John Keane was announced as the winner of the Main Prize for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2015 at the exhibition preview at York St Mary’s yesterday evening. Keane rose to national prominence in 1991 when he was appointed as the official British war artist during the Gulf War, and has continued to investigate the most pressing political questions of our time while producing portraits of notable individuals such as Mo Mowlam, John Snow and Kofi Annan.
Pushing an Ism, at the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires (MAMBA), is a contradictory proposition. It urges us to re-acquaint ourselves with the original inspiration of much abstract art of today and the last century: the body. However it also presents us with much that has a tenuous relationship with the outside world.
Contemporary chair design exhibition, Make Yourself Comfortable at Chatsworth, brings forth the private collection of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, which includes work commissioned from leading artists and new makers dating back to the the 17th century. These pieces will be showcased alongside furniture by innovative designers such as Thomas Heatherwick and Amanda Levete, Marc Newson, Tokujin Yoshioka, Piet Hein Eek and Moritz Waldemeyer.
Niki de Saint Phalle’s Mamas are huge, bounding, ecstatic forms, but this major retrospective at Guggenheim Bilbao shows that there is much more to the artist than her voluptuous figures. Commencing with her early assemblages, the exhibition then moves to the Shooting Paintings of the 1960s, which are eye-opening in their simplicity, and, accompanied by wry contemporary footage of the event, remind of how surprising a figure Saint Phalle must have cut: a beautiful woman, with a French aristocratic name, pacing out in front of a crowd to attack pristine white canvases and release a riot of colour.
Christian Fennesz, Austrian electronic producer and musician, teamed up with Lillevan, German video artist and performer to celebrate the work of fellow Austrian Gustav Mahler. This weekend the duo transformed Mahler’s music with unique electronic compositions at the Howard Assembly Room, Opera North, Leeds. The beautiful and evocative piece used Mahler’s symphonies as its starting point, giving it new life as contemporary performance. Fennesz speaks to Aesthetica about his work with Lillevan and the process of producing this arresting new piece of music.
In 2011 Kunsthalle Mannheim celebrated Bruce Nauman’s 70th birthday with a retrospective examining the artist’s fascinating body of work. Now, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris presents Nauman’s first major solo show in France in over 15 years. To coincide with this new exhibition, Aesthetica delves into its archive and reflects on a feature article from Issue 41.
This year’s Aesthetica Art Prize sees a stunning collection of contemporary artworks grace the medieval interior of York St Mary’s. One of eight finalists presenting work in the 2015 exhibition, Owen Waterhouse will be showcasing his sculpture Möbius 1.00. A commission from Galvanize Sheffield and Outokumpu, the piece marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of stainless steel in Sheffield by Harry Brearley.
For The Spike Island Tapes at Alan Cristea Gallery, London, Richard Long has created his largest and boldest collection of print works to date. This is Long’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, and sees heavy experimentation with carborundum; a material that Long is using for the first time by means of smearing it hands to produces gestural marks. Carborundum is a compound of silicon and carbon that is normally used as an abrasive to produce very hard ceramics.
Our 5 To See This Weekend reveals fascinating insights into the creative world. Nick Waplington’s backstage photographs from Alexander McQueen’s final show reveal the couturier’s raw energy as he finalised designs on Horn of Plenty (2009), and MACBA presents the previously unseen collage collection of writer Osvaldo Lamborghini. A series of artists at ICA Philadelphia consider the margins of history in Traces in the Dark, and Paul Seawright’s latest series of photographs highlights the lack of mobility in the USA which lies beneath the American Dream.
Fine art photography gallery LUMAS has announced an exclusive event showcasing limited editions of iconic works by the foremost fashion photographers of the 21st century, which will introduce previously unreleased masterpieces to the public. The gallery will be premièring 10 new works, including Edward Steichen’s legendary portrait of actress Gloria Swanson.
Charlie Smith London presents new work by artist Tom Butler in his second solo show this year, Inhabitants. The exhibition, which opened to the public on 20 Febuary, will be on display until 28 March. After exhibiting across Europe and America, Butler’s latest show builds on the ongoing series of appropriated Victorian cabinet cards. Each subject is transformed as the artist paints the cards with intricate and delicate gouache, engaged with an inexplicable shape, pattern or species.
The late American artist Jason Rhoades said that parking a car was like “placing a sculpture” then Vienna-based Portuguese artist Hugo Canoilas crashing a car must be an act of performance. His current solo show, which starts with the image of an overturned car, is a collision of paintings, wall fresco drawings, hand painted texts, suspensions, comic books and photographs projected onto draped painted canvasses. A sense of disproportionate scale, like scenes from Gulliver’s Travels, see large-scale imagery offset by small tree bark stool sculptures, floor-level painted metal objects, pairs of stuffed penguins and tiny angular hurdle-like frames.
As we enter the final week countdown until the Aesthetica Art Prize opens at York St Mary’s, we speak to Irish artist Suzanne Mooney to learn more about her shortlisted pieces Come Away, O’… and Tokyo Summit A. Living and working in Japan, Mooney’s visual arts practice explores human perceptions of natural and manmade landscapes. Transferring an interest in organic scenery to the constructed environment of Tokyo, the artist examines cityscapes through the eyes of an urbanite. Taking into account themes of globalisation and urbanisation, Mooney uses photography and installation to stimulate new dialogues between city-dwellers and their surroundings, whilst drawing comparisons between natural and manmade ways of life.
Darren Baker Gallery opened summer 2014 and works to promote both established and emerging artists. Named after the artist in residence, the gallery aims to break down the barriers between artist and audience. Baker has spent the last two decades perfecting a hyperrealist technique. Gallery manager, Agnieszka Perche, speaks to Aesthetica about her appreciation of Baker’s work and the company’s upcoming exhibition programme.
Pronoia: Paranoia In reverse, an exhibition curated by Sophie Nibbs, at 12 Felstead Street, London, threw up all sorts of questions. The various works provoked the audience to consider the pressure to constantly pursue happiness, despite depressing economic realities, the way American mantras of positive thinking have infiltrated UK culture, how governments are measuring growth in terms of happiness (rather than GDP) and if unhappiness could be a new form of dissent. In a world where aspiration and positivity are sacrosanct, the idea that pursuing happiness might be self-destructive seems kind of taboo.
The 12th edition of the Sharjah Biennial, in the UAE, curated by Eungie Joo, opened on 5 March to a relatively small exhibition of 51 artists that were representative of the region and from across the globe. Its open-ended theme titled The past, the present, the possible, allowed for a wide selection of works that were the most persuasive when history and nostalgia served as important sources to inspire and empower a new generation of artists. Expressed in minimalist forms, the best works came together when the recollection of the past in the Middle East reclaimed what was once glorious, and provided sufficient grist to conjure recent political strife and the dismemberment of social and family life.
This March artists Lucy Clout and Marianna Simnett, winners of the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2015, premiere new moving-image works in an exhibition at Jerwood Visual Arts. Created in response to the project title What Will They See of Me?, the two artist have spent the last year expanding on their initial proposals in the first stage of the Awards in April 2014. We speak to Simnett about her work Blood and her use of untrained actors in her films.
Edmund Clark’s work has always explored politics on a domestic scale, through photography, found imagery and text. His most recent series have explored the War on Terror and 2014 collection, The Mountains of Majeed, is currently on display at Flowers Gallery, London. The arresting images examine the experiences of the military personnel who have been engaged in “Operation Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan.
The exhibitions in our 5 To See This Weekend are not to be missed. The Royal Academy of Arts in London has brought together works by Ruben, Picasso and Van Dyck to show visitors the legacy of portraiture, and the BALTIC remembers the accessible and detailed work of Jason Rhoades. An exhibition of Alec Soth’s photography reveals a backstory of posing as a newspaper reporter, which he later detaches from a news-story context to generate stand-alone pieces. Meanwhile, Galerie des Galeries invites visitors to enter an immersive, theatrical space generated by painter Karina Bisch’s large-scale works on canvas.
Thoughts of the Caribbean often evoke rum, beaches and palm trees. Paradise looms for tourists, and artists, who have also been drawn by this idyllic vision. Renowned creators like André Breton, Ernest Hemingway and Hunter S Thompson formed their work and made history on Caribbean islands. However, what is known of the islanders themselves? There is a thriving art community throughout the Caribbean that is struggling to emerge beyond these postcard projections to speak of their subjective realities: issues of race and class, alienation and identity, feminism and pragmatism in a post-colonial world.
Conceptual artist Denys Blacker has been longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2015. Living and working in Spain, Blacker uses performance, sculpture and drawing to explore themes of symmetry and precision. Her selected piece The Noble Gases will appear in the Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition and anthology later this month. A series of seven performances for camera, The Noble Gases is based on Blacker’s research into the Periodic Table.
A Möbius strip is a surface with only one side, it is non-orientable and can be easily emulated by taking a strip of paper, twisting it once and attaching the two ends. If an ant was to walk the length of a Mobius paper strip, back to its starting point, it could cover the entire length of the paper on both sides without walking over a paper edge. These forms are at the heart of a new physics theory – “ekpyrotic” or “cyclic” cosmology – which hypothesises that the universe did not begin from one singular “Big Bang.” Instead, our cosmos contains continuously repeating cycles of evolution, parallel universes and the ever-expanding creation of new galaxies and planets.
2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the Zabludowicz Collection, and for its spring exhibition the gallery is showing work by multi-media, innovative and self-supporting artist organisation, Brooklyn’s The Still House Group. Founded in 2007 by Isaac Brest and Alex Perweiler as an online collective, the group now includes eight members and one artist in residence.
Northern Ballet is known for its lyrical and expressive narration of stories. Previously visiting the classic tales of Cinderella, A Christmas Carol and Romeo and Juliet, the company transforms Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Based on the central characters, Cathy and Heathcliff, the story is a wild and unruly romance. Opening 18 March at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, the performance tours to Southampton, Milton Keynes, Canterbury and Bradford. We speak to dancer Kiara Flavin, who plays Young Cathy, about her physical interpretation of Brontë’s complex language.
One of eight finalists, British painter John Keane has been shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2015. Selected for his Fear series, Keane’s paintings draw on images from the great Stalinist terror of the 1930s and are sourced from mug shots of arrested victims. Keane’s highly evocative and moving images tease out the human emotion of fear, highlighting the fundamental driver of violence in mankind. Combining a passion for painting with an interest in conflict, the artist uses his chosen medium to approach a universal subject and a collective sentiment that affects all walks of life.
Art Fair Tokyo returns this spring, running 20-22 March. The event enters into its 10th year and to celebrate this milestone event graphic designer Masayoshi Kodaira has produced the visuals for the fair, creating a “window” to look at the future of Tokyo. With just five years until the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the design invites people to re-examine their perception of Tokyo in anticipation of this sporting and cultural event.
Cornelia Parker (b. 1956) is a British sculptor and installation artist who is interested in the potential of materials. In 2013, Aesthetica spoke to Parker about her involvement with Glasstress: White Light / White Heat, as one of 65 artists challenged to work with glass. The show ran at two different locations in London: London College of Fashion’s Fashion Space Gallery and The Wallace Collection. Now, the artist’s signature piece Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991) can be viewed at The Whitworth in Manchester.
Featuring 50 new works, NOW at Himalayas Museum, Shanghai, is Michael Craig-Martin’s first major show in Asia. Working as an artist for over 40 years, Craig-Martin was an important figure in the development of London’s Young British Artists (YBAs), teaching the likes of Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas and Damien Hirst. Each of the brand new paintings exhibited will include ordinary objects – parts of modern life’s furniture – such as a milk carton, a chair, a computer mouse, an iPhone.
Our 5 To See This Weekend reveals new perspectives in exhibitions across the world. From Florence Henri’s prominent (if later forgotten) role in the 20th-century disciplines of photography to Stephen McKenna’s response to his travels in modern Europe, we see a range of personal and technical development. Dawei Dong’s fascination with the beginning of things perfectly marks his solo debut in Hong Kong, whilst at the Camden Arts Centre Ruth Ewan discusses the French Rationalist Calendar in modern societies rejection of a nationwide religion.
In the run-up to the Aesthetica Art Prize 2015 exhibition, we speak to shortlisted artist Matt Parker about his piece The Cloud is More Than Air and Water. This video-sound installation offers an insight into the hidden connections between every-day technology and our environment. An audiovisual artist, Parker is interested in creating immersive experiences which comment on the acoustic ecology of modern living. His explorations into the data driven society captures the acoustic footprint of the internet and reflects on the existence of our ‘digital selves’.
The Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires is currently brimming with colour and kaleidoscopic shapes, the exhibition, Lysergic Argentina, filling one gallery with its psychedelic visions and The Theatre of Painting providing viewers with a playful exploration of geometric abstraction. The Theatre of Painting places works of modern and contemporary Argentine art alongside pieces by Sonia Delaunay (1885 – 1979). In doing so, it looks at modernity as though through a magnifying glass to reveal different forms of creation and spaces in which surprising narratives unfold. In order to avoid confining Delaunay to the labelled box of female artist in a European, modern and predominantly masculine setting, the exhibition proposes to align artists from contrasting contexts in order to focus on and draw connections between their ways of making.
Jason Rhoades, Four Roads at ICA Philadelphia was the artist’s first major exhibition at an American museum, revealing his sprawling environments made from a wide range of materials. Now, for the first time in the UK, a major exhibition of work by Rhoades will open at the BALTIC, Gateshead, on 6 March. In celebration of this retrospective, we take a look at Organised Chaos from Aesthetica Issue 54.
Exhibit Be is an artistic endeavour of epic proportions. Helmed by artist and film-maker Brandan “BMike” Odums, with logistical support from freelance editor and web-content creator Lydia Nichols and arts and museum curator Lana Meyon, it is an ode to how art disturbs the waters of our contentment without cornering us with guilt. Located in Algiers, a quiet suburb of New Orleans across the Mississippi river from the downtown core, Exhibit Be, a collaboration of 30 plus artists, transformed the abandoned Woodlands Apartment Complex, a five building, five-story apartment complex, into a giant street art installation.
Former student of Ira Sachs and previously known for her cult web series, The Slope, and short film, Nose Job, Desiree Akhavan is set to be one of the emerging stars of 2015. Playing a character in the fourth season of Girls, and cited as the “new Lena Dunham,” Desiree Akhavan now brings to the screen her debut feature film Appropriate Behaviour.
The Aesthetica 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. Now in its eighth year, the Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition and anthology unites a dynamic selection of emerging and established international practitioners. This year’s longlist of artists includes Chilean-born practitioner Carolina Redondo.
This March Dovecot Studios opens a new exhibition of work from Norwegian visual artist and musician Magne Furuholmen. After visiting Dovecot Tapestry Studio in 2013, Furuholmen set about producing a a new unique woodcut print design for a tapestry entitled Glass Onion. The exhibition, Peeling a Glass Onion, also features music, film, printmaking and large-scale ceramics. We speak to Furuholmen about his move into tapestry and how Dovecot inspired the new work.
Walking Legs, is one of Parisian photographer Guy Bourdin’s most loved campaign series, commissioned initially by French shoe designer – and longstanding friend, collaborator, client – Charles Jourdan. Shot against quintessentially English home, town and country landscapes, this high-end 1979 campaign is surely an unusual one – comprising a range of disembodied mannequin legs which appear to be strutting along proudly in their glimmering designer heels.
Since 2011 Sky Academy Arts Scholarships (previously Sky Arts Futures Fund) have supported five promising artists under 30 annually with a £30,000 bursary and mentoring opportunities. The Scholarships aim to release the financial and second-job shackles of life as a young artist and provide an opportunity for each to take their practice to the next level with the help of dedicated mentors in their field. Last year’s Scholars were visual artist James Lomax, dancer and choreographer Eleesha Drennan, theatre designer David Shearing, jazz drummer and composer Ollie Howell and creative producer Tom Mcdonagh.
This week’s 5 To See features work from the internationally renowned, the critically acclaimed, the culturally overlooked, and promising newcomers. Mima presents the fine art of David Lynch, charting a relationship with names and identity which has come up time and again in his filmography. Belgian designer Dries van Noten invites visitors to explore his creative inspirations at the MoMu in Antwerp. Meanwhile, the work of Georges Noël is on display at the Musée d’Art Moderne, paying tribute to the Béziers-born artist.
Carriageworks is a fitting space to house the grand structures created by artist Zhang Huan (b. 1965) in his current exhibition, Sydney Buddha (2015). As viewers make their way down the concrete decline and through the entrance of the large glass doors, they are greeted by two structures standing at more than five metres tall. Made of two pieces, one is an aluminium structure acting as a mould for the second piece, which is a composition of more than 20 tonnes of incense ash. The pristine aluminium sculpture sits facing its slowly disintegrating opposite – a scene that reflects the confronting essence of time.