The Top 7 Art Exhibitions to see right now

Art critic Tabish Khan brings you ‘The Top Art Exhibitions to see in London’, plus one addition from outside the M25. Each one comes with a concise review to help you decide whether it’s for you. All end soon, so hurry if you want to catch them:

Harald Sohlberg: Painting Norway @ Dulwich Picture Gallery
Starlit mountains, blazing sunsets and snowy villages. Norwegian painter Harald Sohlberg captured them all beautifully and they can be found at Dulwich Picture Gallery. There’s a magical quality to his paintings, whether it be a pretty vista or the mysterious glow from a house spied upon from the woods. I love how this gallery keeps bringing fantastic painters I’ve never heard of to my attention – long may it continue. Until 2 June. 

Hew Locke: Here’s the Thing @ Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
A flotilla of boats is suspended in a gallery and nature has reclaimed them with plants growing over them. It’s a spectacular installation and part of Hew Locke’s exhibition at Ikon Gallery on the themes of colonialism and naval history. Elsewhere a video sets out his previous project that decked out HMS Belfast’s crew as if they had made a trip to the Caribbean for Carnival. It’s a political and visually impressive exhibition. Until 2 June.

Mandela: The Official Exhibition @ 26 Leake Street
There are few legendary individuals who have existed in my time on this Earth, but Nelson Mandela was one of them. This exhibition charts his life from a principled school child, through activism, imprisonment and then his release from prison. There are some moving moments in the struggles of this great statesman. Read my full review here. Until 2 June. 

Franz West @ Tate Modern
Sculpture that you can … whisper it … pick up and play with or sit on top of. Franz West was a playful character and would want all of us to pick up and fondle all his works. Alas, some are now too delicate to touch but there’s plenty of opportunity to sit on a long snake like piece or sit and stare at a spiky suspended work. It’s also that rare commodity in an often po faced art world, a fun exhibition. Franz West fans should also check out a smaller selection of his works in the paint splattered show at Omer Tiroche in Mayfair. Until 2 June.

Unfolding Nature @ Streatham Space Project
This exhibition brings together three artists who all focus on the natural world using different mediums. Mark Welland places beautiful natural landscapes on tin, Geraldine Molia has crafted delicate collages and Diana Burch has included lichen inspired clothing in this varied show.  Until 31 May.

William Eggleston: 2 1/4 @ David Zwirner
This is a blazing slice Americana from cars in the sunshine to litter in a car park. It’s all so perfectly composed that that you can almost feel the sunlight radiating off them. William Eggleston has always been great at capturing the non-event and making it sing, and he does so again in this exhibition. Until 1 June.

Goncalo Mabunda: Orator of Time @ Jack Bell Gallery
Thrones made of disused weapons represent an Africa with a long history of war that is looking to cast it aside and move on – the weapons the artist uses are from the civil war within his own country Mozambique, which ended in 1992. I’ve seen his works many times before but they never lose their power. Until 31 May.

All images copyright artist and gallery. Sohlberg image courtesy The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Norway. Franz West image © Estate Franz West, © Archiv Franz West. Hew Locke image copyright Tom Bird.

About Tabish Khan

Art Critic for both FAD and Londonist. See as many exhibitions as possible and write reviews, opinion pieces and a weekly top 5 for FAD.