ACNI carriemckee  Orlaigh 2011

Contemporary Art in Northern Ireland | Parliament Buildings | Stormont

Text by Angela Darby

Below the gilded King Edward VII chandeliers and between the Italian travertine engraved marble walkway the exhibition Contemporary Art in Northern Ireland is situated in The Great Hall of Parliament Buildings at Stormont. The exhibition’s curator Dr Suzanne Lyle, Head of Arts and Acquisitions at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, states: “The invitation from the Speaker to bring this exhibition to Parliament Buildings is an important opportunity to champion our artists… business leaders will cite the strength of a society’s arts and culture as a key factor influencing any decision to invest…” Staging the exhibition in Stormont is a positive step to improving public access and additionally the political decision makers who allocate cultural funds can view firsthand the quality of the works on display. The 24 selected artists are drawn from emerging and established artists. Miguel Martin (b.1985), a talented young artist pays homage to an established artist with an intricate, detailed line drawing entitled Neil Shawcross’s Studio Space whilst internationally recognised artist Colin Darke (b.1957) raises questions concerning intellectual copyright and appropriation in his painting Mannish Boy V – Policeman. This breadth of practice is well represented throughout the exhibition.

Mette Winckelmann | We Have A Body | Den Frie Centre for Contemporary Art | Copenhagen

Text by Bethany Rex

We Have A Body is a comprehensive solo exhibition by Mette Winckelmann. Winckelmann initiates a dialogue with Den Frie Centre for Contemporary Art’s architecture and history as well as J.F. Willumsen’s thoughts behind the exhibition space’s layout and colour combinations. We spoke to Mette before the exhibition opening to find out more:


United Enemies: The Problem of Sculpture in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s | Henry Moore Institute | Leeds

Text by Daniel Potts

United Enemies brings with it the spirit of Arte Inglese Oggi (English Art Today) – a 1976 British Council show in Milan featuring the work of many of the artists included – but concentrates on the complex nature of British sculpture in the 1960s and 1970s. Arte Inglese Oggi was organised into strict categories: Sculpture, Painting, Performance Art, Artist’s Film and Alternative Practices. United Enemies retrospectively allows us to carefully consider sculpture in relation to these other practices. The ambition is to impart how the concerns of sculpture at this time were relevant to contemporary artistic change and thinking, and thus formed the basis for the New British Sculpture of the 1980s, and what followed. This exhibition is divided into three sections – Manual Thinking, Standing and Groundwork.


The Best Features from Aesthetica 2011 – In Pictures

This year the arts have been subject to a double squeeze – big falls in business contributions to the arts (making the renewal of BP’s sponsorship deal with Tate even more contentious) coupled with the much documented cuts to funding from the public sector, despite this visitor numbers at galleries have remained stable, highlighting that there is still much to celebrate. Three new public galleries have opened to great success: the Hepworth in Wakefield, the Turner Contemporary in Margate, and Firstsite in Colchester, whilst White Cube opened a third space in October. Perhaps in relation to the Turner Prize at Baltic, Nicholas Serota noted an increase in appetite for contemporary art across the country, which should come as no surprise given the quality of exhibitions coming out of galleries at the moment. At Aesthetica, we have spent 2011 doing what we do best, but better. In November, we launched our film festival, ASFF to great success and to top it all off, we extended the current issue of the magazine to include over 100 pages of visual content.

Dislocated Flesh

Dislocated Flesh | Julien Ottavi & Jenny Pickett | Tenderpixel Gallery | London

Text by Bethany Rex

Dislocated Flesh features the work of Julien Ottavi and Jenny Pickett. This new body of work stems from their long term collaboration exploring perception, memory and architecture. Considering physical and virtual space they are intrigued how these phenomenons influence the body, particularly in a post-human construction of society. Aesthetica spoke to Julien and Jenny about their collaborative practice:

Stretching the Physical Limitations of Art | Mark Handforth: Rolling Stop | MOCA | North Miami

Text by Heike Wollenweber

Mark Handforth’s (b. 1969) Rolling Stop opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, for Art Basel Miami Beach. Curated by MOCA Executive Director Bonnie Clearwater, the exhibit of 25 works marks a major milestone for Handforth, MOCA and the Miami art landscape, as the Miami based sculptor rarely actually shows his work in Miami. The exhibition stretches the physical boundaries of Art Basel by showing in North Miami as opposed to Miami Beach, relating back nicely to Handforth’s stretching of the physical limitations and space of art in his practice.


Aesthetica Wish List 2011

The Aesthetica Wish List 2011 offers interesting and creative options for your ‘To Buy’ list.

Michelle Oh ‘Twig Solitaire Ring’

Michelle Oh is an Indonesian designer and maker based in London. She trained in Jewellery Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and makes the most exquisite pieces. Her work is inspired by the commonplace and the everyday; the relationships we forge with others as well as our own environments. The whole collection is beautiful but we are particularly hoping to find the Twig Solitaire Ring under the tree. Cast from a real twig, this piece highlights Michelle’s interest in organic sources and challenging concepts of luxury.

The Language of Television| Dara Birnbaum | South London Gallery

Text by Paul Hardman

The main room of the South London Gallery is entirely taken up by Birnbaum’s latest piece, Arabesque (2011). Before even entering the room, the gently ebbing and flowing piano of Robert Schumann’s composition Arabesque Opus 18 reaches out to draw one into the space. Long benches face four screens, the furthest into the room shows video footage of a female pianist playing the music, the rest of the screens alternate between showing others playing the same piece (apparently various amateurs found on YouTube), text pages from a book, and black and white stills from an old film depicting a young woman and an older man conversing in a living room. Subtitles occasionally appear, perhaps from the book, perhaps from the film. A visitor will sit, observe the screens, listen to the soothing piano, and contemplate the text and images while considering the meaning the artist has constructed through this combination of elements. All quite pleasant, but this experience could hardly be in greater contrast to viewing the early film work from Birnbaum’s career on display in the upstairs gallery.

Paloma Varga Weisz | Spirits of my Flesh | Chapter Gallery | Cardiff

Text by Luke Healey

Taking its place in Chapter’s 2011 roll call directly after Resident (30/10/11 – 06/11/11), WITH Collective’s über-conceptual Autumn show, Paloma Varga Weisz’s solo outing at the Cardiff gallery is a difficult one to approach. The former exhibition had seen the café extended into the gallery space, but with the latter the habitual reverent hush has returned. Now, nine ceramic objects and one somewhat anomalous watercolour sit (or perch) in vast pools of white space, each one looking heavy, mute and sullen. In a text accompanying the artist’s 2007 show at Vienna’s Kunsthalle, Angela Stief wrote of Varga Weisz’s work, that “it requires the classical, pre-modern conditions of observation and feeling, of contemplation of the opening up of the works of art and an atmosphere of stillness”. Her advice is appropriate, and there seem to be few alternatives in confronting this artist’s output. But what are we to expect from opening ourselves up in this way?

A Peep Through The Looking Glass | Alice in Wonderland | Tate Liverpool

Text by Liz Buckley

Since their original publication in 1865, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass have had an unprecedented influence on the visual arts. Charles Dodgson, working under the pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, created a kind of dream world that can be appreciated by both children and adults alike. Exploring themes of the uncanny, unexpected, irrational, absurd and fantastical, the story of Alice is one that we all know and love. Tate Liverpool’s current show, Alice in Wonderland, offers visitors everything from original manuscripts, sketches, photographs and memorabilia, to both traditional and contemporary painting, sculpture, and video responses to the Alice adventures. The pieces on show in this exhibit explore various ideas such as the temporary nature of time, the precariousness of childhood, the impact of the written word upon visual culture and issues of identity. As a collective, these works highlight the more sophisticated themes which, even as children’s books, the Alice stories still present.

BOYCE Turner Prize Installation view 2011 (1)

Things Which Come Together & Then Fall Apart | Martin Boyce Wins The Turner Prize 2011

Text by Colin Herd

When Mario Testino announced Glasgow-based Martin Boyce as the winner of this year’s Turner Prize at the Baltic last Monday night, he accepted the award with modesty to the point of bashfulness: “Uh, well,” he said, “I didn’t expect that”, before going on to dedicate his prize to the importance of teachers and education. His reaction reflects a quiet generosity (as well as a sense of modest unexpected surprise) that is ever present in his art practice, which Tate-director Nicholas Serota has praised for the way it explores “things which come together and then fall apart”.

Perry, Mad Kids (2)

40:40 – Forty Objects For Forty Years | Craft Council Online Exhibition Launches Today

The Craft Council celebrates 40 years of the Crafts Council Collection with a major online exhibition 40:40 – forty objects for forty years that launches today. It’s an innovative concept, with forty objects from the Collection, selected by makers, writers and curators, presented with a personal response from their selector alongside a range of archive material including exhibition catalogue texts, films, audio clips, sketches, press articles, loan correspondence and installation instructions. Essentially, by installing the exhibition online, the viewer is encourages to do all those things you promote yourself you’re going to do after you’ve seen a gallery exhibition – read a bit more about the artist, their work, what people are saying about them, and critical responses to the work.

Two New Collections From Aesthetica | Artists and Writers

At Aesthetica we encourage creativity and innovation, fostering artists and writers through the Aesthetica Creative Works Competition. This year’s competition saw a fantastic response from across the world and the calibre of work presented to Aesthetica was superb.

We’ve compiled the finalists and winners from the competition into two excellent collections: the Aesthetica Creative Works Annual and the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual.

Christophe Von Hohenberg | The Day The Factory Died | Coldharbour London Gallery

This December Coldharbour London Gallery will be exhibiting The Day The Factory Died, a collection of never-before published photos by acclaimed fashion photographer Christophe Von Hohenberg, of Pop artist Andy Warhol’s memorial service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1987. Curated by Aretha Campbell, the exhibition will bring together letters from the memorial, photographs, as well as works by Warhol himself. Published in conjunction with the exhibition, is a bible-like 176 page book featuring a calvacade of celebrities from the world’s of Hollywood, Fashion, Pop Music, International Society and Art.

Photography Vs. Photography: Lara Jade & Joey L

Text by Bethany Rex

Each issue of Aesthetica features works by some of today’s rising stars in photographic practice from around the world. This year’s August/September issue featured the work of Lara Jade, a fashion, portraiture and commercial photographer who has worked with brands such as Sony and magazines such as Elle. Originally from the UK, Lara has relocated to New York City where she has collaborated with commercial photographer Joey L for LJ vs JL Photographer Shoot-Off, a photographic educational DVD which was released on 1 December. Lara took some time out of her busy schedule to speak to Aesthetica about the project and her current work.

In The Presence | Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2011 | ICA | London

Text by Sophie Caldecott

The Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition has long presented art lovers with an annual snapshot of emerging talent from the next generation of artists in the UK. The first exhibition was held in 1949, and despite having evolved from featuring the work of young graduates to profiling more broadly the work of emerging artists at the beginning of their careers, it has remained close to its original concept: to present a cross section of the new talent on the artistic scene. The success of its endeavour is highlighted by previous exhibitions which have included such illustrious names as Eduardo Paolozzi (1958), David Hockney (1960), Patrick Caulfield (1961), Helen Chadwick (1977) , Anish Kapoor (1977), Antony Gormley (1978), Grayson Perry (1980), Mark Wallinger (1981), Peter Doig (1982), and Damien Hirst (1989).

TCF nails

Don’t Miss This | Sarah Baker | Le Fan Fan | CARTER Presents | London

Text by Bethany Rex

In her explorations of representation and social status, Sarah Baker often disseminates her artwork unconventionally to heigten the tension between fabrication and authenticity. Over the past decade Baker has assembled obscure subjects, characters and personalities that form an unlikely amalgamation which she has showcased, interviewed, appropriated, and obsessed over. Her subjects are often lionized and made to look as if they stepped out of a glossy fashion magazine, resulting in unstable positioning within a fantasy landscape of the extraordinary.Baker’s latest project Le Fan Fan at CARTER presents focuses on her obsession with a Chinese legendary ladies-fan who fights enemies with a folding hand fan. Inspired by a 1980s Chinese Soap Opera, Baker has assembled a cast and crew to reinterpret Wuxia legend, Chu Liuxiang. As in her previous endeavours, Baker makes it a point to actively involved collaborated into the making of Le Fan Fan. We spoke with Sarah about the exhibition and her plans for the future.

BLACK Turner Prize Installation View 2011 (2)-1

Who should win the Turner Prize 2011?

The Turner Prize will be awarded at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art later this evening, during a live broadcast on Channel 4 between 8:00 – 8:30pm, to an artist under fifty, born, living or working in Britain, for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation in the twelve months before 4 April 2011.

An exhibition of work by the shortlisted artists is currently on show at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead until 8 January 2012. The following images are a selection from the exhibition and, away from the noise of the fervent criticism and the energetic debate and countless column inches, they are something to behold.

Artistic Responses to the Icelandic Ash Cloud 2010 | Under That Cloud | Manchester Art Gallery

Text by Liz Buckley

The Icelandic ash cloud of 2010 brought many parts of the world to a halt, and showed international societies just how fragile our technological networks really are. Despite unbelievably advanced machinery and the ease of travel in our modern world, nature usually always wins. For those stranded in foreign destinations across the globe, the easy option may have been to panic, and spend what was essentially an extended holiday just trying to find a way home. The new exhibition Under That Cloud at Manchester Art Gallery showcases work from 18 international artists, all of which were stranded in Mexico City during the air travel standstill. Fascinatingly, they have all chosen jewellery as a way to manifest their responses to the crisis, as well as their experiences of Mexico and its culture.

Aesthetica December/January Issue Out Today

This issue offers a diverse range of features starting with The Way We Live Now, which is on at the Design Museum and explores Sir Terence Conran’s impact on contemporary life in Britain. Sharon Lockhart: Lunch Break runs at SFMOMA and reflects on the position of the individual in the framework of industrial labour.

Anselm Kiefer opens Shevirat Ha-Kelim: The Breaking of the Vessels at Tel Aviv Museum of Art to inaugurate their new building. Zarina Bhimji’s retrospective of 30 years and the premiere of her new film Yellow Patch open at Whitechapel. There’s a visual survey of this year’s winner and shortlisted photographers for the National Portrait Gallery’s photography prize, and we look back at this year’s cover artists with an overview of their works, as well as introduce two new series of works.

In film, highly acclaimed and award-winning director, Pablo Giorgelli, talks about his subtle and beautiful new film, Las Acacias. There is also a round-up of ASFF 2011. In music, we examine the niche genre of musical comedy and chat with American four-piece Wild Flag about their new album. In performance, we look at Danser Sa Vie at Pompidou Centre, which examines the place dance holds in art history.

Finally, Christoph Benjamin Schulz discusses Alice in Wonderland, Tate Liverpool’s latest show.

Pick up a copy from one of our stockists or order online.

Share Aesthetica with your friends and family this Christmas. With six issues over 12 months, Aesthetica keeps you up-to-date on the very best in contemporary art and culture all year round! Covering the latest exhibitions, events, performances and reviews, Aesthetica offers a comprehensive overview of the international art world. Each issue is liberally accompanied by a selection of stunning images and makes for a beautiful Christmas gift.

Image One: Still from Sharon Lockhart: Lunch Break (c) the artist
Image Two: Zarina Bhimji, Your Sadness is Drunk 2001-2006 Ilfochrome Ciba Classic Print 127 x 160 cm Courtesy the artist.
Image Three: Nicolas Floc Performance painting 2005 Interprete Rachid Ouramdane Reims Frac Champagne Ardennes Adagp Paris 2011

ASFF 2011 | Q&A with Maria de Gier | Winner of the Best Music Video Category

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) was a dynamic, four-day international event that took place in the City of York from the 3 – 6 November. After screening 150 films in 15 venues across 4 days, and after hours of deliberation, the judges announced the category winners on Sunday night at our Awards Ceremony. Amongst the winners was Maria de Gier, whose music video for Amatorski, Soldier won the Best Music Video category. We caught up with Maria post-festival to talk about the video, and her future plans.