In many ways, this new exhibition of sketchbooks at the Hunterian Art Gallery establishes Scottish artist Duncan Shanks as the Robert Macfarlane of paint. Macfarlane, a poet, anthropologist, philosopher of walking and travel writer, has most recently published Landmarks, a book that attempts to preserve and rekindle some of the localised language we use to describe the landscape around us. Shanks’s sketchbooks perform a similar function, and the visual vocabularies he explores of the upper Clyde are compelling: skewed fence posts, bushy clouds, birds, tree roots, branches, trunks and fields. If these form the vocabulary, the grammar is one of pencil, pastel, charcoal and watercolour.
Jason Covert was longlisted in the Aesthetica Art Prize with his work Excavation, an ultra-personal journey through one man’s fears. Spanning media including film, photography and sculpture, Covert is a multimedia artist based in New York. Solo exhibitions include Excavation (2014) and The Bridge (2012) at Hionas Gallery, New York; and group shows at Ann Street Gallery, SCOPE pavilion and LACDA Gallery, while his work is also held in numerous private collections. We speak to Jason about his practice, inspirations and upcoming projects.
The ideal of art as an experience has been a subject of reinterpretation by several artists and philosophers throughout the years. It is a concept that faces constant reinvention both in and out of the books, partly due to the fact that in most cases it’s up to the audience to determine the process of the work with their involvement and subsequent reflection. The participation of an external element within the process of the artwork can broaden the artist’s perspective and allow for his/her concept to reach new ends that hadn’t been previously considered. Carrying an advocacy for sociopolitical projects that transcend the limits of what is considered art in this contemporary context, Francis Alÿs is constantly reinventing his work and finding new ways for it to create a dialogue within itself in order to be progressively reinterpreted by the audience.
This weekend’s exhibition round-up traverses the divide between art and politics, appearance and reality to explore fresh perspectives of history and human experience and to challenge the narratives which shape our lives, our sense of self, and our perceptions of the world around us according to these paradigms. From New York to London, Madrid to Dublin, we reflect on some of this season’s most innovative and enticing displays taking place across the world. Beginning with 20th century post-war photography in The Modern Eye at Edwynn Houk Gallery and moving onto fascinations with the American South at ICA Boston, our 5 to See features a fantastic selection of exhibitions to discover.
One of the greatest tests of the power of pictures and words to explain reality must be the Jewish holocaust. We’ve seen images of emaciated bodies and heard survivors describe their ordeals. The pain we feel, we know, is only a faint replica of theirs. This is what we can know: the concept – the systematic elimination of an entire race; the terrifying detail – babies thrown against walls, people digging their own mass graves; and statistics – the extermination of 6 million Jews. But these lead us only to mute incomprehension. The philosopher, Theodore Adorno, may have alluded to this impenetrable silence when he wrote that there could be no poetry after Auschwitz.
Jacqueline Hassink’s View, Kyoto, is a serene and powerful series of photographs depicting 34 of Kyoto’s 1,600 Zen Buddhist temples and gardens, captured over the past 10 years and across the course of the seasons. Hassink’s works bring a human point of view to these linear, dynamic environments as her lens is positioned at standing height or as if sitting on the tatami mat, pausing in doorways and upon the veranda between temple and garden.
The inaugural exhibition at Home – Manchester’s new venue created from the merger of the arts organisations Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company – opens a year of events themed around the idea of desire and the deepest motivations behind our closest relationships. The heart is deceitful above all things is a Biblical quote from the Book of Jeremiah, but the key text referred to here is Kasimir and Karoline by Austro-Hungarian writer Ödön von Horváth (1901-1938), a play which depicts the impact of external economic forces and recession on a young couple, set against the backdrop of a funfair. These are themes clearly ripe for exploration by artists in the context of today’s globalised and connected world and which lend themselves to Home’s vision of an inter-disciplinary and inter-generational approach to the visual arts.
The Aesthetica Art Prize is a celebration of excellence in art from across the world. The annual award offers artists the opportunity to showcase their work to wider audiences and further their involvement in the international art world. To mark its current call for entries, we shine a spotlight on longlisted artist Annina Roescheisen. Selected for her film What are you Fishing for? (2014), Roescheisen describes herself as a multimedia practitioner who looks to iconographies from the past for inspiration.
Art Brussels returns for its 33rd year this April. As in previous years, galleries will be presented in different sections, with the addition of DISCOVERY, which will feature 14 galleries who represent lesser-known and emerging artists that have yet to find exposure in Europe. Ahead of the opening, we speak to artistic director Katerina Gregos about her favourite parts of this year’s fair and her work with not-for-profit spaces.
A river runs through it: Olafur Eliasson’s immersive installation, Riverbed, took over the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, for the museum’s first solo exhibition of his impressive oeuvre in 2014. In Issue 61, Aesthetica explored the recent survey of the artist’s experimental practice.
Wales is presenting its first solo exhibition by a female artist at the Venice Biennale this year. The Arts Council of Wales has selected Helen Sear to represent Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice at the 56th International Art Exhibition. Curated by Ffotogallery, …the rest is smoke will feature works which connect the local landscapes of Wales to the context of the Biennale. Sear is widely regarded as one of Wales’ most significant contemporary artists, having lived and worked there since 1984. Her body of work explores the crossing of boundaries between photography and fine art, and she was joint winner of the visual art prize at the National Eisteddfod in 2011.
More than 50 photographs, recently acquired from the Black Cultural Archives, document the experiences of black people in Britain during the second half of the 20th century, an area previously under-represented in the V&A’s 500,000-strong photographic collection. These photographs are coupled with works from 17 artists, as well as oral histories gathered by Black Cultural Archives from the photographers themselves, their relatives, and the people captured on camera.
Australian artist, Terence Burton works exclusively with pencil on paper. His bold and unique style, that he likes to call Abstract, Mythological and Tribal is heavily influenced by Australian aboriginal, American Indian and Islamic traditions. His contemporary influences that he notes include Wassilly Kandinsky, Vincent van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock. Currently, Terrence is working on producing a range of prints of his works to distribute to schools and healthcare facillities at minimal cost. We talk to him about his work in issue 64 Artists’ Directory.
For the second talk in the series that runs alongside the Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition, we hear from Dr Sam Lackey, Curator at The Hepworth Wakefield who will discuss “what we talk about when we talk about art”. During this talk at 12.30pm on 16 April, visitors to York St Mary’s will be able to learn more about current approaches to contemporary art in an interactive and engaging session. Ahead of the event, we speak with Sam Lackey about her role at The Hepworth Wakefield.
Subodh Gupta’s solo exhibition, Seven Billion Light Years, at Hauser & Wirth, New York, hardly lives up to the triumph of his mid-career retrospective at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, in 2014. In the earlier show, Gupta’s imaginative use of the Duchampian readymade resulted in monumental sculptures devised from hundreds of shiny stainless steel kitchen utensils. The power of those works stemmed not only from Gupta’s innovative assemblages, but also from his choice of indigenous materials such as plates, boxes and implements that gave potency to ordinary commodities bought by every middle class Indian household.
Our 5 To See This Weekend features some of the top exhibitions currently on display around the world. From The Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, which celebrates more than 30 international artists redefining “the image of woman” during that period, to Magda Biernat’s tranquil Adrift photography series on display at the Robert Klein Gallery in Boston. Our 5 To See This Weekend is our guide to the best exhibitions on offer right now.
Fotomuseum Winterthur launches its new exhibition programme titled SITUATIONS. This innovative platform offers a unique perspective on photographic culture in the digital age. Promoting itself as a new exhibition format, SITUATIONS challenges the boundaries of artistic interaction in the physical realm through an integration of the real with the virtual.
This year Art Paris Art Fair showcased Asian art, once again demonstrating how inventive and abundant the art scene in Asia still is. Of all the artists represented, Korean artists were the most eye-catching. Galerie Géraldine Banier hosted artists like the Korean Jung Min Choi whose wire sculptures added a delicate note of poetry. With its wire spider hanging above orange-tipped wire flowers, his Hommage à Louise is intended as a miniature, non-macabre nod to Louise Bourgeois.
Armenity: Contemporary Artists from the Armenian Diaspora, The National Pavilion for the Republic of Armenia, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice
The National Pavilion for the Republic of Armenia opens at the 56th edition of the Venice Biennale on 6 May. This year, Armenia will focus on the curatorial concept of Armenity, a complex theme which reflects heavily on the centenary of the Armenian Genocide. As part of the country’s commemorations, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia has dedicated its pavilion to contemporary artists from the Armenian diaspora. Works selected for the exhibition will encompass the notions of displacement and territory, justice and reconciliation, and ethos and resilience.
British-born Cig Harvey, now a resident of Maine and a full-time artist after a decade teaching art in Boston, uses photography to reveal the complexities underlying everyday life and our relationships with family and friends. Her work is filled not only with a sense of uncertainty but with moments of sheer elation at the beauty of things. Though her practice is deeply personal – with family members including her young daughter featuring in her latest project – Harvey’s ability to create a visual narrative has also led her to work on innovative international campaigns and features for New York Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar Japan, Kate Spade, and Bloomingdales.
Vera Drebusch has been shortlisted in this year’s Aesthetica Art Prize. Her performance pieces Preservation and Chocolates can be seen in the Art Prize exhibition, currently on display at York St Mary’s. Something as simple as a jar of jam or a box of chocolates can become entangled in questions of political and environmental conflict.
Dark shadows, contrasting colours, smooth and ruptured textures fill the works created by artist Andrew Browne (b. 1960) in his latest series Glimpse, which is currently on display at Martin Browne Contemporary. Glimpse showcases a selection of Brown’s work, which at first appears to be hyperreal photographic snapshots that are in fact oil paintings of recognisable natural scenes. Components within the works appear slightly out of place suggestive of a resistance towards the surrounding environment.
In 2011, Haunch of Venison, London, showcased a collection of work by the highly acclaimed director and photographer, Wim Wenders. Featured in Aesthetica Issue 40, the exhibition highlighted the artist’s distinctive style and sensitive imagery. Now, in celebration of Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast‘s upcoming show Wenders, Landscapes, Photographs in Düsseldorf, which appears in the current edition, we reflect on Places, strange and quiet from the Aesthetica archive.
HOME is an international centre for contemporary visual arts, theatre and film, whose opening programme features new commissions and international collaborations as well as off-site and interdisciplinary productions that represent a new and dynamic force in the UK’s arts scene and beyond.
There are ways in which the internet is like a ghost. It exists in the physical world spectrally, at once oppressively — or conveniently — pervasive and seemingly intangible, invisible and indefinite. The digitally literate know that the internet’s physical infrastructure spans the globe, manifesting in massive data centres, choke points where networks meet and transoceanic fibre optic cables. However, the cables lay deep beneath streets and oceans, and the data centres vanish under high security and into remote, removed landscapes. These literal and metaphorical burials serve to nourish the notion of internet-as-spectre.
Presented by Ikon and Nuova Icona, the Oratorio di San Ludovico will be home to a new video and performance project by emerging artist Nástio Mosquito. Mosquito, recently awarded the Future Generation Art Prize, comes from a career rooted in the broadcast industry, having previously worked as a cameraman and director. Born in Angola, educated in Portugal, and currently located in Belgium, the artist has an excellent world view, which comes through fantastically in his exciting and irreverent installations.
The fifth edition of the BAFTA Qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) is currently open for submissions. The festival champions artists’ filmmaking, with strands in artists’ film, experimental, documentary and dance, and last year ASFF welcomed Steven Bode, Director of Film and Video Umbrella and Maggie Ellis, Head of Film London’s Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN), among other leading art professionals to share their expertise with filmmakers and audiences through masterclasses and hosted networking sessions.
Will Shannon (b.1980) describes himself as: “designer, maker, artist, architect, prototyper, workplace designer, maybe”. The son of a cabinetmaker, he did a Fine Art degree at Chelsea College of Arts and then returned to his more practical roots with a Design Products MA at the Royal College of Art. His exhibition at mac Birmingham, curated by Craftspace, suggests that if art and craft and design are separate camps, he is on the road between them.
Maze is an immersive new performance presented by Jasmin Vardimon Company and Turner Contemporary. Choreographed by critically-acclaimed director Jasmin Vardimon, with collaboration from Ron Arad and artist Guy Bar-Amotz, the piece is an immersive performance that asks audiences to choose a “light” or “dark” path. We speak to Vardimon about her approach to the creation of the work and her interest in the individual observer.
On 9 April, main prize winner of the 2015 edition of the Aesthetica Art Prize, John Keane, will be appearing at York St Mary’s to deliver an exclusive artist’s talk. Keane first came to national prominence in 1991 when he was appointed as official British war artist during the Gulf War. The event will offer a unique insight into Keane’s award-winning Fear series, as the artist himself discusses the key inspirations and processes behind his large-scale paintings of arrested victims from the great Stalinist terror of the 1930s.
Taking its title from the Gaelic word for craving and desire, Miann is Fleur Darkin’s first full-length work as artistic director at Scottish Dance Theatre. A powerful piece about grief and loss, the performance will be appear at Southbank Centre, London, 9 April, after which it will travel to Tramway, Glasgow, in May. Hugely popular at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s Made in Scotland showcase in 2014, Miann highlights Darkin’s tactile choreography.
Creating artworks and performances that traverse genres and mediums, Bruce Nauman defies classification and stands as one of the most influential contemporary artists working today. A selection of multimedia installations, audio-visual pieces, and sculptures are on view at the Fondation Cartier – chosen as together they represent the artist’s multifaceted and ever-evolving practice.
This spring, a series of free lunchtime talks from leading art figures including curators and artists will run alongside the Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition at York St Mary’s, presenting an unique opportunity to hear directly from industry leaders. Speakers include John Keane, Winner of the Main Prize, who will begin the series on 9 April with a discussion of his practice and, specifically, the four paintings from the Fear series selected for this exhibition. Other speakers include Dr Sam Lackey, Curator at The Hepworth Wakefield; Sarah Perks, Artistic Director (Visual Art) HOME; and Marcus Lyon, Aesthetica Art Prize shortlisted artist.
The future can only be imagined by looking back towards the past. In Aesthetica Issue 64 we look for a frame of reference to start from, to unpick, to tease out and then create something entirely new. For example, there would be no digital without analogue and certainly no progress without retrospection. We truly believe that you have to experiment and gather a wide range of influences in order to innovate.
Self taught Swedish artist Anna Edholm works with layers of acrylic paint on canvas. With her abstract designs aims to direct the viewer to use their own imagination and to find patterns and meanings of their own among colours and forms. She experiments with multiple materials and tools to give her work an engaging and striking appearance with both the use of both thin fluid colours as well as thick layers to provide contrast and texture.
For the 35th edition of The AIPAD Photography Show, 89 of the world’s leading fine art photography galleries will present a wide range of museum-quality work, including contemporary, modern, and 19th century photographs as well as photo-based art, video, and new media.
Janet Lees: We two girls together singing, Shortlisted Poem in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award
The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is now in its eighth year and is open for entries. The Award is an international literary prize that celebrates and champions writers and poets from around the world, and presents an opportunity for them to engage with a wider audience. Janet Lees was selected for the shortlist of 60 writers in last year’s Award with her poem We two girls together singing. Read more about her work as featured in IOM Newspapers.
Rough Deluxe: Sweet Candy and Wild Women is a new collection from painter Henrietta Dubrey and is currently on display at Edgar Modern, Bath. The exhibition features a stunning new body of work, encompassing both abstract and figurative works. Running until 11 April, the show highlights Dubrey’s reimagining of the classic female nude with bold colours that demand attention. We speak to Dubrey about her practice and the artists that have influenced her over the years.
This year’s edition of the Venice Biennale is fast-approaching. To celebrate the forthcoming Biennale, we take a look at our feature on Alfredo Jaar, who, in 2013, represented Chile at the esteemed event. In Issue 53, we spoke to curator Madeleine Grynsztejn about Latin American art and Jaar’s installation Venezia, Venezia.
The fifth edition of the Milan Image Art Fair, dedicated to photography, will open in the new location of Porta Nuova Varesine this April. The event will take place in The Mall, a centre nestled among the skyscrapers that have changed the city skyline, which has become a symbol of the new Milan. A section on the main themes of Expo 2015 will be presented as part of the fair. This year sees the richest and most wide-ranging edition of MIA Fair with an anticipated 145 exhibitors and a broad cultural programme, all directed by Fabio Castelli.