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V&A: Exhibition Road Competition

Review by Nathan Breeze

If you’re a regular visitor to the V&A you would have noticed a gradual and ambitious series of renovations and expansions over the last few years. It is all part of the museum’s FuturePlan; bringing the V&A into the 21st century and restoring modern design and innovation to its heart. For each of these transformations the V&A has launched a series of open competitions; inviting proposals from architectural firms from all over the world. A recent example was the competition to design the V&A’s new outpost on Dundee’s waterfront, won at the end of last year by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

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It’s Gonna Work Out Fine: Lisa Slominski, Tenderpixel, London

Review by Laura E. Barone, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

The space at Tenderpixel has been filled by artist/curator Lisa Slominski with emotion – more specifically, with emoticons. Slominski’s solo show, It’s gonna work out fine gives a promise of sincerity and depth to otherwise trite symbols from the instant messaging and texting sphere of what passes as contemporary forms of communication. Pookie is the largest piece, running from the top of the wall and continuing onto the floor, and is the focal point of the show. Made of 100 laser cut Perspex symbols, the installation draws from the keyboard for its forms, creating patterns made up of semi-colons, parenthesis, zeros, and bullet points. When there is no more space on the wall, the pattern continues onto the floor until it is complete, as if it has encountered an angled page break.

The Interaction between Classical Music, Theatre and Film: Michel van der Aa, Barbican, London

Review by Nathan Breeze

Touring six major European culture halls, Liebestod was a cross-genre performance by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta exploring the interaction between Classical Music, Theatre and Film. The evening was opened by Wagner’s celebrated Tristan und Isolde Prelude, a piece of music composed about the secret yet impossible desire that Tristan has for the wife of his uncle. Continuing with the theme of unobtainable love, Lyric Suite by Alban Berg proved to be heavily influenced by his clandestine obsession with the married Hanna Fuchs-Robettin after letters were found along with an annotated score of the piece in 1977.

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A Multitude of Soap Bubbles which Explode from Time to Time: Pino Pascali, Camden Arts Centre, London

Review by Paul Hardman

This exhibition, the first dedicated to Pino Pascali in the UK, focuses on works from 1967 and 1968, the last few completed by Pascali in the final two years before his tragic early death in a motorcycle accident at the age of 32. It is his first solo show in the UK, a fact which is surprising given his international significance as a key member of the Arte Povera movement, the radical trend in Italian art where everyday materials were used in resonant combinations and in which events in art and life appeared to converge.

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Examining and Unravelling: Yellow Wallpaper, Bo.Lee, Bath

Review by Regina Papachlimitzou

Yellow Wallpaper, inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story of the same name, examines and unravels themes of spatial confinement, escape and the dissolution of identity that can occur in the struggle between the two.

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Deconstructing Photography: Rashid Rana, Lisson Gallery, London

Review by Emily Sack, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

Lisson Gallery’s newest exhibition highlights some of the recent works by Pakistani artist Rashid Rana. Rana works in photography but deconstructs typical photographic renderings and instead challenges the viewer to reconsider the world in which they live.

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The Filthy Reality of Everyday Life: Dirt @ Wellcome Collection, London

Review by Carla MacKinnon

Wellcome Collection, a free visitor destination for the incurably curious has established an excellent name for itself as one of London’s most unusual and absorbing cultural centres. Their high quality curation is both diverse and controlled, pulling artworks, artefacts and information from all corners of the world to tell one story. In this exhibition, running until the end of August, that story is dirt. Considering how ubiquitous dirt is, it is perhaps surprising how rarely it is examined in any but the most dismissive terms. This exhibition seeks to explore it deeper and examine mankind’s relationship to it – materially, historically, culturally and psychologically.

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Digital Tenderness: Clare Price, Charlie Dutton Gallery, London

Interview by Bethany Rex

Clare Price’s new work represents a departure from the strictures of her previous work. Whilst adhering to the familiar formalist rules of earlier paintings, starting with the hand rendered pixellated lines that form a grid for the work there is a new energy and freedom that is seen both in the leaving behind of her traditonal landscape format and also the breaking down of the relationship with the original drawing. We caught up with one of the directors, Charlie Dutton to find out what it takes to open your own gallery.

Philosopher's Notepads, 2010, manipulated exercise books by Sam Knowles

Wonders of the Universe: Beyond Ourselves @ The Royal Society, London

Interview by Bethany Rex

Featuring works by Agata Agatowska, Geraldine Cox, Chris Dunseath, Sam Knowles, David Rickard and Chooc Ly Tan, Beyond Ourselves opens tomorrow at the Royal Society, London. The exhibition brings together six innovative contemporary artists who have all placed the potential of enquiry and thought at the core of their work. We caught up with the curator, Ingrid Hinton, to find out more.

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The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900 @ V&A, London

Review by Laura E. Barone, a candidate for the MA in Art History at Richmond the American International University in London.

The Victoria and Albert’s major spring exhibition, The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900 is decadent, comprehensive, and seamlessly integrated into the setting and approach of the V&A. A deliberate reaction against the codes and visual gloom of the Victorian era, the Aesthetic movement approached art and beauty as valid ideals in their own right, and aimed to express this ethos through an entire lifestyle.

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Contemporary Scottish Culture: AHM Symposium

Review by Alistair Quietsch

With the recent announcement of the Arts Council England (ACE) cuts and funding decisions, the disbandment of the UK Film Council into three regional hubs in Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol, the location of artistic practice has become part of the debate. Following in this debate, The National Gallery, Edinburgh hosted AHM’s second symposium to discuss the current role of culture in Scotland. The day saw a collection of 200 industry professionals and students gather under the theme of the artist away from home.

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Aesthetica April/May – Issue 40 out today

I am so pleased to bring you issue 40 of Aesthetica Magazine. It’s an unbelievable feeling, especially when I look all the way back to issue one. Creating this magazine has been one of the most exhilarating things that I’ve ever done in my life.