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Bolt Gallery for Russian Art and Design (GRAD), London

GRAD aims to spark new ideas through providing international audiences with insights into Russian art, design and culture. Through costume designs and period photographs, this exhibition explores Bolt, Dmitri Shostakovich’s ballet written in 1931, a musical experimentation full of skulduggery and drunken conspiracy, which was forbidden to stand on stage for 74 years as it was suspected to be a satirical piece, mocking the Soviet authorities. In fact, constructivist values are reflected in all of Bolt, with Shostakovich commissioned by the Moscow Art Theatre to compose the score to a ballet that would serve and support the goals of socialism and communism. Combining circus music, waltzes, marches and tangos together with popular tunes, the composer envisaged the piece to be a celebration of the proletariat.

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5 to See This Weekend

With the holiday season on its way, there’s plenty of time to squeeze in a few of the best exhibitions taking place around the world. From Mike Nelson’s contemplative installation on British and Canadian culture at Tramway, Glasgow, to an insightful and inspiring showcase of photojournalism in the analogue-age at C/O Berlin, we take a look at a selection of new and ongoing shows that experiment with a range of disciplines including painting, installation and photography. Read on to see our favourite picks for the last weekend before Christmas. 

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Review of Pipilotti Rist: Worry Will Vanish, Hauser & Wirth, London

Hauser & Wirth’s north gallery on Savile Row is a space that has been transformed in many possible ways, but this time the micro environment created for Pipilotti Rist’s show emerged as an unexpected -nevertheless pleasant- surprise. The entire gallery has been blacked out, carpeted and split into two sectors. At the reception area, where three smaller scale “introductory” video installations puts the audience in the mood for what is ahead, visitors are prompted to take their shoes off and proceed to the main section through a heavy denim curtain. There, white cosy duvets are scattered around the floor and everyone is free to use them as they please and relax while watching the video installation projected on the two large walls of the gallery.

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Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974-1989, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

On 7 February the Hammer Museum presents the first museum survey of LA-based conceptual artist Charles Gaines’ early work. The exhibition, entitled Gridwork 1974-1989, will feature 11 different series of over 80 works and relevant ephemera from the early years of Gaines’ four decade career. A leading practitioner of conceptual art and an influential educator at the California State University, Fresno, Gaines is recognised for his outstanding work in photography and drawing, as well as his use of paper to investigate themes of systems, cognition, and language. 

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Discover Outstanding Contemporary Writing with the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology

Aesthetica champions literary talent from around the world through its annual Prize for short fiction and poetry writers. Now going into its 9th year, the Creative Writing Award is an exciting and dynamic addition to the literary world, and attracts thousands of entries from both established and budding writers. This year’s anthology of selected works is now available to order: this is an opportunity to read inspirational works from award winning authors previously published elsewhere as well as from new writers breaking into the industry.

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London Short Film Festival Announces 2015 Programme

For the 12th year, London Short Film Festival returns with an outstanding programme of events and short films. Running 9 – 18 January at  ICAHackney Picturehouse and Oval Space, the festival aims to be  as confrontational as ever and prove that the UK is truly a hotbed of film creativity. This year, LSFF received an 1,500 submissions in total, including international submissions for the first time, as such the event is sure to showcase the innovation of short filmmakers today.

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India Art Fair 2015, New Delhi

India’s premier modern and contemporary art fair returns to New Delhi for its 7th edition. Supported by YES Bank, India Art Fair is one of the most important platforms for facilitating creative dialogue and promoting art trade in the region. The 2015 fair, commencing on the 29 January, sees 85 galleries exhibiting across 90 booths, each stand showcasing a breath of modern and contemporary art practices including painting, sculpture, new media, installation and performance art. The upcoming fair promises to offer a curatorial focus on international diversity.

Top 10 Exhibitions in 2014

2014 has been a great year for contemporary art exhibitions. The huge range of practices on display demonstrates the variety of artistic approaches being developed across the world. From Guy Bourdin to Barbara Kruger, Martin Creed to Annette Messager, all of the artists listed here demonstrate both skill and thought. We take a look at the top 10 exhibitions from 2014, considering why these shows were so important.

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Interview with Painter and Sculptor Maggi Hambling, Wall of Water at the National Gallery

Known for her sculptures Scallop (2003) and In Conversation with Oscar Wilde (1998), Maggi Hambling has established herself as one of Britain’s most significant and controversial painters and sculptors. In her latest exhibition Wall of Water, Hambling returns to the National Gallery to celebrate her work in painting, with a vivacious presentation of contemporary seascapes inspired by the gigantic crashing waves the artist experienced at Southwold, Suffolk, in 2010. Running concurrently with the more conventional work of  Norwegian artist Peder Balke (1804-1887), the Wall of Water series bursts with a painterly restlessness, and features exuberantly coloured canvases alongside a group of abrupt, stark monotypes. Aesthetica speaks to Hambling about her ongoing motivations as a painter and sculptor working in Britain.

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Interview with Photographer Joël Tettamanti, Featured in Aesthetica Issue 62

In the midst of a white snowscape, Joël Tettamanti (b. 1977) finds moments of captivating colour. While travelling across Greenland, he discovered objects and buildings which had managed to escape the thick layers of snow engulfing the region. The primary coloured houses associated with the Northern Hemisphere stand out against the washed-out streets, and even the most mundane objects become almost mystical half-disguised in the frosty weather. Tettamanti’s beautiful photographs are currently showcased in Issue 62 of Aesthetica. We speak to Tettamanti about his approach to his work.

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Built from Life, Abraham Cruzvillegas in Aesthetica Magazine

Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas’ sculptures appear haphazard, disjointed and improvisational – and they are. Inspired by his parental home in Ajusco, a district in the south of Mexico City, he calls the sculptures autoconstruccións (or “self-construction”), as he sees them arising out of the environment that surrounds them. His parents, like many of their neighbours, built their house themselves, creating an improvisatory domestic edifice contingent on the availability of materials and the environment in which it was situated.

A Closer Look at the Work of Margaretha Gubernale

Oil on canvas painter Margaretha Gubernale creates mystical worlds with the source of her inspiration being nature and philosophy. She has worked for nearly 30 years as an international artist and her work has been exhibited widely including Suisse Arte, Basel, Switzerland, AGORA Gallery, New York, and Museo Civico, Palermo, Italy. It has been said that her world is “consumed with the romantic and the mystical, imbued with vivacious colors and wrought with emotion” According to the artist herself, Gubernale explained that she “pursues four elements [in all of her paintings]; the intellect as air, fire as self-confidence and will, water as feeling, and earth as material execution.”

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Reality Departure: Angela Smith, Louis Savage & Katrine Roberts, Lacey Contemporary

The second instalment of Lacey Contemporary’s launch of its gallery artists showcases the work of three young British painters. Reality Departure explores painting’s ability to capture the world as it is mediated by the human mind, in this case by the minds of three aesthetically different but spiritually similar artists.

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Review of Allen Jones, Royal Academy of Arts, London

There is more to Allen Jones than those tables. As if to acknowledge this fact, the curators of this retrospective have placed two of them right at the beginning of the exhibition. Once the shock and awe is over, the show unfolds to reveal the unfailing ingenuity of a British Pop artist who turns out to be both a brilliant painter and an incisive critic of modernity.

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5 To See This Weekend

With Christmas just around the corner, its time to weave some creativity into the busy festive schedule. In our 5 To See This Weekend we select the best in contemporary art from London to Sydney, Paris to New York. In Australia, MCA‘s expansive Chuck Close retrospective pays special attention to the American portrait painter’s lesser-known work as a printmaker and photographer, whilst Marian Goodman opened a new Juan Muñoz exhibition this week, celebrating the artist’s key works in sculpture. There’s also still time to catch Hayward Gallery‘s exploration of London’s digital age in Mirrorcity. Read on to find out more.

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The Art Fund Launch Nationwide Search for Museum of the Year 2015

The Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year launches its competition for 2015. The search for the next top UK museum or gallery begins this week, after director of the Art Fund and chair of the judging panel, Stephen Deuchar, revealed the international jury line-up of artist Michael Landy; design critic Alice Rawsthorn; Fiammetta Rocco, arts editor of The Economist , and Axel Rüger, director of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum. This year’s arts institutions will be competing for recognition as one of the UK’s most outstanding venues, through the demonstration of their bold artistic vision and engaging visitors’ programme. 

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Review of Marie Lund: Dip, Laura Bartlett Gallery, London

Marie Lund’s new exhibition at Laura Bartlett, her second solo show at the gallery, feels like the most considered and erudite articulation of themes in the artist’s work that have been gaining momentum for a few years now. Work featured at Art Basel this year, as well as in Mexico, Florence and at Frieze, provides the departure point for the sculptures and picture pieces here, which combine to form a particularly cohesive showing.

Disinformation, The Analysis of Beauty, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh

The first instalment of gap in the air festival took place in November with a mesmerising in-situ sound and video piece by noise DJ, artist and researcher Joe Banks. Working under the guise of Disinformation since 1995, Banks has pioneered the use of electromagnetic (radio) noise from sources such as mains electricity, lightning, laboratory equipment, and even the sun, to generate malleable sonic material. For The Analysis of Beauty at the Talbot Rice’s Georgian Gallery, Banks found inspiration in William Hogarth’s famous thesis on serpentine lines and his belief that S-shaped lines were active, lively and stimulating, and therefore beautiful.

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Playtime: Nine Artists Celebrate the Iconic Venue, Cornerhouse, Manchester

Moving sites in spring 2015, Manchester-based cross art form organisation, Cornerhouse, closes its current space with nine international artists, filmmakers and musicians celebrating the iconic venue: Rosa Barba, Niklas Goldbach, Andy Graydon, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Gabriel Lester, Naomi Kashiwagi, Shannon Plumb, Humberto Vélez and Jan St Werner.

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Self, Ordovas Gallery, London

In Self, the current exhibition on display at Ordovas Gallery, London, artistic mastery by four of the most revered artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, is championed. Rarely seen works deliver over a century of captivating self-portrayal, as it develops from the capturing of a moment in time fuelled by an artists’ inner most anguishes, to a tool used to help sculpt further thought on the desire for legacy after death.

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World Wide Women: Ritual, Cob Studios, The Cob Gallery, London

Established by fine-art photographer Anouska Beckwith in 2012, World Wide Women is an all-female international collective of photographers and artists which seeks to represent the free spirit of women in the contemporary art world. The group of 34 female artists defines itself as a sisterhood, united in effecting change through art; their shared vision stands as a feminist one, promoting equality, restoring balance and encouraging female empowerment through entirely positive action.

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Interview with Whitney Hintz, Curator of the Hiscox Collection

The Hiscox Collection comprises approximately 600 works on display across the company’s offices in the UK, Europe and USA. One of the latest acquisitions was 541 días, a photographic series of five portraits by Chilean artist Inés Molina Navea, who was one of the finalists in the Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition 2014. In these digital portraits Molina Navea superimposes details taken from photographs of up to five different faces to create images of people who have never existed. We talk to Whitney Hintz, independent adviser and Curator of the Hiscox Collection, previously Associate Director at Frith Street Gallery, about the Collection and how she uses art to enhance the working environment.

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Artist Filmmaker Ursula Mayer Wins the 2014 Film London Jarman Award

Film London has announced Ursula Mayer as winner of the 2014 Jarman Award. The Austrian-born filmmaker was selected from a shortlist of 10 visionary and boundary-crossing visual artists working in the UK. An annual celebration of experimentation, imagination and inspiration, the award recognises artist filmmakers whose creative practice defies conventional classification or definition. As winner of the seventh Jarman Award, Mayer joins the ranks of previous prize recipients Luke Fowler, Lindsay Seers, Emily Wardill, Anya Kirschner & David Panos, James Richards and John Smith.

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Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology Presents the Winners and Finalists for 2014

The compelling collection of poetry and short fiction in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology unites established and emerging literary talent from around the world, and features the winners and finalists from this year’s Aesthetica Creative Writing Award. The prize was established to celebrate writers and poets and showcase their work to a wider audience. With over 140 pages of captivating stories in under 2,000 words alongside contemporary poetry, the anthology is a great opportunity for literary lovers to discover inspirational new writing.

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Review of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Catwalk to Sidewalk, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

In recent years, the National Gallery of Victoria has been criticised for shying away from traditional “art exhibitions” and instead playing fodder to the masses with its interest in so-called “blockbuster” fashion and photography shows. Given that the gallery is one of Australia’s major national galleries, many have been suspicious of the programme list for the NGV for the last few years. The new Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition may be yet another (unhappy) instance of the Gallery entertaining mainstream crossovers into the world of star politics and celebrity culture.

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What is David Bowie, David Bowie in Aesthetica Magazine

There are few musicians who can parallel the aesthetic and imaginative influence of David Bowie – master of storytelling, fantasy and re-invention – over the past five decades. Ranging from androgynous alien Ziggy Stardust to the Japanese motifs of the schizophrenic Aladdin Sane, from the monochromatic classicism of the Thin White Duke to the dystopian metropolis of the Diamond Dogs, the characters and constructions of Bowie’s imagination have transcended the traditional boundaries of rock and pop music.

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Conflict, Time, Photography, Tate Modern, London

From a casual glance at the advertising for Conflict, Time, Photography you might assume it to be an exhibition of war photojournalism; in fact the concept is far more novel. The images on display show the aftermath (rather than the unfolding of) the conflicts they depict.

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Interview with artist Adeline de Monseignat, featured in Home at Ronchini Gallery

Ronchini Gallery’s latest exhibition Home is artist Adeline de Monseignat’s second solo show. Curated by Samia Calbayrac, it offers as its focal point an installation piece constructed from the awnings of the artists’ family home. In conjunction with this architectural centre-piece, de Monseignat incorporates sculptural, drawn and mixed media pieces, all of which explore “the nostalgia of childhood memories.” The work is physically linked to the artist’s childhood in its construction from the very same awnings she grew up with and which she uses to demarcate the exact dimensions of her childhood bedroom within the gallery space. De Monseignat skillfully draws the audience in with her playful approach, inviting her audience to accommodate themselves within her “bedroom,” which seemingly acts as a synecdoche for her juvenile years.

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Review of Diversity: Malaysia Arts, London

The end of November saw canvas and canapés meet at the opening night of Diversity: Malaysia Arts. Organised by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), the evening was a cavalcade of speeches, ceremony and gift-giving intended to showcase the country’s up-and-coming artists. Opening proceedings was Tony Devenish, Councillor to Knightsbridge and Belgravia and who, to the great surprise of many attendees, recounted with fondness his years spent in Kuala Lumpur (or ‘KL’, as he familiarly called it); laughter exploded from the audience as Devenish name-dropped the Proton car he once drove about the city.

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Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015 Shortlist Announced, The Photographers’ Gallery, London

The Photographers’ Gallery announces Nikolai Bakharev, Zanele Muholi, Viviane Sassen and Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse as the four shortlisted artists for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015. The annual prize, established by the gallery in 1996, aims to recognise and reward the exhibited work or publication of a living photographer of any nationality, who has significantly contributed to photography in Europe over the past 12 months. This year’s selection showcases a diversity of photographic approaches, which include video, object and text based works and encompass social documentary, portraiture and contemporary art photography.

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Review of John at National Theatre, London

The use of physical theatre by DV8 honours the company’s name. Deviating from any traditional performative categories, it sits between finely tuned body language, as in theatre, and the body as language, as in dance. The company’s method is well suited to John, whose script retells verbatim an interview with the show’s eponymous hero, a drug addict and general malcontent. Entwined with movement, the anti-drama of the script begins to sing. Yet the reins are never fully loosed to the physical by director-cum-choreographer Lloyd Newson, whose guiding principle, it seems, is control. That this remains apparent despite the show’s use of a revolving stage is testament to the firmness of his creative grip.

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Latitude Platform for Brazilian Art Galleries Abroad, Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami

Latitude Platform for Brazilian Art Galleries Abroad brings an energetic programme to Art Basel Miami Beach. Over the next few days, the Latitude programme will support 15 Brazilian galleries in showcasing leading contemporary art at Art Basel’s 13th Miami Beach edition. As a premier international destination for Latin American galleries, Latitude’s creative platform also invites nine additional Brazilian galleries to display work at three satellite art fairs across the region: Context, Untitled Art Fair and Pinta Miami.

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An Aesthetica Magazine Gift Subscription is the Perfect Christmas Present

For those who are passionate about contemporary art and culture, Aesthetica Magazine is the ultimate guide for keeping up-to-date with the latest news from the international art scene. Order a Gift Subscription for someone special this Christmas and save 20% off newsstand prices while also benefiting from a free gift wrapping service and a chance to write a personal message.

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5 To See at Art Basel Miami Beach

Art Basel Miami Beach brings together contemporary works for its extensive art fair from over 250 participating galleries worldwide. Running from 4-7 December, the exhibition is inclusive of photography, paintings, sculptures, multimedia and many other mediums. The annual event attracts tens of thousands of visitors, and each year, it grows. Everyone from admirers to collectors will attend. We feature five of the galleries and some of the artists represented this year.

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Frederick Wiseman: National Gallery UK Release January 2015

Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery takes the audience behind the scenes of a London institution and into the heart of a museum inhabited by masterpieces of Western art from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. National Gallery is the portrait of a place, its way of working and relations with the world, its staff and public, and its paintings. In a perpetual and dizzying game of mirrors, film watches painting watches film.

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Hayward Touring Show: Art from Elsewhere, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

A Hayward Touring Show with support from the Art Fund, Art from Elsewhere brings together works that depict different realities of profound global change. This Hayward Touring exhibition, curated by David Elliott, runs at the Gallery of Modern Art before touring to five museums and galleries across the UK. This exhibition recognises the vital importance of continuing to enrich collections of contemporary art throughout the whole country.

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The 2014 Jarman Award Touring Programme

Derek Jarman is one of Britain’s most important and ground-breaking artists of the late 20th century. The Jarman Award is inspired by his practice and celebrates some of the most innovative filmmaking in the UK today. The 10 shortlisted practitioners all demonstrate a spirit of experimentation, imagination and inspiration. This year the films have toured across the country and arrive at Whitechapel Gallery, London, this weekend for the announcement of the winner on Monday 8 December. The winner will not only receive a £10,000 cash prize, they will also win a broadcast commission — to produce a series of film artworks for Channel 4. Find out more about each of the shortlisted artists.

Unconventional Design: Discover Aesthetica Issue 62 with the Official Trailer

The December/ January issue of Aesthetica is now available to purchase online and in stores internationally. In Issue 62, Aesthetica focuses on the idea of the unconventional. It’s a celebration of practitioners who are experimenting in their field by working in interdisciplinary ways and introducing concepts from other areas of art and design into their work.

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Wangechi Mutu: Nguva na Nyoka, Victoria Miro, London

Widely known for her elaborate collages that explore and subvert cultural preconceptions of the female body and the feminine. Wangechi Mutu’s practice has been described as engaging in its own unique form of myth-making. This exhibition, Nguva na Nyoka meaning “Sirens and Serpents” in Kiswahili presents her latest body of collage, video and sculptural works.

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Aesthetica Christmas Gift Guide

With the start of advent it is time to write those Christmas lists and get shopping. We’ve curated a selection of goodies for a variety of tastes from independent businesses, high-end fashion houses and cultural institutions. From candles to trainers, books to skirts, we’ve got it covered. Read on to find out more about each of our top products.