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Arts + Lifestyle

Eleven Global Exhibitions To Visit This February

History, Art Fairs, the Opera and more. This month, Citizen Femme takes you from Los Angeles to Sydney, with stops in Dakar and Vienna, to explore the best cultural events across the globe.

Whether you like Old Masters such as Vermeer or want to discover modern voices such as Aya Momose, you’ll find something to add to your cultural calendar here.

1. Dos Pés à Cabeça (From Head to Toe)

A trip to Lisbon is not complete without a stop at Museum Colaçao Berardo. With modern architecture and wide green spaces, it’s an ideal space for families and this exhibition is designed with children in mind, so you’ll make wonderful memories for years to come. From Head to Toe explores the representation of the body by modern and contemporary artists throughout the centuries. Based on works by artists including Henri Michaux, Caetano Dias and Helena Almeida, it offers a new look at how the body is presented in art, and how it can be interpreted. Whether it’s a classic portrait or a deconstructed sculpture, exploring how we see the body in art is a great way to introduce children to bigger questions, while keeping learning fun. The exhibition’s images and notes have all been made to accommodate children, and its layout is complete with an activity-filled playroom.


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2. FRIEZE Los Angeles 2023

The fourth edition of leading international art fair, Frieze Los Angeles, is coming to Santa Monica this year. Hosting 120 of the world’s leading art galleries, this is an occasion for contemporary art enthusiasts and newcomers alike to discover the leading voices of today’s art world. Located in Santa Monica Airport, the large space allows for more ambitious projects to be displayed alongside pop-ups from Los Angeles’ best restaurants. This year, the fair is shining a light on under-appreciated visionary artists of the 20th century and looking at questions pertaining to stories of forced migration, colonialism and identity. We recommend checking out Lakota artist Dana Claxton’s work which examines how exchanges and conflicts continue to shape North American Indigenous experiences.


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3. Tilla Durieux: A Witness to a Century and her Roles

Head to the Leopold Museum in Vienna to discover the fascinating life of a major entertainment figure of the early 20th century. Tilla Durieux was a Vienna native who, after a breakthrough performance in Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, became one of the most recognised actresses of her time. Her influence in the arts reached beyond the stage as she became a muse for some of the most influential painters of the day, including Auguste Renoir, Frieda Reiss, Max Oppenheimer, and Lotte Jacobi. Beyond the arts, she was also a dedicated activist who escaped from Nazi Germany and participated in the Zagreb resistance against National Socialism. The Leopold Museum is the first to pay homage to Durieux’s incredible life and career.

4. Silent Matter by Alicja Kwade

Mexico City Art Week 2023, known as the Biennial of the Americas, is an occasion to admire Mexico City’s cultural renaissance and to browse works from the biggest galleries in Latin America. One of the artists who will be presenting their work for the first time in the country is Alicia Kwade, a German-Polish artist whose immersive experiences aim to reflect on our perception of time. In order to be as sustainable as possible, Kwade is sourcing materials from within Mexico to make her pieces, including obsidian, a sort of large volcanic glass obtained from cooled lava. This exhibition will also look at light and matter, and how the two interact to change each other’s forms.


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5. Carmen at the English National Opera

Even if you’re not familiar with the opera, you will instantly recognise the first notes of Georges Bizet’s Toreador Song from Carmen. A tragic tale of love and jealousy within 17th century Seville, Carmen is one of the most popular operas ever written. The English National Opera is giving you a chance to discover it for yourself with the opening of the spring season. Theatre Director Calixto Bieito, known for his radical interpretations of classical operas and plays like Don Giovanni and The Force Of Destiny, will be directing this adaptation of Carmen, working with a talented cast including Italian-American mezzo-soprano, Ginger Costa Jackson, in the role of Carmen. Visitors under 21 enter for free and those aged 21-35 get discounted tickets. This is a chance to experience a night at the opera with the whole family.


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6. Momose Aya: Interpreter

Tokyo-based artist Aya Momose uses videos to explore themes of the body, gender and sexuality, and the complexity of communicating with others. For her first solo exhibition in Japan, she brought female voice actors centre stage, and looked at the different characters – male and female – that they interpret. This analysis of the relationship between cast and character helps us explore larger topics of gender and representation, lending a voice to those without. We’re particularly enthralled by the sound installation “Étude for a Voice Actor”, where characters appear only through their voices, and we are left to imagine their identity.

7. Veermer

If you were to make a list of the most famous painters in history, Johannes Vermeer would almost certainly make it to the top 10: the Dutch Baroque artist created some of the most famous paintings of the 17th century, including Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Milkmaid. If you’re heading to Amsterdam this month, it’s your chance to see these two masterpieces and many more at the Rijksmuseum. This is the largest exhibition devoted entirely to the artist, with almost 30 paintings brought together from around the world. You will learn more about Vermeer’s fascinating life and the mysteries that are still being uncovered from his works. The exhibition is already being hailed as one of the top exhibitions of 2023, even before its opening. Be sure not to miss it.


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8. Sur Le Fil (On The Thread)

La Galerie du 19M just opened its second location in Dakar, Senegal. Founded in 2021 by Chanel, the gallery’s aim is to preserve and pay homage to the artisanal methods of fashion and interior design, celebrating the crafts that make clothes into art. To inaugurate the new space in Dakar, La Galerie du 19M has created an exhibition around the embroidery and weaving traditions of Senegal, bringing together 30 contemporary artists from Senegal, Mali, South Africa, Bolivia and France. This is a celebration of intergenerational artistic traditions; visit to discover what goes into the making of the popular Manjak fabric (pagne tissé) and how long-standing traditions such as dyeing are being kept alive and modernised today.

9. The Party

This year’s WorldPride is taking place in Sydney and to mark the occasion, the UNSW Galleries, in partnership with Sydney WorldPride and the Australian Queer Archives, have created “The Party”, in homage to an iconic 1981 warehouse party. This landmark exhibition commemorates the LGBTQ+ Australian party scene from the 70s to the early 2000s. Along with photographs and documents from these events and the venues that hosted them, visitors can admire original artworks from Australian artists and designers that engaged with these histories. This is the story of a community, from clubs and record stores to the magazines that contributed to social and sexual liberation movements in Australia. It is also a reminder of the rights people had to fight for, and the real threats towards these rights today.


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10. Hannah Toticki: Everything, Everywhere, All The Time

Athens, Greece, is filled with archeological wonders and artworks, but it’s also home to a thriving contemporary art scene. Danish artist Hannah Toticki is presenting her first major solo exhibition in Europe, at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens. Known for her creative look at our “burnt-out society”, she offers an ironic reflection on our post-capitalistic society’s constant need for growth and productivity. This exhibition is divided into four sections: “Production”, “Sleep”, “Control”, and “Attention”, a connecting thread that guides visitors through her artistic process and the messages she conveys. We’re particularly impressed by her interactive sculpture “Framing Presence” which takes a look at how our relationship with technology shapes our connection with each other.


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11. Kimono Style: The John C. Weber Collection

If you’re planning to head to Manhattan this month, add this exhibition at the MET’s Costume Institute to your to-go list. Tracing the evolution of the kimono from the 17th to the early 20th century, this is a walk through time and fashion unlike any other. Explore the sophisticated embroidery from the Eco period and the ready-to-wear silk kimonos of the late 19th century. You can also admire many decorative art pieces, paintings and prints that reflect on the connections between fashion, art, and society. From the exchanges between Japanese traditions and Western fashions, evolutions to accommodate the changing times, and the intricate artistic techniques, looking at the history of kimonos is to look at the history of Japanese women and Japan itself.

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