Interview with Samantha Donnelly on her new exhibition Reception at Standpoint Gallery, London

Samantha Donnelly is known for her experimental assemblage and collage works, which combine awkward and beautiful, often overtly feminised materials and images into telling combinations. Donnelly uses high colour and shiny textured surfaces: make-up, false nails and other feminine detritus amongst more robust applications of fabric, plaster, wood, sheet plastics and holographic papers. Donnelly comments on the territory of marketed, consumed and performed femininity. She also carefully attends to the evocations her work produces across the whole gallery space; individual works form lyrical pools of colour interspersing mass with line, the baroque and the modern, refinement with excess.In her new work Reception at Standpoint Gallery, Donnelly turns her gaze to corporate reception spaces, sites of welcome and of social / economic filtering. She reimagines the interconnected spaces at Standpoint as a series of ‘welcome areas’.

Aesthetica spoke to Samantha about her new exhibition, Reception.

Yael Bartana: And Europe Will Be Stunned, Ikon, Birmingham

With the 20th century came bloodshed and genocide on a scale so vast and industrial even now it barely seems fathomable. The Nazi’s final solution stands out as the most heart wrenching. Now, the Ikon Gallery sees Yael Bartana’s And Europe Will Be Stunned, a trilogy of films based loosely on history, but strongly fabricated, to examine the darkest years of Bartana’s own religious persuasion, Judaism. Bartana’s nationality is also somewhat examined as Bartana is of Israeli decent. Along with the trilogy being screened is a segregated room of smaller supporting mixed media works that catch the echoes, as the sounds from the films collide throughout the gallery. The trilogy bestows a beautifully grotesque window in to coercion and anti-Semitism and trudges the murky waters where the politics of Zionism lay.

Miguel Gomes, Winner of the Alfred Bauer award and FIPRESCI prize at Berlin, presents Tabu

Winner of the Alfred Bauer award and FIPRESCI prize at Berlin, Tabu (2012, dir. Miguel Gomes) is a strange and intriguing film. It begins in Lisbon where Aurora, an elderly woman on her deathbed, wants to locate a man from her past. Her neighbour Pilar finds the man, Mr. Ventura, who tells the tale of his illicit liaison with Aurora in 1950s Africa, in the shadow of a mountain called “Tabu”. The film’s themes of old age and doomed love, as well as its sensitive black-and-white aesthetic, lead you to expect a work of self-conscious artistry, but Tabu is a film which doesn’t take itself too seriously. Small moments of ironic or absurd comedy lurk beneath its surface like the caiman Aurora keeps as a pet during her colonial days.

Interview with the British Pavilion’s Venice Takeway exhibition, Venice Architecture Biennale

This year’s 13th Venice Architecture Biennale provided the backdrop to the British Pavilion’s Venice Takeaway exhibition, which began in April this year when ten architecture teams went to ten countries to gather ideas to change British architecture. interviewed the ten teams, including Aberrant Architecture and Smout Allen, to hear about their findings and their proposals for the future of architecture.


Interview with films4peace Artist: Janet Biggs

The 21st of September is World Peace Day, a day of ceasefire across the globe and the chance for artists and organisations to demonstrate acts of peace. The films4peace collaboration is a selection of films curated by Mark Coetzee and features some of the most innovative artists interpreting the subject of peace through film.

Aesthetica spoke to Janet Biggs, a contemporary artist who has had solo exhibitions at the Musée d‘art contemporain de Montréal (Montréal, Canada), the Tampa Museum of Art (Tampa, USA) in 2011, and The Mint Museum (Charlotte, USA) in 2010, about her film4peace.


Interview with Artistic Director of SACRED: Francis Alexander, Chelsea Theatre, London

SACRED, Chelsea Theatre’s exploration of live art and contemporary performance launches in October for an exciting new season. SACRED will run throughout the year, the first season beginning in October and running until February 2013, the second taking place from March to July. As well as a brand new format, a SACRED event will take place at Battersea Arts Centre this autumn adding another dimension to the programme.

Aesthetica spoke to Artistic Director Francis Alexander about SACRED and his excitement over the project.

Kiki Smith: Behold at Timothy Taylor Gallery, London

Internationally acclaimed artist Kiki Smith, exhibits her first UK solo show since 2006 at Timothy Taylor Gallery this October and will feature sculpture, bronze wall reliefs, stained glass, porcelain figures and tapestry.

To Hope, To Tremble, To Live: Modern and Contemporary Works from the David Roberts Collection, Wakefield

David Roberts’ private collection of contemporary work is about to go on display at The Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield. From the 27th October until the 3rd February To Hope, To Tremble, To Live will be exhibited for the first time in a gallery outside of London.

Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival, Bristol

The 18th Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival takes place this September, at Bristol’s harbourside and across the city centre. The Festival’s stunning line-up for this year includes new visual art and animation exhibitions, pioneering 3D Soviet Russian work, a Finnish cross-dressing zombie band in a circus tent & much more.

The Nour Festival of Contemporary Middle Eastern and North African Arts and Culture, London

The Nour Festival will be celebrating contemporary arts and culture from across the Middle East and North Africa, starting on the 1st of October and running until the 1st of December. It will be a borough-wide event based in Kensington and Chelsea and will take place at venues including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre and the Mosaic Rooms.

Homecoming, Boo Ritson, Oklahoma City

Homecoming, an exhibition from London based artist Boo Ritson, will be opening on Tuesday the 10th October at the City Arts Center, Eleanor Kirkpatrick Gallery, Oklahoma City and will run until the 21st December. The new exhibition, seeks to express Boo Ritson’s life-long fascination with American culture, stereotypes and landscapes.


Nathan Coley: A Place Beyond Belief at Haunch of Venison, London

Nathan Coley, Turner prize nominee in 2007, is exhibiting in the plush, society spaces of The Haunch of Venison’s New Bond Street premises. Though the walls are white, the high ceiling, polished wooden floor, and extravagant marble stairs speak of the luxurious Mayfair surroundings.