The Devil's Wall
Idris Khan's new installation, to be seen in the UK for the first time at the Whitworth Art Gallery (until 13 May), draws inspiration from the pilgrimage to Mecca. At its heart are three large black cylindrical sculptures, each with a central downward-sloping funnel leading to a dark centre covered with texts from the Koran, sometimes in distinct lines, sometimes overlapping. Khan, who draws frequently on his Islamic heritage, here makes direct reference to the ritual where pilgrims chant and throw seven stones at three walls, each representing the devil, to symbolise the sufferings of the prophet Ibrahim/Abraham. Yet his work is equally concerned to reach out, crossing cultural barriers and blurring boundaries between the secular and the spiritual.
Organised by Litro magazine and the Dutch Embassy, this free one-day celebration of all things Dutch takes over the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen in Hyde Park on 28 February, with an evening party continuing at the Gore Hotel. There will be music from the jazz singer Kim Wassen, artist Caroline Havers will discuss her paintings inspired by walks in Hyde Park, while journalist Joris Luyendijk will examine communications in the digital age. The Netherlands' Poet Laureate, Dutch-Palestinian Ramsey Nasr, will read from his work, and Financial Times sports columnist Simon Kuper will offer his insights into Dutch football. Those who sign up in time will even get an opportunity to create an edible work of art with the help of a chocolate-dipped paintbrush.
Charline von Heyl
Born in Germany in 1960, Charline von Heyl witnessed first-hand the radical experimentalism and resurgence of painting in the vibrant Cologne-based art scene of the 1980s and has now established a reputation for her fresh and highly distinctive approach to abstract art. While often employing unconventional methods, she has actively resisted the creation of a signature style and constantly reinvented herself and her art. Her first major exhibition in the UK can be seen at Tate Liverpool from 24 February to May. Taking a broadly chronological approach for the period from 1990 to 2011, it includes 42 large canvasses alongside a number of works on paper.
Van Dyck in Sicily: Painting and the Plague, 1624-25
In spring 1624, the painter Anthony Van Dyck moved from Genoa to Palermo in Sicily. Soon after he arrived, plague struck the city and most of the population died. In the same year, the bones of the hermit Saint Rosalia were discovered in a cave where she was supposed to have died in the Middle Ages. This exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, which continues until May, is built around its portrait of Emanuele Filiberto, viceroy of Sicily, which it uses as a focus to examine all the work Van Dyck produced in this period. The viceroy's spectacular suit of armour, still held in the Royal Armouries of Madrid, is displayed alongside the portrait in which he is shown wearing it.
The Tricycle Goes Nuclear
After 28 years as artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, Nicholas Kent is directing a final season of plays, films, discussions, music and cartoons about the nuclear bomb. Continuing until 1 April are two programmes of five short plays performed on separate evenings and then consecutively on weekends. First Blast: Proliferation starts in a laboratory in Birmingham and examines episodes all the way from the 1940s to the moment when "the Soviet Union's sudden collapse into chaos leaves Ukraine and Kazakhstan with their fingers still on the nuclear button". Second Blast: Present Dangers turns to even more urgent scenarios such as the stand-off between Israel and Iran, North Korea's nuclear options and the "letter of last resort" the commander of a Trident submarine might have to read after learning that the UK has been devastated by a nuclear strike.