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Julian Stair: The Matter of Life and Death, York St Mary’s

Showcasing the work of one of the UK’s most acclaimed potters, The Matter of Life and Death is a new installation by Julian Stair, opening at York St Mary’s 10 May. Exploring the rituals surrounding death, and their place in human history, the works have been created in response to ceramics from the collections of York Museums Trust, including pieces over a thousand years of age. The exhibition features more than 30 works, varying from Egyptian canopic jars to Roman head pots, which will provide inspiration for Stair’s own pieces.

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Nikolas Gambaroff: Quality Interiors, Gio Marconi Gallery, Milan

Milan’s Gio Marconi Gallery’s latest offering is Quality Interiors by Nikolas Gambaroff, which runs until 18 May, and sees the New York-based artist’s first solo show at gallery. The show is comprised of new works including a collaboration with designer and Nilufar Gallery owner Nina Yashar, as well as a staple marks from his Gambaroff’s career to date.

Benoît Maire: Le fruit est défendu at the Galerie Cortex Athletico, Paris

The title of the show should be understood as a pun: forbidden fruit, but also fruit that needs defending. It’s a nod towards the recent opening of the gallery itself, the fruit of some labour and enterprise. The publicity poster of the show displays a man absorbed in the art of picking dice off a tree into a basket. As the mysterious fruit of chance, the dice cube symbolises the opposite to the chess piece with its notions of control and calculation. Although it does not appear to the viewer immediately, luck and transgression permeate this exhibition from start to finish.

Rosanne Olson: Rapture, New York

Rosanne Olson opens Rapture at The Robin Rice Gallery, New York 8 May. For her third photography exhibition Olson creates a dream-based series where water becomes a metaphor for the sky. Olson’s use of colour is surreal and mysterious, in most of the images the light refracts off the water and the clouds blend together, developing a watercolour effect. Running until 16 June, Rapture records Olson’s photographic skill and unique artistic eye. 

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Review of Bowie Is, London

When an important, popular figure dies, fans seem to need more than their legacy – more than their work – to remember them by, to cling to them through. Physical mementoes, objects – things which that specific person touched, used, loved – are obsessed over; particles of skin and saliva on a napkin George Harrison used take on strange importance. Voyeurism and celebrity obsession have grown to a point now where people are paying up to $15,000 for a pair of stained underpants worn by Elvis Presley, a rumoured million for a pair of John Lennon’s glasses, and, perhaps most bizarrely, $45,000 for a set of three X-rays of Marilyn Monroe’s chest. However, this strange obsession we seem to have with the physical remnants left in the wake of our popular icons can be traced back a surprisingly long way. Darwin’s beard, for example, Abraham Lincoln’s hair and even Galileo’s finger have survived decomposition and remain, today, preserved behind glass for us all to gawk at.

Premiere of The Last Skeptik’s Be There Video

Exclusive to Aesthetica, The Last Skeptik releases his newest music video for Be There, which is a short horror film. Released on BBE, the song will be available from 6 May on the album Thanks for Trying. Following in a long line of BBE‘s hip-hop honed instrumental classics by the likes of Pete Rock, Madlib and J Dilla, DJ and producer The Last Skeptik takes instrumental hip-hop one hundred steps or so to the left. This video is directed by the upcoming short film director Cara Barry, who brings the image of a haunting fallen angel to life in this harrowing and beautifully shot music video. 

Trade Routes at Hauser & Wirth, London

Trade Routes have connected the major centres of civilisation in Europe and Asia since antiquity. These routes not only made the exchange of goods possible, but also fostered cultural exchanges between distant regions. The group exhibition, Trade Routes‘, on view at Hauser & Wirth in Piccadilly, presents a diverse picture of where these trade routes stand in today’s globalised society through the lens of 15 artists. The exhibition features video installations, sculptures and two-dimensional works by artists based in Africa, China, Europe, India, and the Middle East including Adel Abidin, Fatima Al Qadiri & Khalid al Gharaballi, Alighiero Boetti, Monir Farmanfarmaian, Subodh Gupta, Gülsün Karamustafa, Bharti Kher, Rachid Koraïchi, Lee Xe, Maha Malluh, Bettina Pousttchi, Hassan Sharif, Wael Shawky and David Zink Yi.

Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography

Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography is a city-wide event, featuring exhibitions, screenings, performances and events showcasing outstanding photographic work from around the world, and providing a major new platform for Welsh artists. Hosted by Ffotogallery, the month long celebration (1 – 31 May) of photography includes highlights such as the world premiere of award-winning filmmaker Gideon Koppel’s B O R T H and Lure, a major exhibition of new work by Helen Sear, another of Wales’ most important and insightful artists.

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This is England ’86 and ’88 Marathon Screening, BFI

It is the day before the death of Baroness Thatcher and about five-dozen people (give or take) are being transported, for a solid few hours, back in time to the height of Thatcher’s reign as prime minister. However, during the double back-to-back screening of This is England ’86 and This is England ’88 at the BFI on the 7 April (part of the BFI’s Warp season), her commanding voice only breaks through the audio momentarily, her poised image ordering war flickers between scenes only briefly; Thatcher, her policies, the England she created (or, to some, broke) are all there throughout This Is England ’86 and ’88, yet director Shane Meadows manages to push her overwhelming and all-consuming presence behind the scenes, turning Thatcherism into a mere backdrop: a contextual landscape in front of which a most emotionally-destructive, heart-wrenchingly tragic (yet, at times, invigoratingly comedic), brutal depiction of humanity plays out.

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Paul Pfeiffer: The Drives, London

The Drives is Paul Pfeiffer’s third exhibition at Thomas Dane Gallery and he brings together a large sculpture, two video installations and a series of photographs. Running 26 April until 25 May, these works form an investigation into the emotional drives that prompt human behavior and lie behind our attempts at understanding and organizing the world around us. From the seemingly perfect and ritualistic architecture of mass spectacles, to the creation of animal communities, to the deceptive secrecy of the family cell, the tensions between these two categories arise throughout Pfeiffer’s works.

Every Man and Woman is a Star: Photographs by Martin Parr and Tom Wood at Walker Art Gallery

From young couples kissing on a dingy dance floor to the faded grandeur of a seaside town, an exhibition of work by acclaimed photographers Martin Parr and Tom Wood examines the early influences of both men and finds a compelling beauty in the ordinary. Every Man and Woman is a Star opens at the Walker Art Gallery on 11 May and features more than 20 prints from the gallery’s own collection, including one of the earliest known photographs by Parr in a public collection (New Brighton, 1976).

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Art Monaco this Weekend

Uniting international art under one roof, Art Monaco opens today. Offering more flexibility to their audiences they present a show in   Barranquilla, Columbia simultaneously and launch a digital event online. For their fourth edition, Art Monaco hosts a special four day event in The Grimaldi Forum, one of the most prestigious convention centres in Europe. Adding to the wonderful venue itself, the event exhibits some of the most sought out and distinctive pieces of art, undoubtedly complimented by the beauty and breathtaking scenes that the Principality of Monaco is so well known for.

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Turner Prize Shortlist Announced

The four artists handpicked by Tate Britain shortlisted for the Turner Prize 2013 have been announced this morning. The artists are (in alphabetical order): Laure Prouvost, Tino Sehgal, David Shrigley and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. This year the exhibition will be held at Ebrington in Derry-Londonderry as part of the UK City of Culture 2013 from 23 October until 2 December. The winner will be announced in an awards ceremony on 2 December. 

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James Scott: Every Picture Tells A Story, London

James Scott, son of the celebrated artist William Scott, opens a special screening of his film Every Picture Tells A Story (1984), which explores the early life of Scott. The film is screened as part of the BFI Southbank’s ongoing Projecting the Archive series and this film will be presented on 9 May. An idiosyncratic portrait of his father’s early years, James Scott examines William Scott’s entrance into the art world in this insightful film. William Scott is the subject of a number of centennial exhibitions across the UK this year (including at Tate St Ives, the Jerwood Gallery Hastings, The Hepworth Wakefield and National Museums Belfast).

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Call for Submissions, IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival, Bulgaria

The IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival is looking for submissions. Running 29 June until 6 July in Bulgaria, the final deadline for submissions is 15 May. A celebration of professional short film, entries must not exceed 27 minutes in length, the festival covers a wide range of genres including  fiction, documentary, animation and experimental. Aside from the selection of outstanding films, there will be a programme of training facilities, an industry market and pitching sessions of ideas and rough-cut projects. The festival also encourages an educational and professional environment, where filmmakers of different ages, experience and background can collaborate.

Review of Pick Me Up, London

London’s annual graphic art and illustration festival is back again; this year with with a focus on the inclusive and interactive and bringing in a broader audience than ever. Downstairs are Pick Me Up’s 17 chosen ones: artists whose work is humming with personality and flair, ranging the usual giclee and screenprint staples to more surprising embroidery and installation works.

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Ragnar Kjartansson: Scandinavian Pain at Moderna Museet, Malmö

A newly-built, full-scale barn enveloped by the pink haze of an eleven-metre long neon sign saying “Scandinavian Pain” meets visitors to the Turbine Hall at Moderna Museet Malmö. The work is by the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, and inside the barn he has hung more than 40 works by the Norwegian national icon Edvard Munch. These two artists, melancholia and a pinch of hit music are the basic ingredients of this summer’s major exhibition at Moderna Museet Malmö. 

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The Other Art Fair, London

The Spring edition of The Other Art Fair is here. Running 25 – 28 April, the fair is an artist-led event, designed to give artists the opportunity to curate individual stands from which to directly sell their work to the public. This approach allows creatives, art-lovers and buyers to communicate and forge lasting relationships that serve to benefit the artist and the collector. The fair has quickly gained a reputation as one of the best locations for collectors to find undiscovered talent who are yet to gain gallery representation. Using a selection committee of industry experts, the 100 participating artists are handpicked to showcase the best emerging talent globally.

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Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition Open For One More Week

The Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition at York St Mary’s, York, will be open for one more week, closing on 28 April. The Art Prize is a celebration of excellence in art from across the world and offers artists the opportunity to showcase their work to wider audiences and further their involvement in the international art world. Previous finalists include Julia Vogl, who was shortlisted for New Sensations – Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4′s Prize – and has exhibited at Zabludowicz Collection; Marcus Jansen, a leading modern expressionist who joined a legacy of artists by featuring in Absolut Vodka’s artistic campaigns, and Bernat Millet, also shortlisted for National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. The exhibition includes the two winners, Poppy Whatmore and Damien O’Mara, and the 6 other shortlisted artists, besides the work of the 100 longlisted artists.

Mark Leckey: The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things at Nottingham Contemporary

The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things, curated by Turner prize-winning artist Mark Leckey is the latest of Hayward Touring’s artist-curated exhibitions from Southbank Centre. Opening at Nottingham Contemporary on 27 April, the exhibition includes work by Louise Bourgeois, William Blake, Prunella Clough, Richard Prince, Jim Shaw and Tøyen and explores how our relationships with artworks and common objects alike are being transformed through new information technologies.  It will explore a kind of ‘techno-animism’, where the inanimate comes to life, returning us to ‘an archaic state of being, to aboriginal landscapes of fabulous hybrid creatures, where images are endowed with divine powers, and even rocks and trees have names’

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Alexander James: Intersection, London

Intersection is a culmination of Alexander James’ long-standing fascination with the theme of vanitas (a symbolic work of art associated with still life). Running 25 April until 23 May at The Studio Building, London, the exhibition highlights his mastery of an entirely unique artistic process. Taking objects from nature and handmade props, James puts together underwater sculptural installations in black tanks full of highly purified water, which he then photographs. Relying on the natural interaction between the object, light and lens when plunged into water, his photographs have a painterly effect. With no digital editing or post-production involved, Intersection is an intriguing display of photographic purity including works from his Vanitas, Swarm and Glass.

Mounir Fatmi: History is Not Mine at Paradise Row Gallery, London

Multi-Media artist Mounir Fatmi’s first UK solo show, History is Not Mine, opened at the Paradise Row Gallery on 19 April. Fatmi has become a leading voice of a new generation of young Arab artists, whose work fuses Arabic traditions with stylised Western conceptual art to generate critical dialogue inside and outside the Arts world.

Sean Henry at Glyndebourne Festival 2013

For his newest work, Sean Henry collaborates with a world-famous Opera House and premieres his new collection this summer at Glyndebourne Opera House in Sussex as part of the  2013 Glyndebourne Summer Festival, which opens in May and runs until August. Represented by Osborne Samuel, Henry carefully chose pieces to work in this unique environment, he exhibits a new larger-than-life size figure entitled The Wanderer and a new figurative group, entitled Two Men.

Sound Spill at the Zabludowicz Collection New York

The Zabludowicz Collection has unveiled the list of artists featured in Sound Spill, a group exhibition curated by Thom O’Nions and Richard Sides, a curator and an artist who have been awarded a curatorial research grant to develop the exhibition after a research period in New York City. Sound Spill brings together existing works from the Zabludowicz Collection alongside a series of new commissions and works selected by the curators in the lead up to the exhibition. The curators have selected artists from London and New York, creating a transatlantic, multidisciplinary exhibition.

Spring Photography Selection 2013, London

Collating the work of six artists, Flowers Gallery’s Spring Photography Selection represents work exploring the relationship between the human body and the surrounding physical and emotional landscape. Navigating between the constructed and the observed, the included pieces jump between portraying the lived experience to reenactments of vulnerability through cinematic narratives. The works challenge viewers to consider their own position in relation to the artist and the observed, reflecting on how the human condition is determined its environment.

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Superreal: Alternative Realities in Photography and Video at El Museo del Barrio, New York

Superreal, explores the layered meanings and interpretations of the real as it is represented in photography and video art. Drawing on the presentation of the landscape, the human figure, the world of architecture, various objects and natural phenomena, these images explore alternative realities despite their use of the photographic or video image, traditionally understood as a reflection of actuality.

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Calder After the War, London

Nearly 50 pieces of Alexander Calder’s influential sculptural works are on show at Pace, London from 19 April until 7 June. Also including his painting, Calder After the War is a comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s practice from 1945 to 1949, which is widely considered to be the most important period of the his career. The presentation features more than 25 mobiles, stabiles and standing mobiles on the gallery’s ground floor, while the gallery’s newly renovated first floor presents over 20 of Calder’s rarely seen paintings and gouaches. 

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Mariana Vassileva: Fold & Break, Berlin

On 23 April DNA Berlin opens Fold & Break, a new solo exhibition by Bulgarian artist Mariana Vassileva. Her practice examines numerous elements of life, exploring mobility, urban living, the intense feelings experienced within reality, the difference between the individual and the collective, the connection between people and nature and the questioning of social, political and ethical structures.  Fold & Break is an exhibition  of sharp observations and contemplations, reflecting on the connections between artist and audience.

So Much I Want to Say: From Annemiek to Mother Courage, Goetz Collection at Haus der Kunst

So Much I Want to Say: From Annemiek to Mother Courage is the fifth presentation of works from the Goetz Collection at Haus der Kunst and opens tomorrow. The title is borrowed from an early video work by Mona Hatoum from 1983. It is based on the material of a performance: While Mona Hatoum’s voice repeatedly says, “So Much I Want to Say”, images depict a woman’s face being obscured by men’s hands. Born in Beirut in 1952, Hatoum’s works focus on individuals who are socially marginalised and silenced because of their origin and gender. Works by female artists constitute nearly half of the pieces in Ingvild Goetz’s collection of media art. These works represent and illustrate the key stages of the feminist discourse and feminist film theory since the 1970s. With works by Chantal Akerman, Andrea Bowers, Rineke Dijkstra, Cheryl Donegan, Mona Hatoum, Lucy McKenzie & Paulina Olowska, Tracey Moffatt, Ulrike Ottinger, Ryan Trecartin, Rosemarie Trockel, and T.J. Wilcox.

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Interview with Performance Artist, Ellie Harrison

Artist Ellie Harrison opens her installation, Rage Receptacle, tomorrow in Leeds. Running until 27 April the outdoor project is part of Transform my Leeds and will give participants a chance to let off some steam. The Leeds-based artist constructs a temporary, interactive booth that questions how, when and why we encounter anger in our daily lives. Through a sequence of games, tasks and activities – Harrison invites the public to decide on how best to express frustration. This standalone piece is part four of Harrison’s The Grief Series which examines the 7 stages of mourning. This work is in collaboration with Paula Chambers and Bethany Wells and Harrison speaks to us about her work with grief and the audience. She is also hosting an artists’ talk The Making Of The Rage Receptacle on 19 April at 6pm at West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Interview with Adam Carreé, Lighting Designer for Sadler’s Wells’ New Production Puz/zle

Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s new work, Puz/zle has its UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells on 24 & 25 April. One of Europe’s most exciting and prolific choreographers, Cherkaoui has made more than 20 shows, including zero degrees (2005, with Akram Khan, Antony Gormley and Nitin Sawhney), TeZukA (2011, based on the iconic work of manga artist Osamu Tezuka), and the award-winning Babel (2010) and Sutra (2008). Puz/zle is a Sadler’s Wells co-production with Cherkaoui’s company, Eastman. The work questions the seeming importance of order and linearity, and explores whether there is more than one way of solving a puzzle, telling a tale and simply living. Working closely with past musical collaborators – Corsican polyphonic group A Filetta, Lebanese singer Fadia Tomb El-Hage and Japanese musician Kazunari Abe – Cherkaoui dissects the form of composition and identifies the various themes that can shape a song.

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Niki de Saint Phalle: The Girl, the Monster and the Goddess at Moderna Museet in Stockholm

Niki de Saint Phalle is best known for her colourful, voluptuous goddesses, her shooting paintings and the spectacular exhibition SHE – A Cathedral at the Moderna Museet in 1966. The exhibition Niki de Saint Phalle: The Girl, the Monster and the Goddess reflects her seminal role in art history, while also shedding light on a previously overlooked side to her oeuvre. The life-affirming goddess is juxtaposed with the girl and the monster in the film Daddy, where Niki de Saint Phalle avenges darker aspects of her childhood.

Studio Sittings: Photographing Royal Academicians, Frink and Blake, Leighton House Museum

Leighton House Museum open a new photographic exhibition celebrating some of the most applauded Royal Academicians of recent times, shown in the context of their studios. Including images of Dame Elisabeth Frink, Sir Peter Blake, Antony Gormley and Grayson Perry, Studio Sittings: Photographing Royal Academicians is a collection of contemporary photographs of present day artists shown their Victorian counterparts, drawing fascinating parallels between the nature of the artist’s studio today and in Victorian times.

Exhibition Platform: Unlimited at Art Basel

A unique exhibition platform, Art Basel‘s Unlimited sector will this year feature 79 artworks, the largest number of projects to date. Curated for the second consecutive year by Gianni Jetzer, Director of the Swiss Institute in New York, Unlimited will showcase a strong selection of works, many of museum quality, including pieces by Carl Andre, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Lygia Clark, Michel Majerus and Gina Pane. Emerging talents – including Esther Kläs, Emil Michael Klein, Oscar Murillo and Amalia Pica – will be shown alongside established artists Ai Weiwei, Martin Creed, Thomas Demand, Theaster Gates, Antony Gormley, Susan Hiller, Walid Raad and Thomas Schütte.

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Sharjah Biennial 11 Programme of Music, Performance, and Film Continues into May

Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) continues an extensive programme of music, performances, and film screenings as part of Sharjah Biennial 11 (SB11), Re:emerge – Towards a New Cultural Cartography, which opened 13 March and will continue through 13 May. For SB11, Curator Yuko Hasegawa proposes a new cultural cartography that reconsiders the relationships between the Arab world, Asia, the Far East, through North Africa to Latin America.

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Opening Evening 8, Manchester

AWOL Studios in Manchester host their eighth Open Evening on 17 May from 4pm until 9pm. With 81 studios and workshops, AWOL Studios at Hope Mill is home to over 120 artistic and creative individuals practising a diverse range of disciplines including fine art, jewellery, fashion, photography, sculpture, animation, film making and crafts.

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Mulberry Opens Their First Store in Berlin

British luxury brand Mulberry has opened its first store in Berlin on prestigious street, Kurfürstendamm. This new store continues the brand’s expansion into major European cities and reinforces the brand identity through a dedicated retail space. Mulberry is internationally known for luxury leather craftsmanship. Founded in 1971 in the English countryside, the brand is one of the last British luxury brands to still retain and invest in leather goods manufacturing in the UK, and has built a reputation for balancing creativity and modernity with the traditions of luxury leather craft.

Poppositions Art Fair, Brussels

Launching its second edition, Poppositions returns to Brussels with another unconventional venue, twice as many participants and a jury to elect the best propositions from the selected artists. Running during Art Brussels, 18 – 21 April, the event continues to challenge the concept of an art fair by inviting pop-up galleries to fill a classified building with site-specific pieces. An international list of galleries are involved including, 200 x 75, Abilene, Actionfields, Not Yet, Les Commissaires, Outlandish, Greylight Projects and Rossi Contemporary.

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Paul Robinson: REDACTED at Roberta Moore Contemporary, London

REDACTED, a new series of work by ground-breaking art photographer Paul Robinson will open at Roberta Moore Contemporary on 22 April. Lyrical and dreamlike, Robinson’s work pushes art photography to its limits, combining and layering images in this abstract, painterly series – a product of the artist’s distinctive photographic eye. REDACTED incorporates several integrated works –from metropolises worldwide – creating a mesmerising series evoked by cities all over the world. Finding inspiration in global travels, Robinson exhibits regularly in the UK, the US and Asia. Capturing the ‘moods’ of cities and the spirits of their people – from Paris, London, Rome and Florence to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Bangkok – multiple exposures combine architecture, portraiture, landscape, light and texture on a single image. The culmination is a panorama of lyricism, poetry, mystery and intrigue.

Interview with Sarolta Bán, part of New Wave Photography, London

For the second time, New Wave Photography returns to The Crypt Gallery, London, 19 – 27 April. Organised by United Creativity, a company representing emerging contemporary photographers from Central and Eastern Europe, the event  recognises the evolving talent of new artists from the CEE region. The exhibition will host 12 artists, showcasing fine art photography from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The works on display cover a variety of themes including, Surrealism, minimalist landscape, classical nude photography, gum print, lomography and digital montage. One of the individuals involved will be Sarolta Bán, she speaks to Aesthetica about her manipulation of digital photography and her development from jewelry production.