classical mansion in the shadow of the Acropolis. The Stathatos Mansion is a slave to taste and style, determinedly emulating the great villas of the past, and Benglis’s sculpture is its total opposite. It’s bold, it’s bombastic, even vulgar at times, and unlike Neo-Classicism, never conventional, not even for a second. Review by William Summerfield

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David Zwirner, 24 Grafton Street, London W1S 4EZ

Jockum Nordström: The Anchor Hits the Sand

Installation views of Jockum Nordström: The Anchor Hits the Sand at David Zwirner London, 22 November 2019 - 19 December 2019.

David Zwirner recently featured ‘The Anchor Hits the Sand’, a solo exhibition by Swedish artist Jockum Nordström. Upon entrance, visitors encounter a collection of Nordström’s watercolour collages. The motifs that comprise the works illustrate Nordström’s imaginative spirit and oeuvre. Each composition is peculiar and ambiguous, characterised by various scenes, with figures who seemingly have no apparent relation to one another. Review by Sheena Carrington

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Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024, United States

Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence

How Sweet the Day After This and That, Deep Sleep Is Truly Welcomed

It’s a testament to the strength of the show that it not only introduces us to Pittman’s incredible range, but gives us enough depth to familiarise us with his recurring motifs and hallmarks, allowing us to find a thread through the galleries. Review by Deborah Krieger

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V&A, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

Tim Walker: Wonderful Things

V&A Tim Walker Wonderful Things Exhibition Installation View - 'Pen & Ink' Section

One corner of the V&A has been transformed into Wonderland. Tim Walker’s exhibition, ‘Wonderful Things’ houses a vast portfolio of his photography, ranging in style from sharp and stark portrayals of singular subjects to impossibly complex ethereal fantasies. Review by Zoe Ettinger

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Hastings Contemporary, Rock-A-Nore Rd, Hastings TN34 3DW

Victor Willing: Visions

Standing Nude

Hastings Contemporary’s retrospective ‘Victor Willing: Visions’ is the first of its kind since the British artist’s death in 1988. It includes sixty-five paintings, drawings, and sculptures spanning the entirety of his career. But to describe Willing’s work in this way, like the work of any other artist – with a beginning, a middle, and an end – is to do so incorrectly. Willing’s artistic output has a beginning and it has an end, but it is missing a middle. It is because of Willing’s ‘stasis’, as John McEwan describes the decade-long period during which he stopped painting, that he has remained relatively unknown. But it is also what makes his work so intriguing. Review by Jack Head

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Richard Saltoun Gallery, 41 Dover Street, London W1S 4NS

Matrescence

Matrescence, installation view, Richard Saltoun Gallery London.

The business of being a mother is a messy one. Richard Saltoun’s new exhibition is the first of two shows hosted by the London gallery to address the triumphant and tragic path of motherhood. The title ‘Matrescence’ (you’d be forgiven for drawing a blank) refers to an anthropological science developed by American doctor Dana Raphael in the 1970s, which discusses the process of becoming a mother – psychologically and physically speaking. For the uninitiated, it was also Dr Raphael who coined the term “doula”. Review by Claire Phillips

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Victoria Miro Gallery, 16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW

Celia Paul

Installation view, Celia Paul, 13 November - December 2019.

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” These are the words that Jane Eyre uttered defiantly to Mr Rochester in Charlotte Brontë’s tale of love and woe. And like Brontë and her sisters, living in the restraints of their father’s parsonage, the British artist Celia Paul spent her youth surrounded by women in the Devonshire and Yorkshire countryside, where her father was the Bishop of Bradford. Review by Claire Phillips

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The Sunday Painter, 117-119 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1XA

Chips and Egg

Milly Thompson, Nor playing the flute, 2015, Oil and acrylic on board, 61 × 51 cm

‘Chips and Egg’ quotes a classic piece of British cinema,’ Shirley Valentine’. The film tells the story of a Liverpool housewife breaking out of her world of domestic cliché to embark on a spontaneous Greek holiday and find love and adventure only to end up in another set of clichés. This is precisely the self-digesting system of cultural production that’s light-heartedly recognised by this exhibition. The success of ‘Chips and Egg’ lies in highlighting the beauty and sincerity in seemingly futile repetition for the sake of care, survival, indulgence and art. Review by Sonja Teszler

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PhotoAccess, New South Wales Cres, Griffith ACT 2603, Australia

Now You See Me: Visualising the Surveillance State

Marcus DeSieno, 48.294685, -113.241478 from No Man's Land - Views from a Surveillance State, 2018, inkjet print, 81 cm x 101 cm

Smile. Chances are you’re on camera. ‘Now You See Me: Visualising the Surveillance State’ provides an incisive exploration of the ubiquity of surveillance technologies; referencing strategies of observation and power from the 18th century and illustrating their intensified application in our modern world. Underpinning the exhibition, curated by Ashley Lumb with assistance by Kate Matthews, is a structuring dichotomy of visibility and invisibility, with the influence of the Panopticon – an architectural fixture designed by Jeremey Bentham in 1785 for use in prisons – looming large over the history of modern surveillance. Review by Daniel Pateman

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Jerwood Arts, 171 Union Street, London SE1 0LN

Jerwood Collaborate!

 Keiken + George Jasper Stone, Feel My Metaverse, 2019

For ‘Jerwood Collaborate!’ Jerwood Arts commissioned four emerging and early career collectives and collaborative practitioners, Array, Languid Hands, Shy Bairns and Keiken + George Jasper Stone, enabling the groups to create new work and build on their existing practices. The variety in the practices exhibited demonstrate the different modes and outcomes of working together, encompassing everything from protest banners and marches, zine making and friendship quizzes and video and CGI work. Review by Emily Hale

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Turner Contemporary, Rendezvous, Margate CT9 1HG

Yuri Suzuki: The Welcome Chorus

On a rainy day in Margate outside the Turner Contemporary, twelve large, differently coloured horns play a song. Every two minutes, an AI machine within them generates a new tune comprised of voices that sound eerily like robotic children. This is Yuri Suzuki’s creation: ‘The Welcome Chorus’. Review by Zoe Ettinger

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