Review of Haroon Mirza, The Hepworth Wakefield

Renowned for his multi-media works, Haroon Mirza has taken over the adjacent Galleries 1 and 10 at The Hepworth Wakefield. He brings together and assembles works constructed of sound, image and objects. In 2010, he was winner of the Northern Art Prize and the Silver Lion Award at the 54th Venice Biennale for such assemblages. In the rooms the viewer finds a new body of previously unseen work. It addresses the conventional and cultural rules of gallery space. This is executed with no hint of irony in a way that is refreshing. Contextually, the work refers to the modern and ancient past. It refers to art employed as part of a religious ritual or ceremony where sound was also a fundamental component. However, it does so in general form only, with contemporary innovation in the content. The very body and contained space of The Hepworth, along with its immediate environment, is echoed, reflected and translated in and between the works exhibited.


Review of Sixto Rodriguez at the Hammersmith Apollo, London

The 66th British Academy Film Awards ceremony on February 10, 2013 announced Searching for Sugar Man as the Best Documentary of the Year. It is a touching and highly-emotional documentary directed by Malik Bendjelloul about the search for the man famed for his song Sugar Man. Sixto Rodriguez, now 70, is the personification of a kind, hard-working, politically aware, brilliant song writer. He only produced two albums (Cold Fact (1970) and Coming from Reality (1971)) but his personality conquered the hearts of South Africans during the socially and politically difficult apartheid years, Cold Fact in particular. The album became a political and social testimony of the people; it vocalised their struggles and burdens in a way no other album of the time did.


Venice Biennale Report: Icelandic Pavillion

Situated away from the main exhibition space of the Giardini and Arsenale, the Icelandic pavilion sits in the tranquil gardens of Palazzo Zenobio along a quiet canal-front street at the Venice Biennale. The installation, entitled Foundation is placed in the Palazzo’s old Lavanderia, or laundry, a seemingly unusual space for a country that one would assume would be exhibiting in the Giardini with its Nordic neighbours. The rapid expansion of the biennale forced Iceland’s pavilion out into the heart of Venice in 2007, and this theme is touched upon in the work. The artist, Katrín Sigurdardóttir, has created a sculptural piece that plays with the idea of scale. The Baroque tile design reaches out past the confines of the Lavanderia building much like the biennale itself stretching past the limits of the Giardini.


René Burri, International Centre of Photography, Verona

Below the sleepy streets of Verona, amongst a network of archaeological ruins, sits the International Centre of Photography, Verona. It is here where a breath taking transcendental retrospective of René Burri is revealed. The lesser portrayed side of Burri’s work is harder to pin down in terms of theme or aesthetics. Yet one quality that is apparent is the depiction of a relationship either physically or through the framing of subjects in the picture.


Khaled Jarrar: Whole in the Wall, Ayyam Gallery, London

Whole in the Wall is the first UK solo exhibition by Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar. Running from 20 June until 3 August at Ayyam Gallery London, the showcase of work includes a new site-specific participatory installation. Taking everyday events and experiences as his starting point, Jarrar’s practice incorporates performance, video, photography and sculpture to document his observations on life in an occupied Palestine. The restrictions imposed on him and his fellow citizens have become the catalyst and subject of his occasionally satirical artistic output.


Interview with Royal College of Art Graduate: Jonny Briggs

Jonny Briggs graduated from the Royal College of Art several years ago and has since gone on to feature in numerous solo and group exhibitions. An artist in search of his lost childhood, Briggs speaks to Aesthetica about the influence the RCA had on him and his perception of his artistic practice. This year the RCA graduate show runs 20 – 30 June across six different venues. 


Venice Biennale Report: Danish Pavilion

The Danish pavilion at the Venice Biennale stands as a rather desolate figure among the well-tended buildings surrounding it. The apparent entrance is a door that stands permanently shut and unattended, while the moss-covered “classical” sculptures that flank the edifice suggest years of neglect. The true entrance is at the end of a concealed passageway and having faced such adversity merely to enter the building, the audience are left wondering what we will encounter inside.


Paper Weight Genre-defining Magazines 2000 to Now, Munich

Paper Weight Genre-defining Magazines 2000 to Now takes a refreshing look at independent publishing in the 21st century. Opening today and running until 27 October at Haus der Kunst, Munich, the exhibition is curated by Felix Burrichter, the editor and creative director of New York-based PIN-UP magazine. Consequently, the works on display expose an insider’s perspective on the independent publishing world, while also exploring the larger cultural significance of these niche magazines’ editorial and design perspectives.


Review of the Katie Paterson exhibition at Kettle’s Yard Gallery & St Peter’s Church, Cambridge

Once a contention, now a proverb, “…endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved”, Darwin’s epochal observation at the close of The Origin of Species (1859) might aptly describe Katie Paterson’s theme and agenda in her latest exhibition, at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. In appointing Man’s place on Earth as her subject, Paterson explores not simply our adaptation to the natural world, but also related issues of social space, our functioning therein, and how evolution conveys as much an aesthetic as a developmental narrative. The centrepiece, Fossil Necklace, charts the unfolding of life over 3.5 billion years.


Venice Report: Love Me Love Me Not,

The title of the exhibition Love Me Love Me Not instantly calls to mind the childhood game of the same name and, much like the stripping of the flower’s petals offers a glimpse at the structure underneath the works offer an insight into the rich and varied cultures of the countries represented. Running at the Venice Biennale until November, the showcase collates the work of 17 artists.


Review of Ute Lemper, London

Ute Lemper is a world-renowned and charismatic German chanteuse who never seems to age (physically or spiritually). As part of the London Literature Festival Ute Lemper Sings Pablo Neruda organised by the Southbank Centre was a fantastic concert not only dedicated to the memory of Pablo Neruda, one of the masters of Chilean poetry, but also to the memory of everything that music and poetry seems to have lost in the transition to the fast paced, ruthless, popular entertainment industry.


RA Schools Show 2013

The RA Schools Show, the annual exhibition of works by final year students, will open on 19 June at the iconic Royal Academy Schools. Held in the historic studio spaces of the Schools, situated in Burlington Gardens the exhibition invites students to show works developed over a three-year period of study, providing visitors with a rare opportunity to view and buy exceptional pieces from an aspiring generation of international artists. The RA Schools support a broad range of contemporary art practice, and visitors can expect to see work that includes painting, sculpture, performance, video and digital media.