The Very Best Things to See at London Gallery Weekend

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Coco Capitán Naïvy
Chica sailor sailing with daisies, 2022Photography by Coco Capitán. Courtesy of Maximillian William

Here’s our guide to the best exhibitions to catch over London Gallery Weekend and beyond; from George Rouy’s bodily new paintings to Coco Capitán’s sensual exploration of the sea

Naïvy: in fifty (definitive) photographs by Coco Capitán at Maximillian William: Until June 24, 2023

Coco Capitán loves an adventure. Following recent projects documenting locals in Kyoto and Siberia, the Spanish photographer and artist’s latest series, Naïvy, centres on the sea and all things naval. An early iteration of the series was previously exhibited at Maximillian William in 2020, but is now concluded with 50 photos shot across locations like the Caribbean, Mallorca, Sweden and New York state. Capitán has a prolific career as a fashion photographer, having shot for brands like Gucci, and here, her playful, sensual eye roves over idyllic seascapes, naked torsos, soiled boxers, glassy dildos, nighttime skinny dippers and fields of daisies with an acute curiosity. Drawing on the queer history of the naval costumes, many of the subjects wear classic 1940s sailor suits, queered with the addition of embroidered daisies or embroidered with the word ‘LOST.’

Read AnOther’s feature on the series here

Furni by Issy Wood at Carlos/Ishikawa: Until June 24, 2023

Although not officially part of London Gallery Weekend, Issy Wood’s exhibition at Carlos/Ishikawa in east London is well worth a visit. The British artist, who also has a budding career as an electronic-pop musician and writer – and famously turned down gallerist Larry Gagosian – is known for her deadpan, foreboding paintings of everyday objects, clothes, people (often their teeth), car interiors and animals. Her new show features a series of closely cropped self-portraits that play with the masking of identity, alongside spectacular paintings on a plush modular sofa set of things as diverse as dice, rabbits, dancers, chains, swans, keys and silver spoons.

Hardcore at Sadie Coles HQ: Until August 5, 2023

With work by over 18 emerging and well-established artists including Carolee Schneemann, Cindy Sherman, Bruce LaBruce, Joan Semmel and Monica Bonvicini, Hardcore at Sadie Coles HQ in Soho is a provocative, unfiltered exploration of sex, intimacy and bedroom power dynamics. “The concept of Hardcore is not to scandalise or titillate, but rather to represent without judgement,” say curators Sadie Coles and John O’Doherty of the show. “Art should always provide a safe space to explore complex topics.” Highlights include Sherman’s controversial Sex Pictures, Schneemann’s 36 images depicting women’s vulvas, and Bonvicini’s BDSM leather whip. Downstairs, Isabella Burley of Climax Books has curated a special selection of shoppable books, magazines and ephemera in response to the exhibition. 

Read AnOther’s feature on the exhibition here.

Beautiful Girls on Top! by Laila Majid and Louis Blue Newby at The Shop at Sadie Coles HQ: Until July 1, 2023

At The Shop at Sadie Coles HQ, a smaller space across the street dedicated to emerging talent, catch Beautiful Girls on Top! by artist duo Laila Majid and Louis Blue Newby. The show features works from their ongoing Spread series, which mixes images from fetish and porn magazines, wildlife encyclopaedias, anime drawing manuals and iPhone photos lifted from online forums, speaking to themes of intimacy and the internet.

Bodysuit by George Rouy at Hannah Barry Gallery: June 3 - September 9, 2023 

Across two floors of Hannah Barry Gallery in Peckham, British artist George Rouy presents his first solo exhibition in London in almost four years. With a primary focus on the human body, depicted in the nude in garish colours and abstracted in vicious swathes of paint, Rouy’s paintings land somewhere entirely new between the psychic angst of Francis Bacon and old masters’ nudes. Music and dance are the driving forces behind his practice; the artist cites Israeli choreographer Sharon Eyal, who he first encountered in 2021, as a seminal influence. Rouy will launch his first ever artist’s monograph, Selected Works 2017-2023 (published by Tarmac Press) on the opening night, while Eyal will put on an unmissable live dance performance at Hannah Barry on July 19.

Ein Tir by Will Waterworth at Pipeline: Until June 10, 2023

Having shot models against snow-capped mountains, luscious gardens and gothic landscapes for magazines like AnOther and A Magazine Curated by, Will Waterworth is known for his classic fashion photography. “I did so many [fashion shoots] last year and it was slightly killing me,” he told AnOther, which led him to focus on making personal work – the results of which are gathered in his second solo exhibition, Ein Tir (which translates to ‘Our Land’ in Welsh) at Pipeline. Waterworth ventured to the Isle of Wight, the Alps, and England’s south coast for the project, drawing inspiration from 19th-century British portrait photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, Thomas Mann’s 1924 novel The Magic Mountain and Jacque Henri Lartigue’s photos of his brother Zissou attempting to fly a glider. The resulting images are astonishingly beautiful, seemingly of another time yet totally timeless.

Read AnOther’s feature on the exhibition here.

itsanosofadog *It’s an arse of a dog by Amanda Moström at Rose Easton: Until June 10, 2023

Since opening its doors in Bethnal Green in 2021, Rose Easton has been putting on some of the most cutting-edge, immersive exhibitions in London. Formerly operating under the name Morain House until 2022, Rose Easton – a chic woman whose wedding was recently covered in British Vogue, and whose gallery is adjacent to Molly Goddard’s studio – has displayed conceptual art by the likes of Louise Bourgeois, Jenkin van Zyl and Laila Majid exploring themes of sexuality, kink, fetish, fashion and technology. With a self-confessed emphasis on “materiality with a subtle femme gravity”, the gallery space is transformed for each exhibition, with lush carpeting and installations incorporating materials like latex and fur. The gallery’s latest show is by Swedish artist Amanda Moström; her grandmother’s delicate floral photos are on show alongside YouTube stills of Labradors disciplining their puppies in keyhole-shaped furry frames made from Alpaca fleece.

Read AnOther’s feature on the exhibition here.

Cary Kwok at Herald St: Until July 15, 2023 

Cary Kwok created the show-stopping artwork for the cover of Luncheon’s 14th issue, which became ubiquitous on Instagram following its release: a lit cigarette perched in an ashtray set on a cool green table, smoke curling upwards. A similar image, of another cigarette, appears in the artist’s new show at Herald St gallery in their central London space, amongst more cinematic paintings of everyday things like red wine, toothbrushes, people, ladybirds and leaves. “Many things which are often overlooked can become clues of human activities,” Kwok told AnOther. “Everything around us can tell a story.”

Read AnOther’s feature on the exhibition here.

New Shapes by Sahara Longe at Timothy Taylor: June 2 - July 8, 2023

In Mayfair, British artist Sahara Longe presents her first UK solo exhibition New Shapes at Timothy Taylor. Taking inspiration from sport, offices, and people walking in the street (particularly the crowd passing through her local Brixton train station), Longe’s vibrant, large-scale canvases hark back to Alex Katz’s busy party paintings (the American artist is also represented by the gallery). Utilising the bright colours of German Expressionism and the lost methods of old masters, Longe says of her work: “They’re snapshots of people. I imagine what people are doing and saying, and create my own story about what their lives might be like.”

London Gallery Weekend runs from 2 - 4 June 2023, although all the exhibitions featured here are open beyond these dates.