Summer Highlights at Somerset House


We have a look at three amazing exhibitions taking place at the historic art venue, Somerset House, this summer.


A historic, unique part of London’s cultural and artistic scene, Somerset House has been a centre for debate and discussion since its origins in the 18th century. A key destination where Londoners and visitors alike can experience a broad range of activities, Somerset House has both a distinctive outdoor public arts programme as well as a variety of events that take place inside the building.

Those familiar with Somerset House might know about their extensive summer programme, with some events – including the Film4 Summer Screen and Somerset House Summer Series – settled into the calendar every year. However, at DesignCurial, we wanted to showcase three amazing exhibitions that are only taking place at Somerset House this summer – and because of their fleeting stay, we certainly think they are not to be missed!

Kimchi and Chips: Halo


© Doug Peters

8th – 27th June 2018
Free, Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court

Devised and designed by Seoul-based experimental art studio Kimchi and Chips, this month, a large-scale, futuristic sculpture will be set in Somerset House’s spectacular neoclassical courtyard. Consisting of over 100 mirrors that track the movements of the sun, the innovative installation creates an almost ‘otherworldly’ halo; the shape is designed to suspend in the air over the historic arts centre, but is actually produced by the power of the sun.


© Doug Peters

Inviting audiences to look at one of London’s favourite public spaces through a new, innovative lens, the sculpture – called Kimchi and Chips: Halo – considers how the sun’s potential can be harnessed sustainably. Suggesting ways technology and nature can positively work together, Kimchi and Chips: Halo is situated within Somerset House’s famous fountains. The sculpture uses a mix of mist and mirrors to reflect the summer sun’s rays and redirect it to form the ‘halo’ over the building.

Over the spring-summer season of 2018, Somerset House has presented an inspiring series of artworks and activities that connect nature and technology, hoping to showcase how contemporary artists contribute to our understanding of the world around us. Kimchi and Chips: Halo is the second major installation to deal with this idea, after The Unseen: Choropleth was unveiled in April.


Print! Tearing It Up (Independent British magazines changing the world)

8th June – 22nd August 2018
Free, Terrance Rooms, South Wing

Exploring the power of print, this summer Somerset House will celebrate the past and present of Britain’s thriving independent magazine scene. The new exhibition, Print! Tearing It Up will be the first time the journey of independent voices in magazines and journals has been traced – from their roots in the 20th century to today’s contemporary titles.


© Doug Peters

We might have all heard of the idea that “print is dying”, but the free thinking publications showcased in this exhibition reflect a wider, independent culture, and prove that print is going from strength to strength in the digital era. Focusing primarily on the contemporary industry of innovative, independent magazines, Print! Tearing It Up guides visitors through the fascinating processes behind independent publishing.

Looking at everything from concept and design to print and distribution, the exhibition opens up this thriving industry to those who may previously not have known much about it. Visitors will be able to discover and understand the origins of a vast selection of specialist magazines, as well as explore their diverse range of themes. We are especially excited by Print! Tear It Up – part of this thought-provoking exhibition will include our wonderful sister publication, Blueprint!


The Influence Project


©  Alexis Chabala

27th June – 22nd August 2018
Free, East Wing Galleries

A new photography exhibition is taking place at Somerset House this summer, looking at the impact that leading black musicians have had on contemporary sound and culture. The work of Congolese, London-based photographer Alexis Chabala and producer Lorayne Crawford, The Influence Project captures the characters of both icons and contemporary artists through portraiture, film and sound.



©  Alexis Chabala

Offering visitors a unique, captivating interpretation of musical history, the exhibition investigates the connections between established and emerging pioneers and features photographs shot since 2014. Chronicling pioneering voices of the mid-to-late 20th Century music scene as well as contemporary artists, The Influence Project celebrates artists through the ages who have addressed social issues with their music.

Each artist’s portrait will be accompanied by quotes and details that highlight the history and importance of their music. The exhibition will also explore the range of ways these musical innovators have influenced today’s artists – including everything from sampling, to being mentors and role models – and how they might creatively, socially or even politically inspire the next generation.

For more information on any of the exhibitions taking place at Somerset House, please visit their website here.

Feature image: Somerset House





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