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Robert Irwin, Pace Gallery, London

Robert Irwin’s new work is currently on show at Pace Gallery, London, for the first time. Running until 17 August, the exhibition documents Irwin’s involvement in the Light and Space movement during the 1960s in Southern California. Leading the movement, the artist began to use ideas from philosophical inquiries into the nature of human experience and radical advances in perceptual psychology and unite them with the immersive abstraction that been demonstrated by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman. The concluding art was an innovative approach that replaced object with phenomenon. Uninterested in traditional restrictive forms of art, Irwin was the first to make objects and installations that were purely designed to manipulate the light in front of or around the viewer.

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Interview with Ilua Hauck da Silva, longlisted artist for Aesthetica Art Prize 2012

Brazilian artist Ilua Hauck da Silva works in a wide variety of media to create subversive and thought-provoking art. Influenced by a strong sense of the relationship between decadence and beauty, her work explores dark aspects of the human condition and explores the notion of vanity in modern life. With an academic background in art history as a Goldsmiths graduate, Ilua’s work evokes themes reminiscent of Greek mythology and biblical texts. Here the Aesthetica Art Prize 2012 longlisted artist discusses inspirations for her work, the importance of competitions for artists and her experience of being included in last year’s Prize and exhibition.

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Mortality: Death and the Imagination, Manchester

Reflecting upon death, Mortality: Death and the Imagination exhibits works by Ian Breakwell, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Douglas Gordon, Julian Opie Cornelia Parker, Bob and Roberta Smith and Sam Taylor Wood.  Opening on 8 July and running until 16 August at the Holden Gallery, Manchester, the presentation avoids dealing with the subject simply with metaphors and focuses upon the ways in which death appears (or is obscured) through the midst of life. The diverse responses to the theme documents the development of perceptions and attitudes, as well as the ways in which death and dying are often kept at a convenient distance. The way societies deal with death is symptomatic of cultural and political attitudes.

Review of exhibition: Roger Ballen / Ryan Mendoza / Paul P at Massimo Minini, Brescia

Continuing to celebrate their 40th year, galleria Massimo Minini presents a three person show with photographer Rodger Ballen and painters Ryan Mendoza and Paul P. Accompanying such a unique love triangle is a humbling poetic press release, designed as a letter to Massimo Minini’s 6 month old grandson Tommaso. Building up the exhibition like the setting of an opening scene in a book, the distinct background and subject matters of each artist is quixotically married in sanctuary.

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Winning Poem Water by Sylvia Adams, the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2012

Sylvia Adams is author of a novel, a poetry collection, an award-winning chapbook and a children’s book. As a writing instructor, book reviewer and former poetry columnist for The Ottowa Citizen, her contributions to the literary world have been great and far-reaching. Sylvia’s poem Water was the winning entry of the Poetry category in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2012, which features in the Creative Writing Annual 2013 and can be read here. This year’s Creative Writing Competition is now open for entries, providing both aspiring and established writers the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider, international audience. Deadline for entries is 31 August 2013.

5 to See this Weekend

With the temperature across the UK set to soar, we take a step back – or rather in – to exhibitions that provide an alternative to watching Wimbledon and the inevitable barbeques. Combined, these shows represent the variety of individuals understood by the term “artist” – including not only 20th century greats but those along the spectrum ranging from the unrecognised to the excluded.

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Interview with House of Peroni Artist, Ludovica Gioscia

Born in Rome and living in London, visual artist Ludovica Gioscia has produced a new piece, Liquid Sky Fits Heaven for the House of Peroni. The unique installation pieces that the artist exhibits in the first room at 41 Portland Place embodies decades’ worth of wallpaper peeling away – standing as an illustration for the need to strip back the many layers of society to uncover the meaning beneath culture. Employing consumer-orientated printed matter, her brand new Giant Decollage serves as a striking contrast to the sleek and modern Italian design on display and tips a nod to the maximalist aesthetic the Italians are also celebrated for pioneering. Gioscia speaks to Aesthetica about her work for the House of Peroni and her approach to artistic production.

Review of Points of Departure, ICA, London

An exhibition which takes Palestine as its focus will raise certain expectations, but this group show dashes all of them. Points of Departure looks at the earth and soul of Palestine, rather than solely at the protracted conflict surrounding it, making this one of those rare occasions when art truly serves vital human interests.

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Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition Prizes: Win publication within the Creative Writing Annual

Inside the Creative Writing Annual 2013 you will find short fiction and poetry to stimulate, intrigue and inspire you long after reading. The writers included in this collection are the winners and finalists from the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2012. Covering a broad range of themes, this anthology invites you to explore the different facets of contemporary life, resonating on many levels.

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Stranger, Flowers Gallery, London

Illuminating the relevance of self-portraiture, Stranger at Flowers Gallery examines the practice’s aesthetic value through each individual’s varied approach to self-representation. Each work illustrates an intimate conversation between the artist and the canvas, an exploration into self-perception through painting and drawing. Including a range of artists, those featured are Noah Becker, Tony Bevan, Aleah Chapin, David Hepher, Nicola Hicks and many more. 

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Project Space: Word. Sound. Power. at Tate Modern, London

Tate Modern opens a new group exhibition in its Project Space about the relationship between language and power on 12 July. Word. Sound. Power. is the result of a curatorial collaboration between Tate Modern in London and Khoj International Artists’ Association in New Delhi, who will take the exhibition in early 2014. Opening in London on 12 July, the show brings together eight emerging and established international artists, including new and specially commissioned works.

Meschac Gaba: Museum of Contemporary African Art 1997 – 2002, London

Meschac Gaba opens Museum of Contemporary African Art 1997–2002 at Tate Modern this week. Fusing art and everyday life, the immersive installation takes over 12 rooms. The exhibition is set to question and transform the perceptions of African art and its position within museum spaces. Visitors can both view and interact with the selection of objects and environments presented in an exhibition that took five years to construct. Running until 22 September, this is the first time the exhibition is shown in its entirety in the UK.

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Interview with Marcus Jansen, longlisted artist for Aesthetica Art Prize

A contemporary American painter, Marcus Jansen’s work redefines urban landscape painting, blending action painting and objective subject matter. Major themes in Jansen’s work include reflection and commentary on global political and social concerns and a resistance to transforming world order. Since the beginning of his artistic career in the 1990s, his subject has varied, but its core, regarding our current direction, has remained consistent. Most works are often issue-charged environments, employing symbolic imagery that works in harmony to engage our innate concern for humanity’s well-being. Jansen does not claim to be a political painter, however his work continues to address conditions in the world in which we inhabit. With the Aesthetica Art Prize 2013 open for entries until 31 August, we speak to 2011 and 2012 longlisted artist Marcus Jansen about his work, his inspirations and his motivation for entering the Aesthetica Art Prize multiple times.