The best exhibitions this week in London, from Charles Trevelyan to Aida Mahmudova (July 18 to 25)

Before, During & After: Here Now (How To Keep The Balance) 2023-24, 36mm film still, Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom (Photographer Jules Lister, Courtesy of the artist and Somerset House Studios)
Before, During & After: Here Now (How To Keep The Balance) 2023-24, 36mm film still, Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom (Photographer Jules Lister, Courtesy of the artist and Somerset House Studios)

With access to hundreds of museums and galleries a tube ride away, we Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to a fun day out. But sometimes the capital’s embarrassment of riches means it’s tricky to pick where to go.

Do you disappear into the National Gallery for an afternoon, pop by some of the independent galleries in Marylebone, explore East London’s exciting offerings, or wander around the Tate?

Look no further every week: here’s our pick of five extraordinary exhibitions to see in London right now.

Admonitions of the instructress to the court ladies

 (Trustees of the British Museum)
(Trustees of the British Museum)

This masterpiece, which the British Museum describes as “a milestone in Chinese painting history”, can only be displayed for six weeks a year because it’s so fragile. It was painted somewhere between AD 400 and 700 and it’s usually attributed to Gu Kaizhi, a Chinese painter, poet, writer and politician. A rare treat.

The British Museum, to August 18; britishmuseum.org

One for sorrow, two for joy (A video exhibition curated by Lauren Auder and special guests)

Installation view: One for sorrow, two for joy, Emalin. Video still: Live reaction to Life's beauty, submitted by Emma Burke (Photo by Peter Otto)
Installation view: One for sorrow, two for joy, Emalin. Video still: Live reaction to Life's beauty, submitted by Emma Burke (Photo by Peter Otto)

This exhibition curated by Lauren Auder and Tosia Leniarska consists of anonymous videos submitted by dozens of artists including Alvaro Barrington and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Its title a play on the folkloric nursery rhyme, the show is a meditation on the sheer mass of human creative expression and on different ways of bearing witness to the world.

Emalin, to August 30; emalin.co.uk

Charles Trevelyan: Vignettes

 (Photography by Nicky Roding, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery)
(Photography by Nicky Roding, courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

Charles Trevelyan’s background in material science and engineering can be seen in his stunning creations: inspired by structures in the natural world, the Australian designer often goes through an intensive process of experimentation to create his conceptual sculptural works. Here, pieces from two recent series, Gyre and Fuse, are shown together.

Carpenters Workshop Gallery, to August 31; carpentersworkshopgallery.com

Aida Mahmudova: A Room With A View

 (Courtesy of the artist and Saatchi Gallery)
(Courtesy of the artist and Saatchi Gallery)

In old and new works, Azerbaijani artist Aida Mahmudova explores solitude, nostalgia and longing in 70 pieces that respond in some way to Forugh Farrokhzad’s poem The Window: “One window is sufficient / One window for beholding / One window for hearing / One window,” it begins.

Saatchi Gallery, to September 10; saatchigallery.com

Dono: Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom & Harun Morrison

 (Tim Bowditch)
(Tim Bowditch)

Somerset House Studios resident artists Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom and Harun Morrison present new works that delve into the limitations of language, looking at alternative forms of communication. The result is a show comprising sculptures and a sound installation that asks questions about surveillance, documentation and the regulation of bodies.

Somerset House, to October 20; somersethouse.org.uk