Best Contemporary Art Exhibitions in London this Winter Season

07 Dec 2018

By ArtRabbit

If you’re anything like us, the festive season is perfectly offset with discovering some thought-provoking contemporary art. To help you in your discovery, we’ve listed some of the best shows happening during the season in London. Read on to see what exhibitions you should be visiting this holiday.

The holiday season is upon us once again, and the festive light installations and window displays seen throughout the world render cities into kitschy works of art worthy of greeting cards. We’re not knocking it; we couldn’t live without our yearly dose of mulled wine and ice skating under fairy lights. But as the year winds to a close and we consume more mince pies and cider than our bellies can take, we’re left wondering if we’ve consumed enough art and culture.

Read on to see what exhibitions you should be visiting. May your holidays be the perfect mix of cosy and stimulating.

We Live In An Ocean Of Air at Saatchi Gallery

Illuminating (quite literally) the fundamental connection between animal and plant, We Live In An Ocean Of Air is an immersive installation using a combination of technologies including untethered virtual reality, heart rate monitors, and breath sensors. Experience first hand the symbiotic systems between body, plant, and planet in this intricate 3D world.

We Live in an Ocean of Air Teaser #1 from Marshmallow Laser Feast on Vimeo.

Monday - Sunday 10 am - 6 pm.
Christmas TBC

Space Shifters at Hayward Gallery

This major group exhibition features both innovative minimalist sculpture from the 1960s and newly commissioned work that explore perception and space. As concluding exhibition to the gallery's 50th anniversary year, the show directly responds to the architecture of the Hayward Gallery.

Monday - Sunday 10 am - 6 pm, Friday 10 am - 10 pm.
Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
New Years Eve 10 am - 3 pm

Christian Marclay, The Clock + Tania Bruguera, Turbine Hall at Tate Modern

Christian Marclay's acclaimed installation The Clock (2010) was produced following several years of meticulous research that brings together a montage of thousands of film and television images of clocks, edited together so to reflect actual time.

Sunday - Thursday 10 am - 6 pm, Friday - Saturday 10 am - 10 pm
Closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Tania Bruguera's Hyundai Commission extends on the artist's research which addresses institutional power, borders and migration. Titled 10, 142, 926, this work consists of a large heat-sensitive floor that reveals a hidden portrait of Yousef, a young man who left Syria to come to London, and a room containing an organic compound which induces tears and provokes "forced empathy".

Sunday - Thursday 10 am - 6 pm, Friday - Saturday 10 am - 10 pm
Closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Metahaven, Version History at ICA

The artist, filmmaker and designer duo Metahaven presents a new moving-image commission with three films that investigate geopolitical, technological, and emotional conditions. Installed along with a series of murals and a hand-tufted carpet, Version History deploys "truth futurism" and spins off political and cultural narratives where belief and self-deception are in competition with empirical reality.

Tuesday - Sunday 11 am - 6 pm, Thursday 11 am - 9 pm.
Christmas opening times TBC

Future Homes at Design Museum

For this exhibition, the Design Museum asks whether we're living the way that pioneering architects and designers of the past century had predicted. Home Futures presents more than 200 objects and experiences tracing key social and technological aspirations that drove changes in the domestic sphere.

Monday - Sunday 10 am - 6 pm.
Closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Modern Couples Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde at Barbican Centre

Modern Couples is an exhibition that traces the lives of creative relationships where romance nurtures art making and vice versa. Featuring Dora Maar & Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca, Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin and many more.

Saturday – Wednesday 10 am – 6 pm, Thursday - Friday 10 am - 9 pm.
Closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Kris Lemsalu: 4LIFE at Goldsmiths CCA

Kris Lemsalu's first solo show in London manifests the stages of life, from birth to death and "the bit in the middle". Using crafted and collected objects as well as performance, she gives shape to the formlessness of lived experience while raising questions about beauty and revulsion, merit and mediocrity.

Wednesday 11 am - 6 pm, Thursday 11 am - 9 pm, Friday - Sunday 11 am - 6 pm.
Christmas TBC

Elmgreen & Dragset: This Is How We Bite Our Tongue at Whitechapel Gallery

This large-scale installation features the artist duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset's emotional figurative sculptures in a meditation on the fate of civic space, a continuation of their work that sees the transformation of institutional spaces into metaphors for individual desires and collective identities.

Tuesday - Sunday 11am - 6pm, Thursday 11am - 9pm.
Christmas TBC

Turner Prize 2018 at Tate Britain

This year's four shortlisted artists for the Turner Prize are Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson. With each work based in film and addressing specific issues that deepen the conversations occurring in each respective sociopolitical realm, the Turner Prize 2018 exhibition has been said to be one of the most outstanding yet.

Monday - Sunday 10 am - 6 pm.
Closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Renzo Piano. The Art of Making Buildings at the RA

Renzo Piano is one of the most renowned architects of our time, having authored buildings from the Shard in London to the Centre Pompidou in Paris. His process of achieving poetry and precision in his buildings are shown here in an exhibition that follows his career to current projects still in the making.

Monday - Sunday 10 am – 5 pm, Friday 10 am – 2 pm.
Closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day

Black Mirror: Art As Social Satire at Saatchi Gallery

This group exhibition features 26 of contemporary art's most exciting names to explore the role of art in social satire, in dissecting power structures and questioning societal norms, visualising political unrest and paving a way to better outcomes.

Monday - Sunday 10 am - 6 pm.
Christmas TBC

Essex Road 5 at Tintype

Tintype's Essex Road, now in its 5th year, is an annual event that commissions artists to respond to Essex Road in London with a short film. Each year sees an astonishing diversity in results, with Tintype's large window becoming a public screen for six weeks over Christmas and New Year.

Screened on a loop every day from 4pm - 11pm.

Sandy Di Yu is a London-based writer, art theorist and artist. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter, or visit her website.

Nina Cieminska is a London-based art theorist and researcher. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.