Here are the best things to do this month in London, from exhibitions and theatre to pop-ups and festivals

By Abbie Schofield

London is famous for its cultural offering – world-famous galleries, first-class theatre, exciting pop-ups and unique events are happening each month all over the city. Here are some of the very best cultural events happening in the city for the month of October 2020.

Things to do in London This Month

Evgenia Arbugaeva, The Photographers’ Gallery

Stories From The Russian Arctic, Evgenia Arbugaeva - this month's best cultural events
From the series Kanin Nos, © Evgenia Arbugаeva, courtesy of the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery

Hyperborea – Stories from the Russian Arctic by award-winning Russian photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva focuses on the people and landscape of this remote region. The project, which has taken over seven years to complete, combines a documentary style with magical realism to create a truly unique body of work which will be accompanied by a series of online talks with the artist.

From 9 October,

Kensington & Chelsea Art Week

ToyStudio In bloom kcaw
ToyStudio In Bloom

Kensington & Chelsea Art Week takes place at the beginning of this month with the theme of Transformation. Encompassing visual arts, poetry, theatre, film, food, music, dance and literature, the ten-day celebration showcases the best of arts and culture in west London.

1-11 October,

Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Tate Modern

Sophie Tauber Arp
sophie Taeuber-Arp, Composition of Circles and Overlapping Angles, 1930

One of the most influential abstract artists of the 1920s and 30s, Sophie Taeuber-Arp often combined craft with paint in her pioneering and challenging work. This exhibition at the Tate is the first retrospective of her art ever in the country, with many pieces never seen in the UK before.

Until 17 October,

Leila Alaoui, Somerset House

Natreen Leila Alaoui
Natreen, Leila Alaoui, 2013. Courtesy Fondation Leila Alaoui & GALLERIA CONTINUA

Leila Alaoui was known for capturing the struggles of those displaced by conflict, providing insight into their rich cultures and individual worlds, from refugees to migrant workers. This is the first major retrospective exhibition of the French-Moroccan photographer’s work in the UK, in collaboration with 1-54 Contemporary African Art fair. Rite of Passage showcases three of Alaoui’s collections: No Pasara (Entry Denied), L’Île du Diable (Devil’s Island) and Natreen (We Wait).

From 11 October,

Sin, National Gallery

Sin National Gallery
William Hogarth, Marriage A-la-Mode, about 1973, © The National Gallery

Sin is a subject that has enthralled humans for centuries. From Adam and Eve tasting the forbidden fruit to Tracey Emin’s 2010 neon light reading ‘It was just a kiss’, this exhibition at the National Gallery looks at the definition of what it means to be sinful, in the theological and the everyday.

From 7 October,

Tête à Têtes, David Hill Gallery

Tetes A Tetes
Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou, untitled #2 (Egungun series), 2011

Tête à Têtes: West African Portraiture from Independence into the 21st Century showcases the work of influential African photographers such as Rachidi Bissiriou and Malick Sidibé as they explore post-colonial west African identity through their subjects.

Until 27 November,

Head image: From the series Dikson © Evgenia Arbugaeva, Courtesy the artist and The Photographers’ Gallery

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