2019 Exhibition Highlights

  • Whitechapel Gallery-Is This Tomorrow_ pv_Dan Weill Photography-45

    Is This Tomorrow?, 2019. Courtesy Whitechapel Gallery. Photo: Dan Weill


Is This Tomorrow?  
14 February – 12 May 2019
Galleries 1, 8 & 9

Visions of the future from leading architects and artists are unveiled at Whitechapel Gallery in February 2019 for headline exhibition Is This Tomorrow? . Creative practitioners from around the world are brought together in 10 groups specially selected by Whitechapel Gallery with participants working together for the first time, highlighting the exciting potential of collaboration. They present original projects addressing today’s key issues including new technologies, the environment, migration and resource scarcity. More than 60 years on, Is This Tomorrow? takes as its model the groundbreaking 1956 Whitechapel Gallery exhibition This is Tomorrow.

“la Caixa” Collection of Contemporary Art
17 January  – 28 April 2019
8 May – 1 September
Gallery 7

Internationally acclaimed authors explore Spain’s leading collection of contemporary art in this series of four displays taking place over the course of a year. Each writer curates a display of artworks and contributes new writing based on their selection. Preeminent Spanish novelist Enrique Vila-Matas (b. 1948, Spain) brings an intuitive and personal approach to “la Caixa” Collection of Contemporary Art for the first display, opening in January 2019. Selecting figurative works by artists Gerhard Richter (b. 1932, Germany), Dominique González-Foerster (b. 1965, France) and Dora García (b. 1956, Spain), he also includes landscape by Spanish and European artists of his generation. The first institutional collection to focus on contemporary art in the post-Franco era, “la Caixa” was founded in Barcelona in 1985 to foster dialogue between Spanish and international art. It now includes more than 1,000 works by international artists across the mediums of painting, sculpture, photography, installation and film.

Queer Spaces: London, 1980s – Today
2 April – 25 August 2019
Gallery 4

How has the changing landscape of London affected the lives of queer people? This exhibition considers the loss of hundreds of community venues around London through market-led redevelopment and how this has changed the capital’s queer scene. It presents work by artists concerned with the disappearance of spaces where LGBTQ+ communities have gathered to socialise, explore their sexuality and try out new identities. Featuring rarely displayed archive material relating to the city’s queer spaces, gathered through extensive research by University College London’s Urban Laboratory. With works by Tom Burr (b. 1963, USA), Ralph Dunn (b.1969, UK), Evan Ifekoya (b.1988, Nigeria), Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings (both b. 1991, UK) and Prem Sahib (b. 1982, UK) on show, the exhibition explores the radical inventiveness, creativity and unpretentiousness inherent within London’s queer spaces.

City Poems and City Music: Adrian Henri and Friends  
11 April – 16 June 2019
Gallery 2

Poets, artists and musicians respond to the experience of urban life in this series of live events and exhibition. A live programme presents contemporary work on the theme of the city with performances from musician Thurston Moore (b. 1958, USA), poet CAConrad (b. 1966, USA) and British punk trio Big Joanie. The events accompany an exhibition drawing on the archives of Liverpool-based painter, poet and pioneering performance artist Adrian Henri (1932 – 2000), whose works from the 1960s and early 1970s focused on the city. The artist also featured in a Whitechapel Gallery 1975 exhibition which inspires this project. City Poems and City Music is guest curated by Catherine Marcangeli, Thurston Moore and Eva Prinz.

Sophia Al-Maria: BCE
15 January – 28 April 2019
Gallery 5 & 6

Marking the culmination of a year-long collaboration as Whitechapel Gallery’s Writer in Residence, this new project from artist, writer and filmmaker Sophia Al-Maria (b. 1983, US) draws on feminism and radical queer politics to consider themes of history and narrative. BCE presents two distinct creation myths side by side – one ancient, one new. It celebrates Al-Maria’s collaboration, established over the course of the residency, with artist Victoria Sin (b. 1991, Canada) who contributes a new creation myth in a specially-commissioned film work.


Michael Rakowitz
4 June – 25 August 2019

Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz’s (b. 1973, USA) first major European survey presents a sequence of installations drawing on architecture, cultural artefacts and cuisine to tell stories of social ritual, conflict and loss. It encompasses work considering the citizen visionaries of post Soviet Hungary, Middle Eastern Beatles fans and the stone carvers of Afghanistan, with Rakowitz’s casts of players and objects revealing the legacy of colonisation, modernism and globalism. The artist’s life size replica of the gigantic lamassu, one of two monumental winged bulls that once guarded the gates of Nineveh in Iraq, currently features on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. This recreation of an ancient mythological creature is made from everyday date syrup cans and is part of an epic endeavour to recreate all 7,000 objects looted from the Iraq Museum in 2003, as well as those destroyed more recently at archaeological sites like Nimrud, which will be represented in the exhibition.

The exhibition is co-curated with Castello di Rivoli, Turin

Max Mara Art Prize for Women: Helen Cammock
26 June – 1 September 2019
Gallery 2

Helen Cammock (b. 1970, UK) presents an exhibition of new work exploring women’s voices, the result of an extraordinary six-month Italian residency in six Italian cities awarded to her as the winner of the prestigious Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Working with moving image, photography, writing, song, performance and printmaking, Cammock is interested in histories, storytelling and the excavation of lost or unheard voices – often mapped through her personal, social and political concerns around notions of blackness and womanhood, wealth and poverty. Her research for the Prize focuses on the expression of lament as a means of mourning, resilience and survival. Exploring women’s voices across Italian histories, her exhibition aims to create a collective, contemporary outcry for our times.

7 May – 18 Aug

From Ballykinlar in Ireland to Ekumfi-Ekawfo in Ghana, international artist collective Myvillages explore the rural as a space for and of cultural production. Founded by artists Kathrin Böhm, Wapke Feenstra and Antje Schiffers, Myvillages counters the assumption that culture is an exclusively urban phenomena. This exhibition collects material from the course of their career and runs in dialogue with the research and events programme on The Rural hosted by Whitechapel Gallery from 2017-2019. Through long-term approaches embedded within the existing activities of communities, they question who is producing culture,. By committing to work in the rural, their projects subvert established power relationships between the city and the country.


Anna Maria Maiolino
25 September 2019 – 12 January 2020
Galleries 1, 8 & 9

Fifty years of Brazil-based artist Anna Maria Maiolino’s (b. 1942, Italy) extraordinary multi-dimensional career is presented by Whitechapel Gallery in the first major UK solo exhibition of the artist’s work. Bringing together emotive clay sculptures, politically-charged films and performances, drawings, photography and installations, the large-scale survey will feature highlights of Maiolino’s work from the late 1960s to the present. Maiolino’s work considers speech, language and the body and frequently takes inspiration from her experience as an immigrant coming of age under Brazil’s military dictatorship. From her personal perspective as a woman, a feminist and a mother, she charts five decades of political, military and cultural shifts in Brazil, and further afield.

Exhibition organised in collaboration with Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan.

Sense Sound/ Sound Sense
3 September 2019 –22 March 2020
Gallery 4

This exhibition is dedicated to musical scores, records and their relationship with the music of the Fluxus movement. Fluxus has, over time, been recognised as one of the most influential artistic movements of the 20th century and the forerunner of subsequent artistic trends from conceptual to performance to video-art. Fluxus scores followed an equally radical approach, breaking free from the need to represent sounds through symbols and introducing notation through graphics, poetry and the visual arts.

Coproduced by Fondazione Bonotto and the Fondazione Musica per Roma