With the holiday season on its way, there’s plenty of time to squeeze in a few of the best exhibitions taking place around the world. From Mike Nelson’s contemplative installation on British and Canadian culture at Tramway, Glasgow, to an insightful and inspiring showcase of photojournalism in the analogue-age at C/O Berlin, we take a look at a selection of new and ongoing shows that experiment with a range of disciplines including painting, installation and photography. Read on to see our favourite picks for the last weekend before Christmas.
Hauser & Wirth’s north gallery on Savile Row is a space that has been transformed in many possible ways, but this time the micro environment created for Pipilotti Rist’s show emerged as an unexpected -nevertheless pleasant- surprise. The entire gallery has been blacked out, carpeted and split into two sectors. At the reception area, where three smaller scale “introductory” video installations puts the audience in the mood for what is ahead, visitors are prompted to take their shoes off and proceed to the main section through a heavy denim curtain. There, white cosy duvets are scattered around the floor and everyone is free to use them as they please and relax while watching the video installation projected on the two large walls of the gallery.
On 7 February the Hammer Museum presents the first museum survey of LA-based conceptual artist Charles Gaines’ early work. The exhibition, entitled Gridwork 1974-1989, will feature 11 different series of over 80 works and relevant ephemera from the early years of Gaines’ four decade career. A leading practitioner of conceptual art and an influential educator at the California State University, Fresno, Gaines is recognised for his outstanding work in photography and drawing, as well as his use of paper to investigate themes of systems, cognition, and language.
India’s premier modern and contemporary art fair returns to New Delhi for its 7th edition. Supported by YES Bank, India Art Fair is one of the most important platforms for facilitating creative dialogue and promoting art trade in the region. The 2015 fair, commencing on the 29 January, sees 85 galleries exhibiting across 90 booths, each stand showcasing a breath of modern and contemporary art practices including painting, sculpture, new media, installation and performance art. The upcoming fair promises to offer a curatorial focus on international diversity.
2014 has been a great year for contemporary art exhibitions. The huge range of practices on display demonstrates the variety of artistic approaches being developed across the world. From Guy Bourdin to Barbara Kruger, Martin Creed to Annette Messager, all of the artists listed here demonstrate both skill and thought. We take a look at the top 10 exhibitions from 2014, considering why these shows were so important.
Known for her sculptures Scallop (2003) and In Conversation with Oscar Wilde (1998), Maggi Hambling has established herself as one of Britain’s most significant and controversial painters and sculptors. In her latest exhibition Wall of Water, Hambling returns to the National Gallery to celebrate her work in painting, with a vivacious presentation of contemporary seascapes inspired by the gigantic crashing waves the artist experienced at Southwold, Suffolk, in 2010. Running concurrently with the more conventional work of Norwegian artist Peder Balke (1804-1887), the Wall of Water series bursts with a painterly restlessness, and features exuberantly coloured canvases alongside a group of abrupt, stark monotypes. Aesthetica speaks to Hambling about her ongoing motivations as a painter and sculptor working in Britain.
In the midst of a white snowscape, Joël Tettamanti (b. 1977) finds moments of captivating colour. While travelling across Greenland, he discovered objects and buildings which had managed to escape the thick layers of snow engulfing the region. The primary coloured houses associated with the Northern Hemisphere stand out against the washed-out streets, and even the most mundane objects become almost mystical half-disguised in the frosty weather. Tettamanti’s beautiful photographs are currently showcased in Issue 62 of Aesthetica. We speak to Tettamanti about his approach to his work.
Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas’ sculptures appear haphazard, disjointed and improvisational – and they are. Inspired by his parental home in Ajusco, a district in the south of Mexico City, he calls the sculptures autoconstruccións (or “self-construction”), as he sees them arising out of the environment that surrounds them. His parents, like many of their neighbours, built their house themselves, creating an improvisatory domestic edifice contingent on the availability of materials and the environment in which it was situated.
Oil on canvas painter Margaretha Gubernale creates mystical worlds with the source of her inspiration being nature and philosophy. She has worked for nearly 30 years as an international artist and her work has been exhibited widely including Suisse Arte, Basel, Switzerland, AGORA Gallery, New York, and Museo Civico, Palermo, Italy. It has been said that her world is “consumed with the romantic and the mystical, imbued with vivacious colors and wrought with emotion” According to the artist herself, Gubernale explained that she “pursues four elements [in all of her paintings]; the intellect as air, fire as self-confidence and will, water as feeling, and earth as material execution.”
The second instalment of Lacey Contemporary’s launch of its gallery artists showcases the work of three young British painters. Reality Departure explores painting’s ability to capture the world as it is mediated by the human mind, in this case by the minds of three aesthetically different but spiritually similar artists.
There is more to Allen Jones than those tables. As if to acknowledge this fact, the curators of this retrospective have placed two of them right at the beginning of the exhibition. Once the shock and awe is over, the show unfolds to reveal the unfailing ingenuity of a British Pop artist who turns out to be both a brilliant painter and an incisive critic of modernity.
With Christmas just around the corner, its time to weave some creativity into the busy festive schedule. In our 5 To See This Weekend we select the best in contemporary art from London to Sydney, Paris to New York. In Australia, MCA‘s expansive Chuck Close retrospective pays special attention to the American portrait painter’s lesser-known work as a printmaker and photographer, whilst Marian Goodman opened a new Juan Muñoz exhibition this week, celebrating the artist’s key works in sculpture. There’s also still time to catch Hayward Gallery‘s exploration of London’s digital age in Mirrorcity. Read on to find out more.
The Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year launches its competition for 2015. The search for the next top UK museum or gallery begins this week, after director of the Art Fund and chair of the judging panel, Stephen Deuchar, revealed the international jury line-up of artist Michael Landy; design critic Alice Rawsthorn; Fiammetta Rocco, arts editor of The Economist , and Axel Rüger, director of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum. This year’s arts institutions will be competing for recognition as one of the UK’s most outstanding venues, through the demonstration of their bold artistic vision and engaging visitors’ programme.
Marie Lund’s new exhibition at Laura Bartlett, her second solo show at the gallery, feels like the most considered and erudite articulation of themes in the artist’s work that have been gaining momentum for a few years now. Work featured at Art Basel this year, as well as in Mexico, Florence and at Frieze, provides the departure point for the sculptures and picture pieces here, which combine to form a particularly cohesive showing.
The first instalment of gap in the air festival took place in November with a mesmerising in-situ sound and video piece by noise DJ, artist and researcher Joe Banks. Working under the guise of Disinformation since 1995, Banks has pioneered the use of electromagnetic (radio) noise from sources such as mains electricity, lightning, laboratory equipment, and even the sun, to generate malleable sonic material. For The Analysis of Beauty at the Talbot Rice’s Georgian Gallery, Banks found inspiration in William Hogarth’s famous thesis on serpentine lines and his belief that S-shaped lines were active, lively and stimulating, and therefore beautiful.
Established by fine-art photographer Anouska Beckwith in 2012, World Wide Women is an all-female international collective of photographers and artists which seeks to represent the free spirit of women in the contemporary art world. The group of 34 female artists defines itself as a sisterhood, united in effecting change through art; their shared vision stands as a feminist one, promoting equality, restoring balance and encouraging female empowerment through entirely positive action.
The Hiscox Collection comprises approximately 600 works on display across the company’s offices in the UK, Europe and USA. One of the latest acquisitions was 541 días, a photographic series of five portraits by Chilean artist Inés Molina Navea, who was one of the finalists in the Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition 2014. In these digital portraits Molina Navea superimposes details taken from photographs of up to five different faces to create images of people who have never existed. We talk to Whitney Hintz, independent adviser and Curator of the Hiscox Collection, previously Associate Director at Frith Street Gallery, about the Collection and how she uses art to enhance the working environment.
Film London has announced Ursula Mayer as winner of the 2014 Jarman Award. The Austrian-born filmmaker was selected from a shortlist of 10 visionary and boundary-crossing visual artists working in the UK. An annual celebration of experimentation, imagination and inspiration, the award recognises artist filmmakers whose creative practice defies conventional classification or definition. As winner of the seventh Jarman Award, Mayer joins the ranks of previous prize recipients Luke Fowler, Lindsay Seers, Emily Wardill, Anya Kirschner & David Panos, James Richards and John Smith.
Review of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Catwalk to Sidewalk, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
In recent years, the National Gallery of Victoria has been criticised for shying away from traditional “art exhibitions” and instead playing fodder to the masses with its interest in so-called “blockbuster” fashion and photography shows. Given that the gallery is one of Australia’s major national galleries, many have been suspicious of the programme list for the NGV for the last few years. The new Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition may be yet another (unhappy) instance of the Gallery entertaining mainstream crossovers into the world of star politics and celebrity culture.
There are few musicians who can parallel the aesthetic and imaginative influence of David Bowie – master of storytelling, fantasy and re-invention – over the past five decades. Ranging from androgynous alien Ziggy Stardust to the Japanese motifs of the schizophrenic Aladdin Sane, from the monochromatic classicism of the Thin White Duke to the dystopian metropolis of the Diamond Dogs, the characters and constructions of Bowie’s imagination have transcended the traditional boundaries of rock and pop music.
Ronchini Gallery’s latest exhibition Home is artist Adeline de Monseignat’s second solo show. Curated by Samia Calbayrac, it offers as its focal point an installation piece constructed from the awnings of the artists’ family home. In conjunction with this architectural centre-piece, de Monseignat incorporates sculptural, drawn and mixed media pieces, all of which explore “the nostalgia of childhood memories.” The work is physically linked to the artist’s childhood in its construction from the very same awnings she grew up with and which she uses to demarcate the exact dimensions of her childhood bedroom within the gallery space. De Monseignat skillfully draws the audience in with her playful approach, inviting her audience to accommodate themselves within her “bedroom,” which seemingly acts as a synecdoche for her juvenile years.
The end of November saw canvas and canapés meet at the opening night of Diversity: Malaysia Arts. Organised by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), the evening was a cavalcade of speeches, ceremony and gift-giving intended to showcase the country’s up-and-coming artists. Opening proceedings was Tony Devenish, Councillor to Knightsbridge and Belgravia and who, to the great surprise of many attendees, recounted with fondness his years spent in Kuala Lumpur (or ‘KL’, as he familiarly called it); laughter exploded from the audience as Devenish name-dropped the Proton car he once drove about the city.
The Photographers’ Gallery announces Nikolai Bakharev, Zanele Muholi, Viviane Sassen and Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse as the four shortlisted artists for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2015. The annual prize, established by the gallery in 1996, aims to recognise and reward the exhibited work or publication of a living photographer of any nationality, who has significantly contributed to photography in Europe over the past 12 months. This year’s selection showcases a diversity of photographic approaches, which include video, object and text based works and encompass social documentary, portraiture and contemporary art photography.
The use of physical theatre by DV8 honours the company’s name. Deviating from any traditional performative categories, it sits between finely tuned body language, as in theatre, and the body as language, as in dance. The company’s method is well suited to John, whose script retells verbatim an interview with the show’s eponymous hero, a drug addict and general malcontent. Entwined with movement, the anti-drama of the script begins to sing. Yet the reins are never fully loosed to the physical by director-cum-choreographer Lloyd Newson, whose guiding principle, it seems, is control. That this remains apparent despite the show’s use of a revolving stage is testament to the firmness of his creative grip.
Latitude Platform for Brazilian Art Galleries Abroad brings an energetic programme to Art Basel Miami Beach. Over the next few days, the Latitude programme will support 15 Brazilian galleries in showcasing leading contemporary art at Art Basel’s 13th Miami Beach edition. As a premier international destination for Latin American galleries, Latitude’s creative platform also invites nine additional Brazilian galleries to display work at three satellite art fairs across the region: Context, Untitled Art Fair and Pinta Miami.
Art Basel Miami Beach brings together contemporary works for its extensive art fair from over 250 participating galleries worldwide. Running from 4-7 December, the exhibition is inclusive of photography, paintings, sculptures, multimedia and many other mediums. The annual event attracts tens of thousands of visitors, and each year, it grows. Everyone from admirers to collectors will attend. We feature five of the galleries and some of the artists represented this year.
Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery takes the audience behind the scenes of a London institution and into the heart of a museum inhabited by masterpieces of Western art from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. National Gallery is the portrait of a place, its way of working and relations with the world, its staff and public, and its paintings. In a perpetual and dizzying game of mirrors, film watches painting watches film.
Derek Jarman is one of Britain’s most important and ground-breaking artists of the late 20th century. The Jarman Award is inspired by his practice and celebrates some of the most innovative filmmaking in the UK today. The 10 shortlisted practitioners all demonstrate a spirit of experimentation, imagination and inspiration. This year the films have toured across the country and arrive at Whitechapel Gallery, London, this weekend for the announcement of the winner on Monday 8 December. The winner will not only receive a £10,000 cash prize, they will also win a broadcast commission — to produce a series of film artworks for Channel 4. Find out more about each of the shortlisted artists.
The December/ January issue of Aesthetica is now available to purchase online and in stores internationally. In Issue 62, Aesthetica focuses on the idea of the unconventional. It’s a celebration of practitioners who are experimenting in their field by working in interdisciplinary ways and introducing concepts from other areas of art and design into their work.
With the start of advent it is time to write those Christmas lists and get shopping. We’ve curated a selection of goodies for a variety of tastes from independent businesses, high-end fashion houses and cultural institutions. From candles to trainers, books to skirts, we’ve got it covered. Read on to find out more about each of our top products.
Issue 62 of Aesthetica is out in shops now. One of the most thrilling discoveries is someone who is breaking new ground and embodying the word “innovation.” It’s important to look at both established and emerging artists that are the driving force behind this type of progress. At Aesthetica, we are interested in people who are experimenting while stepping outside of the everyday. We want to engage with works that challenge us and change perspective.
From an early age Stephen J.E. Davies was fascinated by aeroplanes and flight, especially when studying the Airfix artworks by Roy Cross and the paintings of Michael Turner, as well as many comic book illustrations. Inspired by these artists, he began to create work ranging from World War II German Panzer’s and aircraft to RAF Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters. As an artist, he aims to inspire the viewer to marvel at the close detail of each work, from complete subjects to close ups alike, and find enjoyment from discovering something new each time they view the work.
At the 2001 Tate Turner Prize, Yorkshire-born artist Martin Creed (b. 1968) presented Work No. 227: The lights going on and off. Consisting of an empty room, the work existed as, quite literally, the lights in the room going on and off every five seconds, cyclically submerging the room in darkness only to be lit up again. The work prompted outrage from both critics and visitors, a problem revisited again in 2013 when the Tate announced that it had purchased the work for its permanent collection. The upset is undeserved, and this winter, Creed has the chance to answer the critics with his first ever retrospective, which opens at the Hayward Gallery. The exhibition, curated by Cliff Lauson, is described as “genre-defying” and includes works from the past 25 years. Although, Creed has been the focus of several recent solo exhibitions (Museum De Paviljoens, Almere, 2013; Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, 2012) this will be the first major survey of his work, and it is a long time coming.
Humans have shared a complicated and necessary history with animals. Loved or abused, these relationships vary greatly depending on our view towards each particular species. There are times where the importance of animals in the lives of humans is misunderstood or forgotten, and so circumstances have risen where certain animals are treated with apathy, neglect and mistreatment. A recent group exhibition, Elephant in the Room is currently on display at Brenda May Gallery. This selection of work highlights the importance of animals in the lives of humans. Elephant in the Room is not only a conceptual display of art that sheds light on unspoken realities; it also serves a purpose of giving back to the animal community as a portion of sales goes directly to the Animal Welfare League NSW. This generous charity assists with the care of surrendered, neglected and abandoned animals.
Laura Buckley expertly combines moving image, kinetics, sound, light, sculpture and digital print, to recontextualise the everyday. She uses scanned imagery to create projected videos that are combined with footage from her life. The resulting pieces create an immersive and highly abstract environment. Buckley is shortlisted for the Jarman Award, an annual prize inspired by one of Britain’s most innovative, esteemed and controversial artists of the late 20th century, Derek Jarman. Aesthetica speaks to Buckley about her admiration for Derek Jarman and her approach to art.
Shezad Dawood’s Towards the Possible Film brings together new film, textile painting and neon work, alongside his selected works from the collection to inspire a meeting point between modernism and mysticism, mapping out enquiries into histories of place and the significance of landscape and culture. Meanwhile, Elín Jakobsdóttir’s Eyes Cast, is a commissioned moving image work shot in Super 8 on location in Leeds Art Gallery. This silent visual poem traces a route through the building with a focus upon two bronze portrait busts by the sculptor Jacob Epstein. This new film is shown alongside plumpe Denken Modalities, a new series of paper cut-outs and drawings.
Noise is Europe’s biggest open community for the best up and coming talent who want to break into the Creative Industries, network and self-promote with an outstanding online portfolio recognised by top professionals. The artists who submit to the online community are judged by a panel of experts. Photographer Christine Eastwood was Elaine Constantine’s Curator’s Choice. Eastwood shoots captivating images of dilapidated spaces. She speaks to Aesthetica about her unconventional photography career and her plans for the future.
Since a few Basel gallerists put their passion and determination behind an ambitious vision in 1970, Art Basel has continued to grow in size and is now recognised as the premier international art show, held annually in Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong. Providing a platform for artists and gallerists from around the world, Art Basel supports galleries in nurturing their artists, and is a driving force in the development and promotion of visual arts.
In recent years cultural institutions across the world have seen a renaissance in architecture and architectural presentation. The vigour and enthusiasm with which the development of London and Bejing’s respective Olympic parks were reported in the mainstream press reached a fever pitch unfathomable 15 years ago. The constant development and new witty monikers of the latest high-rises to crop up on London’s skyline has become common parlance while the phenomenal growth in Dubai is a source of fascination with the ability of architects and engineers to achieve ever-higher feats.
The UK’s most talented new artists appear in the much-anticipated sixth edition of The Catlin Guide. Over the years the volume has become an indispensable reference for followers of contemporary art. The publication highlights prevailing and future trends, and has become a collectable item in its own right. Oliver Hickmet’s work is due to appear at the London Art Fair on The Catlin Guide stand. He speaks to Aesthetica about the origins of a new piece and the illusion of reality.