6.Untitled IV (balloons) -¬ Anne Hardy, courtesy Maureen Paley, London and ArtSway

Signs of a Struggle: Photography in the Wake of Postmodernism | V&A | London

Text by Matt Swain

This display, which is a forerunner for the V&A’s forthcoming exhibition Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990, explores photographs that make reference to themselves as well as other media, demonstrating the longevity and pervading influence of Postmodernist photography over a 30 year period starting in the 1970s. You can read a preview of the upcoming show in the current issue of Aesthetica which is available here.

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Last Week | Haegue Yang & Felix Gonzalez-Torres | The Sea Wall | Arnolfini | Bristol

Text by Regina Papachlimitzou

Setting the haunting installations of Berlin-based Korean artist Haegue Yang against the shimmering undulations of the work of late Cuban artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, The Sea Wall presents an intriguing conversation between the two artists’ distinctive practices. Employing domestic materials stripped of their everyday use is a common thread running through the works of both Yang and Gonzalez-Torres, unexpectedly obliterating the demarcation between the artistic and private realms.

Artangel. Ryan Gander, Locked Room Scenario, 2011 (3)

Ryan Gander: Locked Room Scenario | Londonnewcastle Depot | London

Text by Charles Danby

There were momentary points of sensory poetic and visual intrigue within Ryan Gander’s Locked Room Scenario, the optical slightness of a darkened corridor that led to an unwitting approach of ones own shadow in a space indeterminate in scale, direction and makeup. Here there was an overwhelming sense that the ceiling was narrowing like an all too familiar cinematic illusion. Odd shafts of light, such as the thrown-back light of a slide projector, were all that illuminated the environment. The scenario was entirely compelling.

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Mario Merz: What is To Be Done? | Henry Moore Institute | Leeds.

Text by Daniel Potts

In Mario Merz’s (b.1925) first solo exhibition in the UK for nearly 30 years, What is To Be Done? presents 12 works made between 1966 and 1977, many of which have been rarely exhibited in the last four decades. Merz was a leading figure of Arte Povera, a term referring to a loose grouping of Italian artists who turned their attention to their surrounding environment in the immediate post-war period. The title of the exhibition, echoing a speech of Lenin’s from 1912, relates to a time of great political, social and ensuing, artistic upheaval, drawing attention to Merz’s creative reaction to the dileama he faced as an artist of: what can an artist do in the face of a precarious future?

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Science Vs. Self | See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception | Work Gallery | London.

Text by Karla Evans

There is no question to the relentless speed at which technology and science are evolving; it appears in the palms of our hands in our ever-accessible phones and materialises before our eyes in our multi-tasking computers. See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception at Work Gallery takes on this Herculean topic and instead of playing on technology’s direct effect on the world around us, hones in on its more controversial impact on our very own bodies.

Home, Sweet Home? Bristol & West: Photography by Martin Parr | M Shed | Bristol

Text by Bethany Rex

Based in a converted 1950s goods shed, M Shed will exhibit a major retrospective of Martin Parr’s work, shown in Bristol for the first time since the artist moved to the city a quarter of a century ago.

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Radical Individualism | Callum Morton: In Memoriam | Heide Museum of Modern Art | Melbourne

Text by Emily Bour

“This isn’t the right place, why are we at a funeral home?” To have driven the 30 minutes to go to visit Callum Morton: In Memoriam at the iconic Heide Museum of Modern Art, I must admit slight frustration when confronted with the imposing ‘Le Pine Funerals’ sign at our arrival. This was, of course, our first taste of Melbourne artist, Morton’s, part site-specific project, part mid-career survey show. Drawing upon almost 20 years of Morton’s work, and also presenting a number of exciting new projects, including Monument #25: Vortex, a glass-fronted shop constructed by the artist onsite, In Memoriam certainly lives up to expectation.

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Spires and Squires | FLOW | Oxford Canal.

In 2008, the Department for Culture Media and Sport announced the Cultural Olympiad. A four year programme of cultural activity, it includes national and local projects as part of a UK-wide cultural festival. There has already been a lot of noise about the project from both sides. There’s the party-line suggesting that the Cultural Olympiad is a unique proposition, tracing a seamless path between sport, education and culture, and then the dissenters who are asking the age-old question – who is paying for it? What are the benefits in real terms?

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Construction | Destruction | Nostalgia | Memory of a Hope | Ceri Hand Gallery | Liverpool

Text by Kenn Taylor

Devised with gallery artist Matthew Houlding, this exhibition at Ceri Hand Gallery draws on a key text by Henri Lefebvre and the autobiographical writing of JG Ballard, reflecting spaces caught between construction, destruction and nostalgia. Each gallery artist was invited to select two artists in response to Houlding’s concept. The resulting exhibition includes 36 artists and over 100 art works, including film, photography, painting, sculpture, text and audio work – much of it seen for the first time in the UK.

The Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture, Saatchi Gallery, London.

Text by Lyndon Ashmore

At first glance the exact shape of things to come suggested by the sculptures included in this exhibition can seem disparate and inconclusive. The selections are testimony to the broadening materials and mediums available to the sculptor; from the amalgamation of found objects in Anselm Reyle’s Untitled; to Rebecca Warren’s coarse modelling of clay; with Roger Hiorns’ ‘no-hands method’ precariously sat somewhere in the middle. It is a riotous collection of materials and imaginations that are assimilated here in the Saatchi Gallery’s first exhibition exclusively of sculpture.

Documenting the Political: Belfast Photo Festival, Various Venues.

Text by Angela Darby

The Belfast Photo Festival is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. The organisers have managed to encompass a large part of the city centre working in partnership with 20 venues and exhibiting the work of over 50 regional and international photographic artists. The media perception of Belfast is generally one of a recovering war zone scarred by years of hostility and conflict. Evidence of this still emerges during the July’s notorious ‘marching season’ with its sectarian overtones and civil unrest. Presented with such a heavy association, one might ask how can a photo festival based in Belfast during the summer months avoid the city’s clichéd images without simultaneously disregarding its notorious history?

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The Ethereal & Concrete: Structure & Material, Spike Island, Bristol.

Text by Regina Papachlimitzou

Structure & Material brings together three artists who, although engaging in distinctly different sculptural practices, share a similar preoccupation with the potency inhering in the ambiguous, almost taciturn nature of the materials employed in their works. Showcasing works by Claire Barclay, Becky Beasley, and Turner Prize nominee Karla Black, Structure and Material invites the viewer to consider the ethereal and the concrete no longer as two ends of a spectrum but rather as co-existing and interfusing traits.

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Profundity & Play: Anish Kapoor: Flashback, Edinburgh College of Art.

Text by Colin Herd

Following on from its first incarnation at Manchester Art Gallery in the spring, Anish Kapoor’s touring Arts Council-funded mini-retrospective Flashback is currently on show at Edinburgh College of Art as one of the flagship exhibitions of this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival. The exhibition takes place in the airy and impressive Sculpture Court, a space usually given over to displaying either the college’s collection of antique statuary, including casts of the Elgin Marbles, or occasionally, to the giddy, experimental work of mid-degree art students. It’s a liminal space itself, then, caught between two moods and aesthetics, and the perfect choice to showcase Kapoor’s trademark blend of profundity and play.

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Lyrical Images of Life by the Sea: Sea Creatures, Joseph Bellows Gallery, San Diego.

Sea Creatures, an exhibition featuring work from Joni Sternbach, Dana Montlack and Liz Lantz, examines life above, below and around the sea. Featuring tintype portraits of surfers, images of life beneath the deep, and the lifestyles of women surfers around southern California, Sea Creatures is on show at Joseph Bellows Gallery until 13 August.

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New Cinematic Experiences: Screen Arts Festival: Picturehouse Cinemas, Nationwide.

The Screen Arts Festival, a brand new cross arts initiative organised by Picturehouse Cinemas, opens this summer. Showcasing a wide range of arts content – ballet, opera, theatre, and concerts, both pre-recorded and live – the festival will also include a number of related films, documentaries and special events, including a satellite Q&A with Sir David Attenborough to accompany the first wide cinema screening of BAFTA winning documentary Flying Monsters – all programmed into a variety of themed strands.

A World-Class City of Bad Taste: Patrick Dalton Explores London’s Darker Side

Understanding and exploring the role of street photography as an agent for social reflection and expression is now more important than ever. However, the dissemination of street photography, facilitated by the web, has meant definitions are difficult to pin down. This certainly isn’t a bad thing, and allows photographers such as Patrick Dalton, the man behind Shit London, an arena for expression.

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Aesthetica August/September Issue – Without Limits

Text by Cherie Federico

The line between production and consumption is blurred. As a society we yearn for more; of what, we’re not sure, but it could be anything. As a result, we create more and more. It’s a complex dynamic, one which needs to be considered. On a recent visit to Amsterdam, I saw Willem Popelier’s Showroom Girls; it was a fascinating exhibition, which made me think about the past and the future, but more importantly the now and how all this production and consumption is forging a new identity.

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Unpicking the Social Language of Music: A Fire in the Master’s House is Set, Chapter, Cardiff.

Text by Luke Healey

A Fire in the Master’s House is Set, named after a lyric that is repeated hypnotically throughout Rage Against the Machine’s 1999 song New Millennium Homes, feels simultaneously like a pet project for its curator Simon Morrissey, and a sensitive barometer for a particular type of approach to artmaking, based around the perennial themes of music and rebellion.

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Japanese Modernism:Atsuko Tanaka: The Art of Connecting – Ikon, Birmingham.

Text by Matt Swain

The Art of Connecting is the first solo exhibition in the UK by Atsuko Tanaka (1932-2005), one of Japan’s most renowned avant-garde artists. Tanaka was a member of the Gutai group which was founded in 1954 by Jiro Yoshihara (1905-1972) in Japan and comprised diverse artists who had all undergone traumatic experiences in World War II. The artists and particularly Tanaka employed a radical, conceptual approach, expanding the notion of painting and sculpture into space and actions, pioneering an approach that was picked up much later by other artists in the US and Europe.