Image: Not Vital; Robert Rauschenberg
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Not Vital; Robert Rauschenberg

1 April 2021

Art lovers, get set! The exhibitions to see when London galleries open

Not long now guys!

The terrific accidental wheeze which means that, as ‘non-essential retail’ (argue that one, philosophers) commercial art galleries are able to open on-slash-not-before April 12 is a boon to those of us who have sorely missed strolling round white spaces looking at things we don’t quite understand and are mildly terrified to find out the price of. In all seriousness, there’s a fantastic crop of exhibitions coming up at London’s stellar for-profit art spaces, and they’re absolutely free to wander into. From Damien Hirst (inevitably) to John Akomfrah, Sandra Mujinga to Thomas Demand, these are the shows you should be seeing come the first week of the spring awakening.

Two shows at the gallery strip the world down in different ways. A series of portraits unseen in the UK by the Swiss artist Not Vital reduce their subjects (often well-known figures such as Nina Simone or Mahalia Jackson) to the interplay of light and dark using a limited greyscale palette. Alongside these sits a show of Robert Rauschenberg’s Night Shades and Phantoms, made as part of his decade-long experiments painting on metal, making them seem to flicker in and out of existence.

Thaddaeus Ropac, April 13 to May 26 (Vital) and July 31 (Rauschenberg)

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