Art critic Tabish Khan brings you the top exhibitions to visit this week. Each one comes with a concise review to help you decide whether it’s for you. All are closing soon.
Robots @ Science Museum
One of my favourite exhibitions of the year so far shows us the history of robotics and how advanced they have become — from a creepy animatronic baby to a very cute robot that you can fist bump. Throw in movie props like the Terminator and I loved every minute of it. The future is here and this is a reminder of what’s coming to help us, and possibly even replace us. Until 3 September.
Into the Unknown @ Barbican
Sci-Fi fans are going to love this. Props from movies such as Star Wars, Stargate and plenty more. Add in books, art, film clips, classic video games you can play and Conrad Shawcross’ robotic arm and it’s a smorgasbord of science fiction. Until 1 September.
The Learned Society of Extraordinary Objects @ Somerset House
Welcome to The Learned Society of Extra Ordinary Objects. The society never existed, but a whole history has been concocted for it. 30 contemporary designers have now been appointed as fellows of this society and invited to create objects with fantastical stories behind them. The show is so tongue-in-cheek and conceptually clever that it’s hard not to walk around without a permanent smile on your face. Until 3 September.
Emma Hart: Mamma Mia! @ Whitechapel Gallery
Floating top halves of heads are suspended from the ceiling in a darkened gallery. Duck underneath and peek inside to see what they represent, each one covering a part of our personalities, including jealousy and the ego. A clever touch is they project a speech bubble of light on the floor. It’s an enjoyable and playful installation from ceramic sculptor Emma Hart. Until 3 September.
Jennifer Tee: Structures of Recollection and Perseverance @ Kunstraum
An upside down palm tree, a set of ancient Eyptian Canopic jars and a shelf full of books. Odd bedfellows but they are all part of the surreal world of Jennifer Tee. It defies explanation so best just embrace the madness of it all. This is a stronger show than the work she’s currently showing at Camden Arts Centre. Until 9 September.
Syria: A conflict explored @ Imperial War Museum
It’s hard to capture the Syrian conflict as it’s still evolving, but this small exhibition provides a brilliant window into the complex politics of the country and all the factions through a short video. Alongside this there are human stories of people’s experiences of the conflict and commemorative plates and mugs with dual portraits of Putin and Assad. Until 3 September.
Harland Miller: One Bar Electric Memoir @ White Cube
Reverse psychology isn’t working is just one of the cheeky titles on these oversized book covers by Harland Miller as he promises immediate relief … coming soon. Fun works that lighten up the White Cube. Until 9 September.
Nelson Makamo: Souls of Azania @ Gallery of African Art
South African artist Nelson Makamo creates portraits of children across the emotional range. From a striking close up on a vibrant red background, to a tender black and white piece where a child holds his head in his hands. Until 9 September.
All images courtesy respective galleries and copyright the artist. Syrian image: © Sergey Ponomarev