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Ali Banisadr: At Once, Blain Southern, London

Ali Banisadr’s first ever UK solo show emerges as a series of oil paintings created over the last two years, including a 7-metre long triptych, his largest work to date. Banisadr’s fantastical landscapes, populated with grotesque hybrids in a perpetual state of frenzy, oscillate between the abstract and the figurative.

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Alec Soth: Songbook, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

With 20 new and never-before-seen photographs Alex Soth moves away from the haunting and influential portraits and landscapes that he has become known for, and turns his lens toward life in the country. These photographs are gathered together in Songbook, which is due to go on display at Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, 5 February – 4 April.

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5 To See This Weekend

There’s plenty to get involved with this weekend in the art world. Ronchini Gallery, London, is home to the UK’s first solo exhibition of Pier Paolo Calzolari, an influential figure in the Arte Povera movement. The works of Michelangelo Antonioni are compiled with new contemporary photography to explore themes of voyeurism and media theory from the 1960s to the present day. Meanwhile, the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014 showcase is still available to view, using a plethora of new media to explore current affairs, human nature, and desire.

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Interview with Linda Ingham, Curator at Abbey Walk Gallery, Grimsby

Abbey Walk Gallery, a premier art venue located in Grimsby, focuses on showcasing an exciting and diverse rolling programme of modern and contemporary art in North East Lincolnshire and across the UK. Established in 2008, the gallery works with a fantastic selection of established and emerging practitioners, and hosts an innovative programme of exhibitions, workshops and events. Supporting artists’ through its in-house artists’ studios, the gallery seeks to promote the development of artists’ careers. This week Abbey Walk is at the London Art Fair. We speak to Linda Ingham, Curator and Project Officer at Abbey Walk, about the gallery’s attendance at the fair. Alongside her involvement with Abbey Walk’s programming, Ingham is also a gallery artist.

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Hello, My Name is Paul Smith, The Hasselt Fashion Museum, Belgium

The world’s leading museum devoted to architecture and design, The Hasselt Fashion Museum, takes audiences behind the scenes of Paul Smith’s world, which is dominated by intuitive creativity, in Hello, My Name is Paul Smith. Running 30 January – 7 June, the show, which previously appeared at Design Museum, London, unveils the expert craftsmanship and individual talent of a top designer.

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Christian Marclay, White Cube Bermondsey, London

Continuing Christian Marclay’s long-standing interest in the relationship between image and sound, this exhibition is comprised of a series of new works on canvas and paper that feature onomatopoeia taken from comic books as well as a lively programme of weekly performances.

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Max Neumann: New Works, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York

“The strange thing about heads is that the more you leave out, the more intense the expression becomes. In a different way than in portrait painting. It has absolutely nothing to do with that. These figures are just that to me: figures. They’re sexless, they have no special attributes. They are specters, shadows. What’s very important to me is the intensity, the presence. What that does. What it does in the painting. What it does with the viewer.” – Max Neumann.

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Seven from the Seventies, Flowers Gallery, London

Seven influential abstract painters from the 1970s, Colin Cina, Bernard Cohen, Noel Forster, Derek Hirst, Michael Kidner, Jack Smith and Richard Smith, exhibit works demonstrating a reductive and disciplined articulation of the sensations of light, form, sound, colour and space at Flowers Gallery, London, in Seven from the Seventies.

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Sidsel Christensen, Andrew Leventis and Lisa Slominski: We Never Dream Alone, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London

In We Never Dream Alone, works by Sidsel Christensen, Andrew Leventis and Lisa Slominski see the borders between real and unreal, fact and fiction, virtual and visceral, and blurred and explored. Diverse media, from video and painting to installation, bind together the diverse yet complementary practices of these three artists, as each navigates the ‘other’ space.

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Highlights of London Art Fair, 21 – 25 January, 2015

The UK’s premier fair for Modern and contemporary British art opens for its private view today. Situated in the Business Design Centre, Islington, the 27th edition of the London Art Fair will be on view to the public 21-25 January. With 128 exhibtors from across the world, the fair gives a unique overview of the art world and has an exiting programme of curated exhibitions, talks, films and performances. There are a number of highlights at this year’s event, including the inaugural Art Projecs Artist Award and the premiere of William Mackrell’s North South live performance on 22 January.

Edward Burtynsky, Stepwell #4, Sagar Kund Baori, India, 2013, (c) Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of Flowers Gallery, London

Q&A with Sophie Hall, Gallery Director at Flowers Gallery, London

In the build up to its 45th anniversary, Flowers Gallery brings a diverse showcase of international practitioners to the London Art Fair. Established in 1970 by Angela Flowers, the family run gallery was one of the first to open in London’s East End – now known as the capital’s most vibrant art scene. Growing into two spaces in London and one in New York, Flowers prides itself in its dynamic programme of all media by both established and emerging artists. The gallery is also an active publisher of prints and multiples. Aesthetica speaks to Sophie Hall, Gallery Director at Flowers, about the upcoming art fair and the gallery’s plans for 2015. 

Laurie Simmons, The Love Doll Day 31 (Geisha Close-Up), 2011, Fuji Matte Print, 101.6x76.2cm (40x30inches), Copyright the Artist. Courtesy Wilkinson Gallery, London

Laurie Simmons, The Arts Club, London

Ahead of new museum exhibitions in the USA, The Arts Club in London presents a selection of work spanning the career of American photographer Laurie Simmons. Born 1949 and working in the same period as Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger, Simmons uses photography to expose and critique media representation of women. Gender and sexuality are recurring themes in her work and she is notorious for using dolls and miniature objects to create staged realities.

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Horizon, Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong

This group exhibition explores the concept of landscapes, both traditional and abstract, and the selection of work depicts both the external world and internal responses to nature. The artists featured are all gallery artists and include Tracey Emin, Billy Childish, Angel Otero, Teresita Fernández and Juergen Teller.

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In Conversation with Anna Vogel, in Aesthetica Magazine

Living and working in Düsseldorf, Germany, artist Anna Vogel (b. 1981) transforms found photography with painting techniques, such as varnish, acrylic, ink and pigment, to manipulate the reality of the natural landscape into a surrealist scene with exaggerated elements. Her work recently appeared in a solo exhibition at Sprüth Magers, Berlin, from 8 July until 30 August 2014, and a set of new photobased works are currently on display at CONRADS, Düsseldorf.

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Athena Papadopoulos, Zabludowicz Collection Invites, Zabludowicz Collection, London

The Zabludowicz Collection Invites series is a unique opportunity for UK-based artists without commercial gallery representation to showcase their work in a solo exhibition at a dedicated project space at Zabludowicz Collection. This spring, Canadian born artist Athena Papadopoulos (b. 1988) presents her multidisciplinary practice. Following her MFA at Goldsmiths, London, Papadopoulos shows a new group of works made especially for the exhibition at Zabludowicz Collection.

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Two Hundred Years of the Kingdom of the Netherlands: The Atlas Van Stolk, Kunsthal Rotterdam

This spring, Kunsthal Rotterdam presents Two Hundred Years of the Kingdom of the Netherlands: The Atlas Van Stolk until 8 March. The exhibition includes hundreds of prints, drawings, photographs, cartoons and posters from the Atlas which illustrate the lives of the Dutch people during two centuries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and show how they have viewed themselves over the years. 

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Nástio Mosquito: Daily Lovemaking, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

This is a bold, provocative exhibition of the work of emerging artist, Nástio Mosquito. Exciting, contemporary and devoid of delineation, his work defies categorisation and points towards a new culture of art that combines pop, performance, fine art and politics. Hailing from the broadcast industry, where he worked previously as director and cameraman, this is Mosquito’s first solo exhibition.

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5 To See This Weekend

Help yourself to our selection of the best in international art with our 5 To See. 2015 is a time to look forward to contemporary innovations, as well as reflecting on the iconic past. The Guggenheim Bilbao explores key themes of the last 20 years in its Art of Our Time exhibition, celebrating the changing movements of contemporary artwork. Across in Penarth, Sanja Iveković’s politcal work at Ffotogalley condemns those social activists who are still left without a voice. Meanwhile, looking to the new in London, the Thomas Dane Gallery presents Walead Beshty’s latest work, which takes a new approach to his signature cyantoype process.

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Kevin Cooley: A Thousand Miles an Hour, Ryan Lee Gallery, New York

Throughout his practice, Los Angeles-based artist Kevin Cooley considers our evolving relationship with technology, nature, and ultimately each other. The underlying conceptual framework of his work is how these forces contend with each other and how we exist among them. His art is currently on display at Ryan Lee Gallery, New York, until 21 February.

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Mary Barnes: Boo-Bah, Bow Arts, Nunnery Gallery, London

Prolific outsider artist Mary Barnes (1923-2001) is represented in an exhibition featuring paintings and drawings spanning her artistic career which began in the 1960s in Bow, East London. The works predominantly derive from the collection of Dr. Joseph Berke, her therapist and friend, and who was nick-named “Boo-Bah” in a love letter scaling over a metre high and scrawled in Mary’s inimitable handwriting.

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Hugh Arnold: Agua Nacida, Mead Carney Fine Art, London

For his first London exhibition, internationally acclaimed photographer Hugh Arnold presents Agua Nacida (water born), a truly unique collection of hauntingly beautiful large-scale nudes, shot underwater on location in Fiji and Gozo.

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FutureEverything Festival, 25-28 February, Manchester

For its 20th anniversary, FutureEverything is not staging a retrospective, but a platform for a global community to collaboratively reflect on the bleeding edges of art, academia, design and business. This year, the pioneering digital culture Festival will feature new commissions, installations, conference speakers, film screenings and live events. In Manchester city, The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) will be the hub for the art, live and film programmes, while FutureEverything Conference returns to the neo-gothic Manchester Town Hall for inspiring talks from internationally renowned speakers and hands-on workshops.

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The Collective Conscience, Susan Hiller in Aesthetica Magazine

In 2011 Susan Hiller took London by storm with a massive retrospective at Tate Britain and new works at the Timothy Taylor Gallery. We delve into the Aesthetica archive and reflect on the American-born artist’s career explored in The Collective Conscience, which featured in Issue 39. Hiller’s work can currently be viewed at Den Frie, Copenhagen, until 5 March.

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Highlights from the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014

During December 2014, the small fishing town of Kochi in South India’s state of Kerala, was besieged by the international art crowd as the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 (KMB) opened its second edition. India’s first and currently only biennale of contemporary art, the first edition saw a total of 400,000 visitors (just 60,000 less than the Venice Biennale) over its three month run, giving this hotly awaited second edition a lot to aspire to. Unveiling a multi-venue exhibition of 100 works by 94 artists from 30 countries, not including the numerous collateral projects initiated by independents, KMB’s second edition began with a very promising start.

A Closer Look at the Work of Photographer and Author MAKIKO

MAKIKO is an award-winning photographer and author. She recently published a documentary/photography book titled Beautifully Different in collaboration with Dr.Landa from Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) to raise awareness of high-functioning autism. She has lived, studied and worked in Japan, France, North America, Switzerland and U.K. and travels extensively. She looks for objects which she can connect with and, as a result, her works display minimal tranquility which come from her inner world. She learned photography in International Center of Photography in New York and exhibited in Japan, North America and Italy and she currently lives in York.

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5 To See at London Art Fair

London Art Fair is the UK’s premier Modern British and contemporary art fair. The 27th edition of the fair is set to feature 128 galleries and will take place at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. Running from 21-25 January 2015, there will be a special display in partnership with Pallant House Gallery called The Figure in Modern British Art. The fair will also feature Photo50, an exhibition of contemporary photography featuring 50 works, which is guest-curated by Sheyi Bankale. The showcase, Against Nature, explores the possibilities of how viewers relate to renewed storytelling within photography. We take a look at five of the stands to visit at the fair next week.

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Shirin Neshat: The Home of My Eyes, YARAT Contemporary Art Space, Baku

Guest curated by Dina Nasser Khadivi and featuring a major new commission, produced following Shirin Neshat’s time in Azerbaijan, alongside two earlier works – the seminal video installations Soliloquy (1999) and Passage (2001) – this exhibition marks the opening of YARAT Contemporary Art Space in Baku.

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Interview with Photographer J. Shotti on Project, Every Two Weeks

Bronx-based photographer J. Shotti works at the intersection between life and art. His first solo project, a collection of instant film images entitled EVERY TWO WEEKS is due to be released in book form in 2015. The work is a series of over 220 instant film images shot during a two week period using two automatic Polaroid Land cameras. The images serve as visual diaries that detail  Shotti’s story for these 14 days and the stories of those he came into contact with. We speak to the photographer about his interest in humanity and his newest project.

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Ashley Bickerton, Art Stage Singapore, Gajah Gallery, Singapore

Bali-based American artist, Ashley Bickerton returns to Singapore after his successful show Junk Anthropologies, with new stitched-canvas works which appertain to his signature philosophical funk style. These remarkable works are decked with bold colours, and are largely inspired by his wife. Bickerton has garnered much attention for his depiction of females in the nude and here he emulates a skill for portraying feminine beauty, completing his narratives by incorporating typography and objects as well as ostensibly creating frames with a variant of materials to complement his paintings.

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London Fashion Week: International Fashion Showcase, Brewer Street Car Park, London

For the fourth year in a row 130 emerging designers from 30 countries will come together in the largest public fashion exhibition of its kind and the only British Council and British Fashion Council initiative which is open to the public for free during London Fashion Week.

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Self: Image and identity – self-portraiture from Van Dyck to Louise Bourgeois, Turner Contemporary

Artists have been recreating their own image for centuries, from self-advertisement and preserving legacy, to figurative studies, political commentary and biographical exploration, self-representation via portraiture has shaped Western art. In more than 100 artist self-portraits from the 16th century to the present day, from Sir Anthony van Dyck and JMW Turner to recent work by Louise Bourgeois and Yinka Shonibare, this exhibition explores the diverse ways in which artists have chosen to represent their identities. These works give an expansive look at the self-portraiture genre by covering mediums including drawing, painting, sculpture and even film, and derive from institutions such as the National Portrait Gallery as well as public and private international collections.

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Sotto Voce, Dominique Lévy Gallery, London

The second show at Dominique Lévy’s new London space will map the progression of the abstract white relief geographically and through time, with a focus on the 1930s to 1970s. Alongside the earliest unfolding of figuration by Henri Laurens produced in Paris to the harmonious constructions of the Brazilian Sergio Camargo, the exhibition will feature works by Jean Arp, Ben Nicholson, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Enrico Castellani, Agosto Bonalumi, Fausto Melotti, Günther Uecker, Luis Tomasello, Mira Schendel, and Sol LeWitt, amongst others.

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Richard Long: The Spike Island Tapes, Alan Cristea Gallery, London

For his first solo exhibition at the Alan Cristea Gallery, Turner Prize winner and Royal Academician Richard Long will exhibit a series of new, monumental carborundum relief prints. This is the first time that Long has worked in this medium, allowing him to create his largest prints and most colourful works to date: The Spike Island Tapes comprising 17 works created from twelve colossal 4 x 8 foot aluminium plates.

Tim Head, Fictions 3 (‘Invisible Cities’), 2013-14. Detail. Unique UV inkjet print on acrylic. © Tim Head 2014. Courtesy Parafin, London

5 To See This Weekend

Discover the best in contemporary art exhibitions from across the world in our 5 to See. This week, we have compiled a fantastic list of shows to see over the weekend, throughout the rest of January and beyond. Bringing you into 2015 is Parafin‘s showcase of British artist Tim Head’s latest innovations in print. In Australia, Carriageworks‘ colossal Zhang Huan installation challenges the viewer’s thoughts on life cycles, whilst in the U.S., MMoCA presents the first installation of Narayan Mahon’s photographic exploration of living in unrecognised countries. Over the weekend, don’t forget to check out an Aesthetica Subscription – yours to own for as little as £12 a year.

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HISTORY IS NOW: 7 Artists Take On Britain, Hayward Gallery, London

In the run up to the 2015 General Election, History Is Now will look at the last 70 years of British history to offer a new way of thinking about how we got to where we are today, considering everything from the Cold War and post-Thatcherite society, feminism and protest movements, to ‘mad cow disease’ and celebrity culture. Seven UK based artists – John Akomfrah, Simon Fujiwara, Roger Hiorns, Hannah Starkey, Richard Wentworth, and Jane and Louise Wilson – will curate sections of the exhibition, looking at particular periods dating back to 1945.

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Ori Gersht: Don’t Look Back, Towner, Eastbourne

The practice of photographer and film maker Ori Gersht addresses post war trauma by documenting the landscapes that have witnessed it. Don’t Look Back revisits three bodies of work that capture landscapes that have been the scene of atrocities; their their beauty and serenity sitting in juxtaposition with these previous horrors.

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Heinz Mack: ZERO & MORE, Ben Brown Fine Arts, London

Formed by Heinz Mack and Otto Piene of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, the ZERO movement rejected the gestural language of abstract expressionism and instead sought for an artistic purity in the wake of the trauma of the Second World War. Admired by artists such as Gerhard Richter, Robert Smithson and James Turrell and characterised by a minimalist, monochromatic aesthetic and a reverence for the power of light, Mack described the movement as “the adventure of seeking out and discovering the still-white spaces on the map of art”.

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KAIROS, In Conjunction with Playtime exhibition, Cornerhouse, Manchester

Group exhibition, Playtime, is the final Cornerhouse group exhibition before they make their move into HOME in May 2015. The show sees a selection of artists including Rosa Barba, Niklas Goldbach, Andy Graydon, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Gabriel Lester, Naomi Kashiwagi, Shannon Plumb, Humberto Vélez and Jan St Werner create new commissions which take inspiration from Cornerhouse’s iconic brick structure and director Jacques Tati’s 1967 comedic masterpiece Playtime.

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Review of Julie Verhoeven: Whiskers Between My Legs, ICA, London

Described as a “grotto of visual excess” Julie Verhoeven’s exploration of gender identity past and present is a disturbing explosion of vulgar kitsch and womanhood. Invited to take over the Fox Reading Room at the ICA, the fashion designer has combined film, illustration and mixed media sculpture to create a surreal installation that is both disconcerting yet provocative.

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Theatre of Light, Julio Le Parc in Aesthetica Magazine

A pioneer of “Op” and kinetic art, artist  Julio Le Parc’s ongoing contribution to contemporary art is currently being celebrated at the Serpentine Galleries in London. In Issue 52, Aesthetica looked at a landmark exhibition of Le Parc’s work at Palais de Tokyo, Paris.