James Welling: The Mind on Fire at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes

The Mind on Fire is the first solo exhibition in a UK public gallery by the American artist James Welling. Comprising around a hundred and thirty works, the exhibition at MK Gallery will recreate some of the artist’s seminal photographic shows from New York in the early to mid 1980s, charting the development of his abstract language and experimentation with photographic effects.

Mitra Tabrizian: Another Country at The Wapping Project Bankside, London

This September The Wapping Project Bankside showcases British-Iranian photographer and film-maker Mitra Tabrizian’s previously unseen series Another Country. Born in Tehran, Tabrizian’s work explores a range of issues including post-colonial theory, corporate culture in the West and the recent cultural and political shifts in Iranian society.

Xu Zhen: The Last Few Mosquitoes, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver

Shanghai based artist Xu Zhen has emerged as one of the most inventive and provocative artists working in China today. His work is characterized by tackling authoritarian gestures and clichés of human ambition often with a wry sense of humour that counters any notion of value. The Last Few Mosquitoes will be his first solo exhibition in Canada and opens on 14th September at the Contemporary Art Gallery

Works On Paper: Wayne Gonzales at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Stephen Friedman Gallery presents a solo exhibition of works on paper by American painter Wayne Gonzales. This is the first time that the artist’s unique gouaches have been the focus of a show in London and offers unparalleled new insights into Gonzales’ practice. Conceived as finished works, they explore the artist’s trademark language working across the spectrum of the figurative and the abstract.


The Last Days of Nowhereisland, Bristol

Nowhereisland has become an inspirational story for thousands of people across the world. The island has journeyed from the High Arctic region of Svalbard and was discovered by artist Alex Hartley. As the island passed out of the jurisdiction of Norway and into international waters, it was declared the world’s new nation with citizenship open to all.

A nation for just a year, the island and its Embassy conclude its 2,500 mile journey in Bristol for a final weekend of celebrations. Nowhereisland’s visit to Bristol is part of a weekend of talks, performances and artist films to mark the final days of the small nation. In association with Bristol Festival of IdeasThe Last Days of Nowhereisland will explore the project as a sculptural act, utopian dream, direct action and a landscape on the move.


Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition Ends Tomorrow

The 2012 Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition ends tomorrow, submit your poetry and fiction today!

The competition celebrates and champions creative writing, nurturing talent and bringing work to international attention. There are two categories for entry, Poetry and Short Fiction, and a selection of fantastic prizes including £500 in cash and publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology. If you would like to take part in this fantastic event, and share your work with an international audience, visit to enter today!

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition is open for entries until the 31st August this year. For more information and to submit:

Jerwood Makers Open, Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Carmarthen

Jerwood Makers Open 2012 brings together five emerging makers working at the forefront of applied art to the Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthen this September. New works created by Nao Matsunaga, James Rigler, William Shannon, Louis Thompson and Silvia Weidenbach are taking the rare opportunity to lead with their imaginations rather than responding to a set brief. These makers have created ambitious new works in ceramics, design, glass, jewellery and mixed materials and will play with both scale and their chosen materials.

Aesthetica Art Prize Ends Friday

The 2012 Aesthetica Art Prize ends this Friday, get your entries in now!

Aesthetica has consistently supported and championed artists working in all mediums.  Artists may submit their work into any one of the four categories; Photographic & Digital Art, Three Dimensional Design & Sculpture, Painting & Drawing, Video, Installation & Performance.

Stuck for inspiration, here are some examples to help you. This selection was taken from the Aesthetica Creative Works Annual 2012, available to purchase here.

The Painterly Animation of Witold Giersz

Imagine if a painting came to life: brushstrokes rippling across the canvas like muscles and shimmering like the surface of a wind-swept lake, drips of paint resolving themselves into heads and limbs. Audiences at this year’s T-Mobile New Horizons Film Festival in Wrocław, Poland, had the chance to experience this magical impression in a retrospective of veteran animator Witold Giersz. A member of the Polish school of animation, Giersz began his career in the 1950s. Since then, he has made almost 50 films, and received more than 60 awards and honours from international festivals including Cannes and Oberhausen. This year, Giersz is set to complete what he says will be his final film, one based on the Lascaux and Altamira cave paintings. Giersz started work on this film four years ago, well before the release of Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Both directors noticed the dynamic quality of this ancient art form, but Giersz was inspired to actually bring it to life through animation, drawing his own figures with charcoal on real slabs of rock. 

Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair, National Portrait Gallery, London

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death, the National Portrait Gallery will focus on Monroe’s connection to Britain in their new exhibition this September. The display will celebrate her life by showcasing her links with the UK. Portraits of Monroe by British photographers will be shown alongside rare magazine covers, vintage prints, lobby cards and film stills to put the works in context. Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair will open on 29 September and run until 24 March 2013.


Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition: One Week To Go!

Only one week to go to enter the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition. Submit your fiction and poetry now!

Aesthetica is inviting all writers and poets to submit to the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2012. The competition celebrates and champions creative writing, nurturing talent and bringing work to international attention. There are two categories for entry, Poetry and Short Fiction, and a selection of fantastic prizes including £500 in cash and publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology. If you would like to take part in this fantastic event, and share your work with an international audience, visit to enter today! 

A Closer Look At Terra Cognita: Noorderlicht International Photofestival

Last week we showed you a trailer from the up and coming Terra Cognita Photography Exhibition at the Noorderlicht International Photofestival.

Here, is a selection of some of the photography exhibited, taking a closer look into the concerns and focus of the artists.

The 19th and possibly final edition of the Noorderlicht International Photofestival transcends photographic genres to sketch a picture of the relation between man and nature. The result is nothing less than a declaration of love: a challenging, visually breathtaking exhibition that stimulates the mind and moves the heart at the same time. Terra Cognita is a photographic journey in six chapters, with work which spans a range including landscape photography, documentary photography, art photography and computer generated images. The exhibition includes the work of around 100 photographers from The Netherlands and other countries from rising young photographers to established names. For the first time Noorderlicht is moving to an exhibition site outside the city for the festival: the main location is the Museum Belvédère.

Aesthetica Art Prize: One Week Left To Submit Your Entries

Not long to go now…

The 2012 Aesthetica Art Prize is drawing to close, with only one week to go to get your entries in!

Over the past five years, Aesthetica has consistently supported and championed artists working in all mediums.  Artistsmay submit their work into any one of the four categories; Photographic & Digital Art, Three Dimensional Design & Sculpture, Painting & Drawing, Video, Installation & Performance.

Here’s a selection of works from the 2011 Aesthetica Art Prize to give you some final inspiration. This selection was taken from the Aesthetica Creative Works Annual 2012, available to purchase here.


Nothing Like Something Happens Anywhere, Chapter, Cardiff

Incoporating the works by artists: Francis Alys, Stan Denniston, Andy Holden, Ben Rivers, Ugo Rondinon, Maaike Schoorel and George Shaw, Nothing Like Something Happens Anywhere takes its title from a line in Philip Larkin’s I Remember I Remember, exploring the meaningfulness of events in our lives, as opposed to the unadorned fact of living.

Investigating the nearly imperceptible evolutions in everyday existence or the ‘slow history’ that lies beneath the surface of culture, the works delve beneath the rapid succession of events on a human scale, to find the slower currents typical of the history of people, relating to their environment, relationships and the structures that shape societies. The history described by Fernand Braudel as an ‘anonymous history, working in the depths and most often in silence’.


Sacrilege by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller

Stonehenge goes on tour – Sacrilege by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller comes to Whitstable Biennale as part of 2012 celebrations

With London 2012 Paralympic Games starting next week, Sacrilege, the life-sized inflatable replica of Stonehenge, starts 5th September as part of a tour that will see it travel to over 30 locations across the UK.


Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective, Guggenheim Museum, New York

The inverted cupcake, the washing machine, the hot-cross bun…these are just three nicknames that the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum acquired in the years that followed its unveiling. Yet New York Times writer John Canaday’s quip is perhaps the most memorable for its biting cynicism – “The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a war between architecture and painting in which both come out badly maimed”. Fifty-three years on controversy still dogs Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic design with many still contesting that the architecture of the building ultimately overwhelms the art contained within. With this in mind it was an astute decision to showcase the Dutch born artist Rineke Dijkstra’s mid-career survey in the annex galleries of the museum as opposed to the domineering rotunda space. Although this decision has resulted in an awkward fracturing of the exhibition over four floors the more intimate setting of the annex galleries is particularly well-suited to Dijkstra’s oeuvre which is quiet, intimate, and restrained.


The Rootless Forest, Birmingham

The Rootless Forest (2012) a mobile sculpture comprising of a mini-forest made of real trees and soil planted onto a converted canal hopper, will travel the canals of Birmingham and the Black Country from August to October, with associated events at Edible Eastside, Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Ikon Gallery and New Art Gallery Walsall. When fully constructed, The Rootless Forest will weigh 15 tonnes, with 100 trees up to 3 metres tall planted along its 16 metre length.

The Art of Chess, Saatchi Gallery & RS&A, London

The game of Chess is believed to have originated in India in the 7th century and no other game in history has been so widely reflected in art and literature. Chess remains an intriguing and complex subject for contemporary artists. The Art of Chess brings together 16 chess sets designed by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists who have chosen to create outstanding works of art, each infused with their individual style, in celebration of the ‘game of kings’ and its continued relevance to the creative arts.

Up and Coming Exhibition at The Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis

With Americans’ attention directed this autumn toward the Presidential election, The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) brings together three internationally celebrated artists: Leslie Hewitt, Rosa Barba and Jonathan Horowitz to evoke the various ways that ‘the political’ manifests itself in contemporary art. Opening on the 7th September, Leslie Hewitt: Sudden Glare of the Sun and Rosa Barba: Desert — Performed, will present significant solo exhibitions,as well as transform CAM’s lobby into an interactive space to experience the Presidential election process with Jonathan Horowitz’s Your Land/My Land: Election ’12


Ayuko Sugiura at The WW Gallery, London

The WW Gallery presents Second Skin, a solo show of works by Ayuko Sugiura. Working with sculpture and installation, Sugiura presents the viewer with a series of new skins, whether these are patterns projected onto a surface, layers of silicone, or tokens of identity; these illusory and visceral second skins present the viewer with an opportunity to question the invisible and intrinsic components of our cultural identity.

Examining the instinctual nature of religion in contemporary culture, Sugiura uses arches, crucifixes and icons as the basic structure for many of her sculptures. These references, estranged from their context, become difficult to identify.


Sarah Lucas: Ordinary Things at Henry Moore Institute, Leeds

The definition of sculpture is currently being put into question here at the Henry Moore Institute. The artist-interrogator is Sarah Lucas. She turns to the sculptural rather than the sensational. The art-historical idea of sculpture is the platform on which Lucas builds, intimating the canon of sculpture. We are given to understand that, here, Arte Povera is referenced, third century Italian votives, the dolls of Oskar Kokoscha and Hans Bellmer, the statuary of Bernini, Hepworth’s and Moore’s use of natural materials, as well as surrealist figuration. It is clear that she places herself in this canon, and from within it she causes it to refer to itself. Materially, Ordinary Things from the mundane are collected and manipulated. In this exhibition we are invited to consider the ways in which Lucas uses the figure and the cast. The experience is somewhat provocative and challenging, employing an aesthetic that results in a reflective unfolding of assumptions. It is an extensive assembly of work, numbering thirty-one individual pieces.

Noorderlicht International Photofestival, Netherlands

The 19th and possibly final edition of the Noorderlicht International Photofestival transcends photographic genres to sketch a picture of the relation between man and nature. The result is nothing less than a declaration of love: a challenging, visually breathtaking exhibition that stimulates the mind and moves the heart at the same time. Terra Cognita is a photographic journey in six chapters, with work which spans a range including landscape photography, documentary photography, art photography and computer generated images. The exhibition includes the work of around 100 photographers from The Netherlands and other countries from rising young photographers to established names. For the first time Noorderlicht is moving to an exhibition site outside the city for the festival: the main location is the Museum Belvédère


Sculpture Is Everything: Contemporary Works from the Collection at GOMA, Queensland.

Showcasing the Gallery’s Collection and featuring a group of major new acquisitions, Sculpture Is Everything explores the extraordinarily diverse and surprising field of contemporary sculpture. Sculpture is everything — from found objects to kinetic structures, from monuments to installation and land art, from pop assemblages to ritual objects. Form, material and three-dimensional space have been considered to define the medium of sculpture; the exhibition points to how these sculptural concerns are played out in film, photography, painting and performance.


Project 98: Slavs and Tatars at MoMA, New York.

Slavs and Tatars is a collective whose installations, lectures, publications, and multiples focus on relationships between Western cultures and the Eastern world.


North Atlantic Pavilion at Liverpool Biennial: Interview with artist Sigurdur Gudjónsson

The inaugural North Atlantic Pavilion brings together artists from Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands as part of City States at this yearʼs Liverpool Biennial. It features new works from artists Sigurdur Gudjónsson (Iceland), Hanni Bjartalíd (Faroe Islands) and Jessie Kleemann (Greenland). The exhibition showcases installations, performance and moving image works by artists from countries in the North Atlantic. Their work challenges and dissects the tensions that exist in embracing a strong national and regional identity – focusing especially on work that questions the received notions and surface appearances of what ʻhospitalityʼ means.

Aesthetica spoke to one of the exhibiting artists: Sigurdur Gudjónsson about his new video work, Prelude.


Contemporary Art Gains A New Outdoor Exhibition Space, Istanbul

Project 4L/Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art has opened of the new outdoor Terrace Exhibition area of 1500 squared meters that will be displaying 23 art works selected from the portfolios of young applicants. The artworks consist of installations, sculptures made with different materials. A new platform that will provide recognition of the selected artists in the international art scene.


Artist Rooms: Jannis Kounellis at Tramway, Glasgow.

Eighteen black wool coats hang from meat hooks mounted on iron panels. Dozens of multi-patterned, colourful rugs lie on the concrete floor. Five brown canvas sacks suspended by hemp ropes and filled with wooden furniture hover over our heads. Underneath, black wool coats lie in rows, numb on the floor, clothing 31 2 metre long l-beams. A heap of coal leans against iron panels. Seven church bells lie on iron panels on the ground and three bells suspended with ropes from three wooden beams within a steel l-beam frame echo the lull of impending death. Seven burlap sacks containing coffee beans, lentils, rice, dried peas, corn and red and white beans seem to be the only work that underlines a sense of hope. The brick walls of Tramway’s ground floor gallery on Glasgow’s Albert Drive surround these works of prodigious importance. In other words, they surround the works of Jannis Kounellis.

Outside Chapter, Interactive Art from Venice to Hamburg

After the big success of the exhibition made by a group of artists from Hamburg, held at the A Plus A Slovenian Exhibition Centre in Venice in June, it is now time for five Italian multimedia artists to fly to Germany and open the Outside Chapter exhibition at the Elektrohaus in Hamburg on 7th September.

The exhibition is the second half of new curatorial project born as an art exchange between the Art Academy of Hamburg (HFBK) and A plus A Slovenian Exhibition Centre that will promote young talented artists from Venice within a project that aims to build up a strong collaboration between the two artistic scenes of Venice and Hamburg.


One of the Forgotten at Frameless Gallery, London.

Curated by Mary George One of the Forgotten is a mixed media group exhibition. The show reflects on the consequences of human nature on man and his environment. In an attempt to investigate the subject, the exhibition features the work of nine young artists Ronin Cho, Meryl Donoghue, David George, Melissa Henderson, Rae Hicks, Kai Kim, Hannah Luxton, Sophie Percival and Spencer Rowell. Painting, video, photography and sculptures are put together to explore the theme through different mediums. Each artists analyses human nature, if not the action, the consequence and impact it has on himself, his relationships and his environment.


FreshFaced + WildEyed 2012 at The Photographers’ Gallery – Finalists Announced.

FreshFaced+WildEyed 2012 is The Photographers’ Gallery’s annual exhibition which showcases the quality and breadth of graduates’ practices from photographic courses across the UK. The exhibition aims to draw attention to innovative new talents from a range of photographic fields and will be accompanied by an online image gallery.

Twenty-two photographers had been selected from an open submission of hundreds of applicants. They were chosen by a judging panel of photography experts: Bridget Coaker, night picture editor for The Guardian and Observer and co-founder of Troika Editions; Anthony Luvera, artist; Karen Newman, Curator, Open Eye and Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery. The finalists have all graduated in the past year from BA and MA visual arts courses across the UK with photography forming the main component of their practice.


The Matter of Presence: dOCUMENTA (13) at Kassel

A grand high-ceilinged room, empty except for one vitrine, a light breeze wafting through, courtesy of Ryan Gander (I Need Some Meaning I Can Memorise (The Invisible Pull), 2012). Inside, a letter to Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the artistic director of dOCUMENTA (13) scrawled across five pages of A4 in a scratchy script, pleasing to the eye but difficult to read. The opening of the letter reads: “Dear Carolyn, I do write to you in remorse, because I feel you may think I betrayed your trust and confidence in me…” The letter was written by Kai Althoff, an artist billed to participate in the event. Later in the message she pleads to be pulled from the show, citing “[her] great doubt of how to continue with [herself].” The letter’s inclusion then, an act of curation on the part of Christov-Bakargiev, seems to find a middle-ground, compliant in requiring no more of Althoff, but nonetheless a definite contribution by the artist. The text of the letter is an emotional outburst, a voicing of an artist too lost in the protocol of exhibiting to have anything real to show.  The room seems suddenly mournful, but perhaps this atmosphere is provided by another work.

Benedict Andrews’ New Production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters

From 8th September to 13th October, the Young Vic presents Benedict Andrews’ new production of Chekhov’s masterpiece of disaster, deception, self-sacrifice and heartbreak Three Sisters. In a remote Russian town, Olga, Masha and Irina yearn for the adrenaline rush of life in Moscow – but their plans go nowhere, and each new twist of fate sees the sisters’ control over their destinies slip away. Watch the dramatic new trailer for this much-awaited production, designed by the renowned Johannes Schütz and supported by the Goethe-Institut London, here.


The Possibility of an Island at Grand Union, Birmingham.

Grand Union is an artist run project space in the metallic confides of Digbeth, Birmingham. The current exhibition, The Possibility of an Island, focuses on the question of what an ‘island’ is, and how said ‘island’ interacts with its environment through video, sculpture and drawing. It conjures up, even before entering the space, a unique physical tension. As the title appears to be negotiating the possibility of an island existing, one is immediately deemed to analyse what an island is. An island is something that is removed from a larger body of land, thus it tends to mould and warp the influence it has gained from other landmasses to its own isolated fixation. In doing so is it saying that this is what the work is going to be – a collection of art works crushed together in grotesque and distorted manner thick with conflict and invasiveness?


One One One at Annex East, London

In the shadow of Anish Kapoor’s Olympic tower the sun retreats stealthily into the horizon casting an impenetrable orange haze across. It is in the middle of this that Annex East’s current exhibition One One One is housed. Under the watchful eyes of the continuously circling helicopters stalking the dusk sky and the increased police presence amongst the brutalist architecture of Stratford one could be mistaken in to thinking this a scene from 1984.

One One One is an exhibition produced in collaboration with five leading contemporary galleries in London. Each gallery has submitted a piece of art from one artist: Millington & Marriott Gallery, Neil Rumming,  ANDOR Gallery, Julian King, COLE Gallery, Oliver Michaels, Hannah Barry Gallery, James Balmforth and Limoncello Gallery, Yonatan Vinitsky.


Formations: New Practices in Australian Architecture exhibiting at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale

The Australian Institute of Architects will open their Formations: New Practices in Australian Architecture this August at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennial.

As new economic, social and cultural challenges present themselves, the exhibition at the Australian Pavilion will act as a catalyst for discussion and debate around the changing role of architects and the ways in which they influence the world around them.

NPG x76983; James Loy MacMillan by Barry Marsden

Facing the Music: 20th-Century Portraits of British Composers at the Barber Institute of Fine Art, Birmingham.

Set deep in the heart of the University of Birmingham campus is the Barber Institute of Fine Art. It’s a rather solemn looking building that feels impeccably out of taste with the rest of the campus, it does however therefore harbour its own intriguing personality. The ground floor of the building is reserved for the concert hall. On the second floor are the gallery spaces, consisting of permanently displayed works as well as smaller individual exhibitions, and it is here that the Barber Institute’s latest exhibition Facing The Music is located.


Fashion! A Selection of Photographs from the Camera Work Collection at Unseen, Amsterdam.

This group exhibition Fashion! A Selection of Photographs from the Camera Work Collection will present a survey of nine decades of fashion photography. Featuring work by Richard Avedon, Horst P. Horst, Steven Klein, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Paolo Roversi and Edward Steichen, this selection was compiled from the collection of Camera Work, one of the world’s largest collections of photographic works and books.


Tony Cragg at Exhibition Road, London

Tony Cragg at Exhibition Road is a major exhibition of new outdoor sculptures created by one of the most influential British sculptors Tony Cragg for the London 2012 Festival.

Works will go on display by Tony Cragg from 25 August and this will be the first exhibition of sculpture along the newly pedestrianised section of Exhibition Road. Five major new outdoor sculptures will take over Exhibition Road and six indoor works go on display at the V&A, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. Ranging up to 5.5m in scale, the works will demonstrate Cragg’s pioneering and ambitious sculptural techniques across a range of materials including bronze, stone, cast iron, steel and wood.


London Is The Place For Me, Tricycle Theatre, London

A free festival, celebrating 50 years of independence for Trinidad & Tobago from 12th until 26th August.

To celebrate 50 years of political independence for Trinidad and Tobago, award-winning literature producer and curator Melanie Abrahams and musician/composer Dominique Le Gendre have teamed up to bring a free festival of classical and contemporary music, theatre, literature, spoken word, participation, dance, carnival and food over two weeks, that explores Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural fusion and connections to England.


Gray Malin: A la Plage, A la Piscine.

Shooting from doorless helicopters, this series by Guy Malin has been photographed around the world from the U.S. to Brazil to Australia. Inspired to take aerial shots from the balcony of a hotel in Las Vegas, Malin immediately become intrigued by the spectacle the different perspective he achieved from above. A few months later, Malin was at Art Basel Miami Beach and realised he should be shooting from the sky, not the hotel balcony. It was then that A la Plage, A la Piscine was born.