This is the first in a new regular feature to highlight a number of exciting exhibitions happening across the UK, and we have selected, in an excitable and gushing sort of way, three shows to point you towards. The seminal works of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera at the Pallant House in Chichester, epic sculptor Jaume Plensa at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and the spectrum of artists exhibiting in Sunderland’s Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in The Wonders of the Invisible World. Each one as different to the next as they are individually brilliant.
Frida Kahlo & Diego Riviera Pallant House, Chichester
Incredibly important and psychologically, emotionally entwined with each other, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo are the two most famous artists to come out of Mexico. Kahlo, whose own traumatic experiences compelled her to paint, was the fervent champion of both her and Rivera’s desires for recognition. He, having already established himself as a painter and father of the Mexican Muralist Movement, was both tutor and husband to her. This exhibition, their first together in the UK, does nothing to dispel the mythological status they held together. Show runs until 9 October 2011.
Jaume Plensa Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield
Jaume Plensa is the Barcelona-born sculptor, whose pieces sit in the landscape of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park effortlessly by allowing both the viewer and the natural surroundings to encroach into the spaces they assume. “Encouraging tactile and sensory exploration,” the park promised them to be truly public works of art. His use of language in the work plays on our familiarity with their forms and our natural disposition to make sense of them into a personal and poetic experience, furthermore, your presence is required to complete them. Show runs until 22 January 2012.
The Wonders of the Invisible World Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland
An exhibition specifically described by the curators as “a call to see the universe holistically rather than in baldly scientific terms,” has been answered in paintings, photography and installation by an excellent host of artists like Peter Doig, Susan Hiller and Charles Leadbeater. Each have their unique autosuggestions of myth, ethereal irrational and “cognitive dissonance”. And, as with many of the pieces, a fascinating story lies in the title of the show and a quote that traces back to the Salem witch trials: “That which most threatens us in our present circumstances, is the Misunderstanding, and so the Animosity [that] has Enchanted us.” Show runs until 8 October 2011.