Text by Travis Riley
Facing out from the entrance of The Space Between, (the title given to the recent rehang of the Tate’s contemporary collection) kneels a disfigured male, with disarmingly large, erect phallus protruding heavenward from between his legs. The work, NUC CYCLADIC (2010) is one of three pieces on display by Sarah Lucas, each a small sculpture stood atop two breeze blocks, which themselves stand upon an makeshift MDF plinth. The sculpture is made simply from “tights, fluff, and wire”. The beige tights create an evocatively flesh-like surface as they stretch across the contours of their filling. Whilst, only hinting at recognisable bodily shapes, the forms the models imply are explicitly figurative. At the rear of the models the sewn joints in the tights are left on show, just like the human body, we are uncomfortable seeing the parts that would usually be hidden from view. One of the works looks less like a single figure, but instead two nude bodies embroiled in a struggle, undoubtedly erotic.
For the curator of the 7th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Polish-artist Artur Żmijewski, the concept of the Biennale is simple – presenting art that has a transformative impact on society, that opens a space where politics can be performed. Subtitled Forget Fear, the Biennale takes place against a backdrop of hostility; citing the decline of support for culture in Europe (namely the Netherlands, Greece and the UK) and the arrests of Russian feminist punk-rock band Pussy Riot as a driving force. There are key themes of course, ranging from the political effectiveness of art to the way art is employed to construct historical narratives, but there’s something more significant at stake here – a drive to influence political and ideological agendas and goals.
Text by Liz Buckley
George Orwell’s enigmatic novel 1984, first published in 1949, got the world thinking; was this a prophecy, or simply science fiction? First written not so much as a prediction for the future, but as a topical fiction story, Orwell’s prophetic tale has turned out to be chillingly relevant to every generation since its publication. The current exhibition1984 Looks Like This at Salford Museum & Art Gallery centres on the story of 1984, as well as the photography of David Dunnico, who as an artist has occupied himself with issues surrounding surveillance, as well as the unnerving relevance of Orwell’s novel to today’s society. This exhibition offers a collection of work by Dunnico, as well as his impressive collection of copies of 1984 and related ephemera, showcasing not only the changing covers of the book but also its consistent relevancy to our modern culture.
Text by Laura Elizabeth Barone
Chelsea Knight’s current solo-exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum, Currents 106: Chelsea Knight, is a two-part, show, split up into two galleries on opposite sides of the museum, each of which have a distinct – though language based – all-encompassing environment. Knight is clearly fascinated by the power of language, by what is meant and by what is said, and how language enables us to maintain ideas of our own race, class, gender, and identity every day. In one of the galleries is a short film, titled The End of All Resistance (2010), a single-channel, 29 minute video of psychological test and play. Across the hall is Frame (2012) an installation meant to look like a construction site with photographs and an 11 minute film with real construction workers reading and commenting on feminist texts.
Text by Elizabeth Holdsworth
The sky is wide in Wakefield, or at least it appears so. Shouldering this weight of blue, Joan Miró’s bronze sculptures trample the neat lawns of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the glossy black of polished bronze a slick upon amorphous and primal bodies.
Saltburn-by-the-Sea still has a pier, making it a seaside resort in the traditional and best sense. This time last year, the local creative community was preparing for The Exhibitionists , an artists open studios event that celebrated the quality and diversity of the work being made in the area. Following the success of The Exhibitionists, curators Jenny Hall and Becky Mitchell have taken things one step further by launching Saltburn Arts Fair, the first event of its kind to take place in the area. Aesthetica spoke to Jenny and Becky to find out more about the fair, and how artists can get involved.
Over the next two years contemporary art in Northern Ireland will experience developments progressively on par to other successful regions in the UK. In 2013 the prestigious Turner Prize will be hosted by a select venue in the first UK Capital of Culture Derry/Londonderry. In Belfast the much anticipated multi-functional Metropolitan Arts Centre (The MAC) will open to the public this month. Adding to this sense of growth a unique project space entitled Satis House launched its inaugural exhibition last month.
Text by Bethany Rex
Brooklyn-based photographer Jordan Sullivan was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Ohio, Michigan, and Indonesia. He studied at the University of Michigan and University College London before moving to New York City. He previously worked as a construction worker in central Texas, a touring musician in New York City and as an artist assistant to photographers Mike & Doug Starn. Sullivan has exhibited in the United States and Europe, participating in PhotoIreland (Dublin), Flash Forward Festival (Boston) and Photomonth (Krakow).
Text by Bethany Rex
Broken Fingaz are a pioneering, multidisciplinary street art collection from Haifa, Israel. Heralded as the first crew to emerge from their homeland, their widely acclaimed and dynamic work includes graffiti, graphic design, installation and music. Since their beginnings 11 years ago, Broken Fingaz have steadily built a worldwide following, exhibiting on walls and in gallery shows around the work. In 2010 they took their work to Art Beijing, China, and in 2011, their success was elucidated by simultaneous exhibitions opening at Israel’s two most prestigious art institutions, the Tel Aviv Museum and the Haifa Museum of Art.
Text by Asana Greenstreet
People are always wishing, hoping for some sort of transformative experience from art. Gazing at a Gainsborough is all well and good, transporting the viewer back through two centuries of history. But what ought we to do when an artist takes us on a journey that we are uncomfortable with? At Modern Art Oxford, walking up the stairs strangely makes the visitor focus on the time and speed of the journey: on the distance travelled vertically, towards darkness.
Carrying just a single, unobtrusive camera, photographer Piers Rawson spent several days on the streets of Seville during the Semana Santa Easter celebrations.
Rawson was looking for the more intimate, human face and telling details behind the solemn outward formality and religious fervour of the Spanish Holy Week. Behind the showy theatricality and emotional intensity of the famous processions, this is a time for families, for commercial opportunities and for the display of social status.
Text by William Davie
One of the current exhibitions at Ikon Gallery is Sarah Browne‘s exhibition How to Use Fool’s Gold. This exhibition is the first UK solo exhibition by the Dublin-based artist and presents a survey of film and sculptural works, including Browne’s entry for the 2009 Venice Biennale. Using “the economy” as the basis for her artistic practice, Browne investigates and analyses the way in which differing communities from around the globe utilise material items that can be seen in some contexts to be worthless, but in others develop to help define wealth and status.