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Three to see: London

From the strange set-pieces of Bedwyr Williams to a festival of the city’s emerging art scene, via luxurious Medieval needlework

by José da Silva, Hannah McGivern, Pac Pobric  |  30 September 2016
Three to see: London
Interruptions (2016) by The Bad Vibes Club is part of the Art Licks Weekend festival
Bedwyr Williams says The Gulch, his first solo show in a London institution (until 8 January 2017), is full of “theatrical moments” and “little embarrassments”. The Welsh artist has plotted an assault course of six immersive environments to lead visitors through the 90m-long, 6m-high sweep of the Curve gallery at the Barbican. “It’s a good space to goof around with a linear narrative,” he says. Navigating absurd set pieces including a smugglers’ cove, an intimidating boardroom and a rocky ravine, “the audience will become performers”, Williams says. Contemporary art, he adds, also has a funny side.

Between the 12th and 15th centuries, across Medieval Europe, English embroidery was widely revered. Opus Anglicanum—the Latin phrase for “English work”, which denotes this specific era of luxurious needlework—was commissioned and collected by Popes, foreign cardinals and peers at home and abroad. Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery, which opens tomorrow at the Victoria and Albert Museum (until 5 February), presents 100 pieces of handmade work, such as the Toledo Cope, which belongs to the Catedral Primada de Santa Maria in Spain and returns to England for the first time since the early 14th century.

The Art Licks Weekend (until 2 October) returns for its fourth year, focusing on the grassroots activities of the London art scene. More than 60 young galleries and artist-led project spaces across the city—though mostly concentrated in south and east London—throw their doors open for exhibitions, performances and screenings by emerging artists. As well as straightforward exhibitions, a number of more unusual events are taking place, including a Deliveroo-style art ordering service by the 12ø collective; a live radio broadcast by Radio Anti; a window cleaning performance across the festival by Charlie Rawson; and a series of stickers commission from the Leeds-based collective SPUR.

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