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Cosima von Bonin’s Surrealist Playground @ Arnolfini

Review by Regina Papachlimitzou

Cosima von Bonin’s exhibition Bone Idle is permeated by contradiction. Her work, aiming to explore notions of sloth and fatigue, comprises a surprisingly energetic – at times almost manic – conglomeration of mediums. Through the use of materials as diverse as giant stuffed toys and larger-than-life streetlamps, von Bonin undercuts visitors’ expectations and invites them to reconsider pre-established ideas on how art sets about achieving its objective.

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To Kill A Mockingbird – Review of the play, touring the UK

Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird (1960) is one of the most widely discussed novels; dealing with racial inequality, violence and rape, it summarises a bleak time in American history. Countless essays and book reports have been written about this text, Robert Mulligan’s adaptation of the story into an Oscar winning film in 1962, and the fact that the play opened in York on 15 February and tours the UK until May, is a testament to this story’s enduring presence.

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PUBLICSFEAR @ South London Gallery

Review by Paul Hardman

Walking first up stairs into the dark, then along a black felt lined corridor, around a corner and finally into an almost entirely lightless circular room, a feeling occurs of retreating into ones own mind, into the roof of consciousness. This experience is further enhanced by ambient sounds, a long harmonic drone that becomes ever louder, until entering the chamber where the acoustic effect blocks out all background noise and comes from all sides creating complete immersion. The amplifier providing this music is the only thing visible. It glows benignly in front of cushioned seats providing a shrine like focus in a meditative space.

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The Flirtatious Aura of Jean-Marc Bustamante @ Fruitmarket

Review by Colin Herd

Jean-Marc Bustamante, who represented France at the Venice Biennale in 2003, began his career as an assistant to the renowned fashion photographer, filmmaker and artist William Klein. You’d never guess it, though, from a visit to this career-spanning show at the Fruitmarket Gallery. Walking around the still, monumental, people-less works that make up Dead Calm, the connection feels surprising and counterintuitive. Klein’s career has been devoted to photographing and filming myriad people in his vivid New York and Paris crowd scenes, motion-blurred street photography and boisterous satirical fashion films. The representation of people is at the core of Klein’s art; his work teems and throngs with faces and bodies, often caught in some kind of action or movement.

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Carey Young – Memento Park @ Cornerhouse, Manchester

Review by Kenn Taylor

Born in Zambia, Carey Young (b. 1970) grew up and studied in Manchester. She now works internationally utilising a variety of different media and settings. In particular though, her works critique contemporary culture and its prevailing systems. Memento Park is largely a retrospective, however the title comes from a new piece commissioned by the exhibition’s organising partners.

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Zhivago Duncan @ CFA Berlin

Review by Jaga N.A. Argentum

In his first solo exhibition, Dick Flash’s Souvenirs of Thought, Zhivago Duncan invites us to accompany him and his protagonist, Dick Flash, on a multi-media journey through a series of large-scale paintings and dioramas, commenting on classical philosophy and contemporary socio-economic issues. This exhibition featuring works such as, Pretentious Crap, is not as serious as it might sound.

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Sieving for Gold @ St Barnabas’ Church, Dalston

Review by Liz Lau

The title of the show Ordinary Time is a reference to where the date of the exhibition falls on the liturgical calendar. Nevertheless it soon becomes noticeable whilst searching through this interventionist exhibition, nestled into alcoves, arches, on and around the fixtures and architecture of the space that there is nothing ordinary about this assortment of works.

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The Magik of Dirk Bell @ The Modern Institute in Glasgow

Review by Alistair Quietsch

Dirk Bell’s work is a diverse mix of masterly observed drawings, minimalist sculpture and an artistic play with technology. Upon entering the show there is a large mix of objects to piece together. Darkly toned paintings of rotten apples looking like organs juxtaposed against a seemingly rigid large steel grid pattern. Two skilfully drawn eyes avoid each others gaze in the far corner while a giant striplight star structure clicks and fizzes governing the centre of the space, humming off an irresistible omnipresent sleekness. It is this piece that truly adds the ambience to the show, its presence dominates the space and intrigues onlookers, with its immaculate black and white sheen of steel and glass.

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Invocations of the Blank Page @ Spike Island

Review by Regina Papachlimitzou

The quietness and stillness you might generally associate with the blank page is challenged and eventually rejected in the artworks showcased in Spike Island’s Invocations of the Blank Page exhibition. Instead, the potential for meaning latent in a blank page is sharply brought to our attention, accompanied in turn by frustration, obsessive compulsion, the rawness of physical effort and even playfulness.

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Pragmatic Design: Pop Up Architecture

Review by Nathan Breeze

Last summer, when struggling to find a job in London I stumbled across an intriguing advert online seeking volunteers to help convert a derelict petrol station into a temporary cinema. Frustratingly I had prior engagements but I was to see the finished project, Cineroleum a few weeks later, enthusiastically covered in both the architectural and general press.

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An Unresolved Reminder of the Past: Thomas Houseago @ Modern Art Oxford

Review by Matt Swain

Thomas Houseago is a British contemporary visual artist based in Los Angeles, California. What Went Down is his first major solo exhibition in a UK public gallery. Houeseago’s monumental, figurative sculptures, which are spread across three galleries at Modern Art Oxford, subvert the expectation of sculptural form using lo-fi materials such as plaster, clay and ply-wood.

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David Hockney: Bigger Trees Near Warter

Works by some of the most famous names in the world of art are coming to Yorkshire this year as part of a compelling programme of exhibitions and events. Art in Yorkshire- supported by Tate, will see works by iconic artists such as David Hockney, Henry Moore and Dame Barbara Hepworth featured in exhibitions taking place in 19 urban and rural galleries across the county. Not to mention The Hepworth Wakefield will be opening this May!

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The Mechanical Animal Corporation

Review by Regina Papachlimitzou

The Mechanical Animal Corporation, a new Bristol-based theatre company dedicated to creating site-responsive theatre, have chosen an abandoned warehouse in the Paintworks quarter as the set of their first performance. Und, by Howard Barker, is a chilling exploration of the intricate ways in which self-perception, self-deception, and sexual desire at once stem from and overshadow each other in the struggle for survival.

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Aesthetica Short Film Competition 2011 is now Open for Entries

The Aesthetica Short Film Competition 2011 is now open for entries! Last year’s ASF was amazing with entries coming in from over 30 countries worldwide. It was a fantastic experience, and privilege to able to experience such innovative practice. The competition offers filmmakers an opportunity to get work broadcast to a wider audience and we’re keen to see entries from both new and established filmmakers who are driving short film forward.

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The Subversive Force of Images

Review by David Gunn, Director of www.theincidental.com

“I didn’t want to be involved with the currency of images in any way … I was interested in the obsolescence of images”.

As John Stezaker reflects upon the genesis of his artistic practice, he returns again and again to these ideas: removing images from circulation, staging their obsolescence. And at first, as you walk around this exemplary retrospective of his work at Whitechapel, his claim seems oddly incongruent. For Stezaker’s work seems intimately concerned with the social life of the image. Luxuriating in the re-presentation of the found; reinvigorating images with the most simple of transformations. An old film still turned upside down; photographs of a police line inter-spliced with the calm of a ballerina’ studio, a portrait of a cinema starlet obscured by a faded postcard of a rural landscape.

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Rosemarie Trockel’s New Modes of Operation @ Talbot Rice, Edinburgh

Review by Colin Herd

At the heart of this extensive survey of Rosemarie Trockel’s works on paper is a corner-wall of the central gallery devoted to Perspex cabinets displaying what must be about a hundred of Trockel’s “book drafts”. These books, which Trockel has produced in half-formed, unique editions throughout her career, form a fascinating paper-patchwork of Trockel’s recurrent thematic concerns. Unconventionally erotic, sexualized imagery and a thorough attention to the materials she uses characterize Trockel’s practice, which has subtly explored gender politics since she burst onto the art scene in the 1980s with groundbreaking works such as her mechanically produced ‘knitted pictures’, her life-size ceramic sofas or her kitchen stove sculptures.

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Kiki Smith on Nancy Spero – opening at The Serpentine, London in March

Opening on 3 March, The Serpentine Gallery presents the first major exhibition of Nancy Spero’s work since her death in 2009. Nancy Spero (1926–2009) was a leading pioneer of feminist art, and throughout her 50-year career, she created a vibrant visual language constructed from the histories and mythologies of past and present cultures. Nancy Spero was initiated by the Centre Pompidou, Paris,(presented from 13 October 2010 to 10 January 2011), and adapted for the Serpentine Gallery.

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Technologically Augmented Theatre @ Tenderpixel

Preview by Bethany Rex

Scapes opens next week at Tenderpixel in London. A new project part commissioned by Tenderpixel, Scapes is a new installation by media arts collaborative Squidsoup. Scapes conjures into being three-dimensional cities, landscapes and abstract architectures purely from sound, software and light. These visions occupy physical space, but only fleetingly. They leave nothing behind when they, and the sounds that spawned them, vanish.

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Aesthetica New Issue – February / March out Today

Inside this issue we’re exploring some of today’s most innovative artworks. Russian born Anna Parkina explores history and perceptions with her New Works opening in San Francisco whilst Northern Art Prize winner, Haroon Mirza probes cultural and social history with his latest sculptural installations and audio compositions at the Lisson Gallery. Susan Hiller, who is known for fusing conceptual and minimalist art, takes London by storm with a massive retrospective at Tate Britain and simultaneously shows new works at the Timothy Taylor Gallery. The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize announces its shortlist and we explore the works of two emerging women photographers.