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Altea Grau Vidal: Marcant Paraules | Ards Arts Centre | Newtownards | Northern Ireland

Text by Angela Darby

The International Residency programme at Seacourt Print Workshop offers a selected artist the opportunity to work in a new environment and share their knowledge during a three-month stay at the groups print facility in Bangor, Northern Ireland. Over the past 11 years recipients have included artists from Japan, Canada, USA and across Europe. Altea Grau Vidal from Valencia, Spain is the present recipient and her exhibition, Marchant Parules, contains a selection of combined processes including intaglio, relief, screen-printing, handmade paper and sculptural objects formed from rusted printing plates. The artist identifies the works under four separate headings; Because I know that the dreams are always corrupt, Object Poems, Object Books and Visual Poem.

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Tactile & Sensory Exploration | Jaume Plensa | Yorkshire Sculpture Park | Wakefield

Text by Daniel Potts

Jaume Plensa has had a good year; Echo, his first public art project in New York City was extended for an extra month by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, in the UK, Chichester Cathedral announced Plensa’s winning proposal for the Hussey Memorial Commission, Together, expected to be unveiled in the Cathedral in 2012. All the more reason to take the time to visit Plensa’s open-air exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park which is on show until 22 January 2012.

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New Cultural Identities | The Salsali Private Museum | Dubai

Exceptional numbers of contemporary art collectors are building private museums to display works that they currently store in warehouses. The latest in a long line of these museums is The Salsali Private Museum (SPM) where current exhibition SHOW OFF! features works from Ramin Salsali’s private collection by artists such as Jonathan Messe, Reza Derakshani, Max Sheler, Amir Hossein Zanjani and the specially commissioned A Door to Heaven and Hell from Philip Muller.

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A Ghost Story for the Digital Age | Dark Matters | Whitworth Art Gallery | Manchester

Text by Liz Buckley

It is by the ghostly light of Daniel Rozin’s Snow Mirror that visitors enters Dark Matters at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester. This haunting new exhibition is an amalgamation of digital installations, paintings, film and a variety of other media, all of which have a dark and mysterious undertone. All the works explore themes of shadows, memory, solitude, loss, mystery and magic, as well as how mechanical and scientific developments are increasingly impacting upon visual culture. What could once only be experienced by a paranormal encounter can now be recreated with technology. However, the major pieces within the Dark Matters exhibition still maintain that initial magic and wonder that came with the first optical inventions.

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Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize | National Portrait Gallery | London

Text by Sophie Caldecott

“We never get tired of looking at faces,” says Torben Åndahl, whose black and white photograph, Eike, is featured in this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition. Celebrating the fascination of the human face, the annual award has developed a prestigious international reputation since its inauguration in 2005.

Hedi Slimane’s California Song | The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, opens a new solo exhibition of Hedi Slimane‘s work, on show from this weekend until 22 January 2012. California Song spans the photographer’s California period and traces his explorations of cycles of urban youth culture and artistic communities, through installations of photographic essays, exhibitions, and publications.

Opening Tomorrow | Roman Polanski: Actor & Director | BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts | Brussels

From 10 November to 8 January 2012, the Centre for Fine Arts will host Roman Polanski: Actor & Director curated by the Łódź Museum of Cinematography. Through photographs showing him as an actor and director, and film posters from all over the world, the show retraces the career of one of the great masters of cinema.

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival | 3-6 November | Official Category Winners

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival – the latest addition to the British film festival circuit – threw open its doors last Thursday night. The inaugural event spanned 4 days (3-6 November) and offered both visitors and residents the opportunity to experience film in the historic city of York. With 150 short films screened in 15 diverse locations across the weekend, medieval halls, historic buildings and contemporary art spaces were transformed into one-off, site-specific venues that allowed visitors the chance to see films from the world-over in a unique setting.

Sometimes in Manchester the Brightest Light is from a Match | The Manchester Contemporary | 27-30 October

Text by Abigail Christenson

Here’s a question: is drawing a more egalitarian medium than others? Manchester is a city of draughtsmen and women, and Manchester has always been a place where hierarchies are levelled – or at least where attempts are made to level them. On the other hand, perhaps the city’s interest in drawing has as much to do with the weather, as it has to do with the political and economic climate. In this hazy, grey city the distant outline and silhouette of things is what is most often recognised; call it our first language of depicting. I know this from experience. Here we get to know the outline of things, felt first, and then seen.

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Taryn Simon: A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters | Tate Modern | London

It is no surprise that Tate Modern has extended the run of American artist Taryn Simon’s exhibition A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters until January 2012. This gives us time, and time is one’s ally when engaging with this exhibition where one can happily spend an afternoon probing Simon‘s intriguing investigation into genealogy and its repercussions. The exhibition consists of 18 ‘chapters’ that each documents a bloodline in an ordered, structured form. The chapters consist of 3 framed sections: portraits of family members – like a linear family tree, a supporting annotation, and a series of photographic evidence. The overarching connection between each chapter is the provocative nature of the story they each tell, a story that Simon exploits in the most delicate of ways.

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ASFF Opens – 150 Films. 15 Venues. 4 Days. York, UK

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) opens Thursday 4 November in York. Four days of films, talks, parties, networking and some of the best innovative cinema around. Join us in York for a fantastic weekend of film.

You can get tickets from The Festival Hub, Visit York, 1 Museum Street, York or online www.asff.co.uk

For further information on our talks and master classes

See you in York this weekend!

Remarks on Medan (Tahrir version) Jasmina Metwaly

Crunch: The Art and Music Festival | Hay-on-Wye | 18 – 20 November

The 4th edition of Crunch: the Art and Music Festival at Hay promises to be an extravaganza of contemporary art, talks and debates, new music, comedy and cabaret. Entitled ‘Awake in the Universe’ and looking at what gives art the ability to raise us from our emotional and intellectual slumbers and where is contemporary arts edge currently to be found? Are the elements of the contemporary art world asleep and where should we look for vitality?