Autumn means more darkness, more rain and more coat-wearing but it also means more exhibition openings to tempt us art-lovers in from the cold. This week’s capital picks include a celebration of the astonishing architectural achievements of OMA at The Barbican, Andre Thijssen’s eye-catching photography at KK Outlet and Wilhelm Sasnal’s fist major UK show at The Whitechapel Gallery. Take that autumn!
Andre Thijssen KK Outlet
In the introduction to Andre Thijssen’s new show, they describe the Amsterdam-based artist’s photographs as “pencil sharpeners for the eyes.” It’s a perfect description and one that works on two levels. On the one hand, Thijssen’s extraordinary eye for texture offers the viewer a renewed understanding of – and appreciation for – the minutiae of mundane, everyday objects. And on the other, the pictures and short films sharpen our eyes to the peripheral world, things we might usually walk past 1,000 times but that deserve our scrutiny, our interest and our respect. The show runs until October 29.
Wilhelm Sasnal The Whitechapel Gallery
Polish painter Wilhelm Sasnal is a particularly contemporary painter, with a mash-up of mass media influences and topical events feeding into his work. But there’s a twist in the second section of his show when Sasnal turns to his country’s role during The Second World War touching on themes of identity, patriotism, guilt and memory. There’s an accompanying programme of his films too, to help delve into the mind of this painter who seems at one and the same time comfortingly familiar and unnervingly elusive. It is on until January 1 next year.
OMA/Progress The Barbican
This is an exciting opportunity to get to grips with the leading international architectural practice, co-founded by the enigmatic Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas in 1975. Guest curator Rotor delivers valuable insights into OMA’s working practice, presenting architecture, “as a messy process that changes with every good project.” Models, drawings, installations, influential research as well as unpublished works and a 1:1 footprint of the newly completed Maggie’s Centre in Glasgow are all on show, providing a well-rounded exhibition of OMA’s projects and the process behind them. The show runs until February 2012, and there’s an excellent programme of talks running alongside the exhibition.