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Victoria Miro and Parasol Unit contemporary art galleries, London N1

Situated in a pair of nondescript industrial buildings betwixt the painfully trendy parts of Islington and Hoxton are two galleries that are definitely worth a visit; the Victoria Miro and Parasol Unit contemporary art spaces.

Located right next to each other, both these galleries offer free admission, and there’s usually some interesting stuff to see.

On display at the Victoria Miro gallery was an exhibition of new paintings by ‘Japan’s most revered contemporary artist’, Yayoi Kusama.

Her paintings certainly caught the eye, containing flat bright colours and mad energy, and I loved the alien-esque sculptures.

The upstairs space at the Victoria Miro gallery is stunning, with the exposed roof timbers letting natural light flood in.

In the garden around the back can be found Yayoi Kusama’s, ‘Narcissus Garden,’ a jostling collection of shiny mirrored balls that made a delightful sound as they clinked into each other on the water.

Next door in the Parasol Unit gallery was the fascinating Lines of Thought exhibition.

Exploring the work of 15 contemporary artists, selected from the 1960s to today, the work “brings together a number of disparate works that prompt thoughts about how the simplicity of line is the core element of so many and often unpredictable forms of artistic expression.”

I loved  Özlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt’s, ‘Ceaseless Doodle (2009)’ piece above.

Hemali Bhuta: Stepping Down, 2010, created with wax sticks of various lengths and cotton threads.

Fred Sandback’s Untitled (Nr. 4) was a deceptively simple yet compelling sculpture. The more you looked at it, the more ‘solid’ the thin air became.

Adrian Esparza’s ‘Here and Now’ cleverly turned the thread from a Mexican serape into a wall sculpture.

The gallery shop at Parasol Unit.

Neither gallery has a proper cafe (you can only get tea and coffee from a machine), so I recommend taking a sprightly walk to the fantastic Brill cafe in Exmouth Market.

More info on both galleries:

Victoria Miro Gallery
Yayoi Kusama exhibition runs till 15th April 2012
16 Wharf Road
London N1 7RW
Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 6.00pm
Closed Bank Holiday Weekends and Public Holidays

Parasol unit
Artists: Helene Appel, Hemali Bhuta, James Bishop, Raoul De Keyser, Adrian Esparza, Özlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Jorge Macchi, Nasreen Mohamedi, Fred Sandback, Conrad Shawcross, Anne Truitt, and Richard Tuttle
Runs till 13 May 2012
14 Wharf Road
London N1 7RW
Tuesday–Saturday, 10am–6pm
Sunday, 12–5pm
Admission is free.