Unmissable Exhibitions: 2014′s Most Interesting UK Shows

Hungry for inspiration, we hunt down the most exciting exhibitions of 2014, from the experimental to the traditional. Get your diaries out…

Out Of Ice: The Secret Language Of Ice @ University of Westminster 17 January-9 February 2014

Described as one of the most significant artists of her generation, Scottish environmental artist Elizabeth Ogilvie presents a vast and immersive installation portraying “the psychological, physical and poetic dimensions of ice and water.” Fusing art, architecture and science in an artwork comprising ice, water, video projections and film, Ogilvie’s dramatic large-scale work is a homage to the Inuit of Northern Greenland and their deep cultural and intellectual relationship with ice.

Martin Creed: What’s the point of it? @ Hayward Gallery, 29 January-27 April 2014

Winner of the 2001 Turner Prize, Creed is an artist recognised internationally for his minimalistic yet humorous approach, whilst managing to attract some skepticism along the way (Jonathan Jones once commented that he found him “a bit too stylish and a bit too consciously clever to be an absolutely convincing artist.”) That in mind, in this first major survey of his work expect the very flippant (scrunched up balls of paper and bluetack) alongside the utterly transformative (installations using large scale neon and thousands of balloons).

Grayson Perry Tapestries Tour @ various locations until October 2014

These complex and lavish tapestries record a ‘class journey’ of objects, collectibles and artworks encountered by Perry in British homes for his BAFTA award-winning Channel 4 series, All in the Best Possible Taste. The six textile artworks, inspired by Hogarth’s “the modern moral subject”, have a very profound take on current politics, consumerism, ‘good taste’ and modern life in the UK. At Manchester Art Gallery until 21 January 2014; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 14 February-11 May 2014: Walker Art Gallery May-August 2014; Leeds City Art Gallery 1 August-1 October 2014.

Ryan Trecartin, Science Fiction: Myths of the Present Future

Bruce Nauman @ Harris Museum & Gallery 15 February-24 May 2014

At 72 years of age, Nauman is still redefining art, it seems. Presented here is the breadth of this seminal US multimedia artist’s practice from the 1970s to the 1990s, featuring installation, sound and sculpture that focus on body language, word play and repetitive gesture. Includes the claustrophobic work Changing Light Corridor with Rooms (1971), an enclosed space designed to disorientate the audience, and last exhibited in the UK in 1989. Talks, tours and workshops exploring Nauman’s work in more depth TBC.

Science Fiction: New Death @ FACT Liverpool 27 March-22 June 2014

It’s no secret that we are massive sci-fi fans; so imagine our joy when we heard this was happening on our doorstep. Themes are currently a huge secret, but confirmed artists include the nightmarish director and performer Ryan Trecartin, Mark ‘I want to be a cyborg’ Leckey, and technologist (and William Gibson fan) James Bridle. Did we mention the The Double Negative will also be undertaking our first ever residency as part of this exhibition? Watch this space.

Glasgow International

Glasgow International @ various venues 4-21 April 2014

Version six of this popular contemporary visual art festival is under the helm of new Director Sarah McCrory. Known for being rather an arts festival for artists, the quality, breadth and ambition is always excellent. Participating (and diverse) venues include the gallery, theatre and studio spaces of Tramway, the neo-classical Gallery of Modern Art, and Baltic Street Adventure Playground, and there are four official programmes to choose from.

Rembrandt @ Temple Newsam, 8 April 2014-20 July 2014, and National Gallery 15 October 2014-18 January 2015

The 17th century master (1606-1669) enjoys two rather different retrospectives this year: a collection of his etched illustrated stories from both the Old and New Testament in Rembrandt and the Bible (Temple Newsam); and Rembrandt: The Final Years (National Gallery), a celebration of the expressive and profound paintings made over the 15 years before he died. A unique opportunity to explore an extraordinary talent.


Mondrian @ Turner Contemporary (Margate), 24 May-21 September 2014, and Tate Liverpool 6 June-5 October 2014

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Dutch abstract painter Piet Mondrian’s death (1872-1944), and two collaborating exhibitions hope to provide fresh insights into his practice. Mondrian and Colour (Turner Contemporary) start by exploring his use of vibrant colour in 40 early career paintings; whilst Mondrian and his Studios: Abstraction into the World (Tate Liverpool)  will consider the relationship between Mondrian’s artworks and the space around them.

Liverpool Biennial @ various venues 5 July-26 October 2014

In a new summer slot, with a new vision from artistic director Sally Tallant, newly appointed curators and researchers, a new journal, and celebrating its fifteenth birthday, this international contemporary art festival is not to be missed. Expect brand new commissions across the urban environment and within the city’s most established and experimental venues.

John Moores Painting Prize @ Walker Gallery launching 5 July 2014

“One of the most prestigious art competitions in the UK” (Sir Peter Blake), this lively exhibition is the perfect way to keep up with new trends and innovations using a very traditional medium. Going strong since 1957, the exhibition now boasts a Critics Award, and the John Moores Painting Prize China, in additional to a prizewinner whose victorious artwork joins the Walker’s collection.

Asia Triennial Manchester @ various locations launching 26 September 2014

Billed as the only event of its kind in Europe, the third-installment of this city-wide festival showcases new South Asian art (could you get a wider remit?). 2011′s Asia Triennial was of a grand and varied scale; 40 artists were exhibited from 13 different countries across the continent, within 17 Manchester venues. Having suffered a significant Arts Council funding cut since then, we can perhaps expect a tighter focus, but hopefully more of the same ambition.

Laura Robertson

Posted on 08/01/2014 by thedoublenegative