What are the boundaries between musical instruments and artistic practice? How can one define the properties and influence of sound over our senses? Fondazione Prada’s exhibition at the magnificent neoclassical palace of Ca’ Corner della Regina in Venice takes us on a remarkable journey of art and sound.
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers” said Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, in 1943, proving again that in the realm of technology it is very dangerous to make any prediction at all. So although the Barbican’s Digital Revolution is an exhibition of 30-ish years of digital art, computers, websites, CGI, music videos and games rather than a manifesto, there is still some slight hubris-in-the-making at work in its putting games made in the 1990s alongside examples of contemporary technology and artwork. You feel the future looking over your shoulder throughout, and the future has a tendency to assume we were all quaint. So the Barbican is to be admired and not envied: it has curated a show that will end up being discovered as what 2014 thought of itself.
MANIFESTA 10, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Manifesta originated in the post-communist period in the 1990s with the aim of balancing the information gap between the East and West, North and South. Offering audiences an opportunity to exchange knowledge and rethink the platforms and influences of art and its expressions, Manifesta considers both the poetic and political nature of art and contextualises the contemporary with the historical. Operating within contested areas allows the biennial to demonstrate the way in which art can aid understanding within this complex world and Manifesta encourages a critical dialogue.
Taking our appetite for sugar as a starting point to create images of a corrupted globalisation, James Ostrer takes over the glass façade and ground floor of the Gazelli Art House, as part of its Window Project, to present the unsavoury side of our addiction to the sweet stuff. Ostrer’s photographs of human subjects covered in layers of sweets and foodstuffs have a cartoon-like absurdity while exploring self-destructive behaviours and drawing attention to the volumes of sugar that flow through our bodies and our dietary culture.
Australian artist Patricia Casey works with photography and embroidery to make complex images that explore inner worlds with her series, Little Secrets. Casey believes that we all have an inner core that we do not reveal to even those with whom we are closest. Little secrets that we keep to ourselves. Interior landscapes inaccessible to others. A flow of energy gently vibrates from the surface of each artwork, enticing the viewer to imagine a secret world beneath these dreamlike images. Casey’s work is highly collectible and is currently available for viewing at Stephanie Hoppen Gallery in London and NG Art Gallery in Sydney.
The Natural History Museum of London is a space of gargantuan proportions. The main entrance leads to a cavernous hall that comfortably houses the skeletal frame of a Diplodocus. Several feet away, on the landing of a pronged staircase, sits an oversized, marble statue of Charles Darwin. This is the scene that served as the backdrop to my initial encounter with vocalist, bassist, producer and actress Shingai Shoniwa of the Noisettes fame. She descended the staircase to deliver a bombastic show for a private, formal event that made the massive fossil and the historical giant she was sandwiched in between look like mere toys in her presence.
This weekend is an opportunity to visit a range of diverse and extraordinary exhibitions. From foregrounding emerging Welsh photographers at Ffotogallery in Cardiff to a retrospective account of artist Oscar Muñoz’s forty year career at Jeu de Paume in Paris, galleries across the globe are showcasing the best of the art world, both past and present. Read on to see our five recommended shows.
In the Special 60th Edition of Aesthetica we celebrate the emerging photographers that are shaping the future of the image-based practice in The Next Generation. We have partnered with the London College of Communication to survey some of photography’s rising stars and showcase their fresh ideas and new concepts. Rosaline Shahnavaz has produced work for the likes of Dazed and Confused, AnOther and Art Review, she speaks to us about her interest in documentary photography and her future plans.
The word process crops up in art speak so often it can easily become detached from its literal meaning. This is not the case at Carroll / Fletcher who use the notion of an action set in motion to connect the notion of craft to the art of the information age. It is pretty rare to find net.artists, or post-internet artists, displaying much sympathy for the medium of drawing – a positively 19th century activity to most – however several artists here do re-connect the graphic to the algorithmic by dwelling on what the drawn line shares with technology – the power of process.
Pedro Reyes, Vasco Araújo and Akram Zaatari, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada.
Part of the internationally-focused Harbourfront Centre, The Power Plant showcases the latest work from artists around the world. This summer it opens three exciting new exhibitions by Pedro Reyes (b. 1972), Vasco Araújo (b. 1975) and Akram Zaatari (b. 1966). Although hailing from very different backgrounds, these artists are united by their perspectives on the world and their exploration of ideas.
Widely considered one of the most important and influential photographers of his generation, American artist Larry Clark explores youth culture through his renowned and controversial projects. This summer Foam presents two of his earliest bodies of work, the series Tulsa (1971) and Teenage Lust (1983). Concerned with revealing a culture that was hidden to the greater public, Clark’s work offers a raw and unflinching look at the realities of young urban living in the 1970s and 1980s.
As much as it might seem provincial that non-western art is categorised by geography and ethnicity, Here and Elsewhere at the New Museum, New York, does justice to this grouping. Encompassing a vast territory of over 15 countries in the Middle East that include Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Palestine, UAE, and Morocco, the question of fetishising locality at the cost of undermining high standards of art is met head on. Here we see artistic productions by artists challenged by exile and war.
Time is a key part of competitive sport, much of which is rated according to speed; it’s an essential element for designating winners and losers and establishing records. This new exhibition at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland explores the concept of time as it is understood and experienced in sport.
This weekend there is the chance to a series of exceptional exhibitions across the world. The art on display ranges from provocative pieces of Neo-Concretism at MoMA, New York, to 17th century still life paintings at Queensland Art Gallery. Meanwhile in London, Whitechapel Gallery presents audiences with a thought-provoking retrospective of Giulio Paolini, charting the interweaving progressions of art itself. We handpick the very best in contemporary creative production this weekend, read on to find out more.
One of Italy’s most significant post-war painters, Mario Schifano considered painting as an intrinsically human art form capable of capturing the lifeblood of contemporary culture. This exhibition at London’s Luxembourg & Dayan displays some of his seminal works from his most artistically intense period, 1960-1967. During this decade he experimented with media and other, new techniques.
The new 525m² Media Space of London’s Science Museum plays host to Spanish photographer, Joan Fontcuberta in a surreal show which challenges the authority of museum exhibitions. Comprising six of Fontcuberta’s best-known works, Stranger Than Fiction includes not only large-scale digital prints, photograms and small analogue works but also grotesque hybrid taxidermy pieces, narrative text works, found objects and land art.
The unusual name of this new exhibition by UK artist Fiona Banner is inspired by the sound of helicopters as portrayed in comic books and storyboards. Wp Wp Wp is an onomatopoeically named collection of works that Banner began almost two years ago. A highlight of the show is her ambitious new project Chinook. Formed from two sets of helicopter blades suspended from the ceiling of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Longside Gallery, Chinook emphasises the absence of the helicopter’s body. Careful choreography rotates the blades in opposition to one another above visitor’s heads as though preparing for lift-off, overlapping and suggesting collison.
Stepping into the Dubai based studio of acclaimed Syrian artist Tammam Azzam feels like a teleportation back to Damascus, where his career started. The Arabic tunes playing on the radio and the pleasant odor of coffee, paired with the vision of this organised, artistic mess found in studios, are a refreshing change from the glitz and glamour often associated with Dubai. Stacked against the walls, lay the experiments for his new work, in which he focuses on destroyed buildings seen in Damascus. He will explain about them soon, he says. Because they are only the result of his life experience, which he finds is important to describe first.
This new exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery in London traces the advancements in Russia, looking at the development of Russia’s social history through the context of colour experiments and the growth of colour photography in Russia over the course of a century. Translated into Russian, the word “primrose” means “first colour” and is one of the earliest and most colourful flowers to bloom in the spring. The exhibition features over 140 works, many of them never seen before in the UK, and moves through the progressive use of colour in early Soviet photography, covering a timespan from the 1860s to the 1980s arranged in five chronological sections.
Abbey Walk Gallery, Grimsby, opens Easterlines today. The exhibition is a curated selection of work from the East Contemporary Art collection, founded by Simon Carter and Robert Priseman in 2013. In bringing a number of artists together, the showcase develops a dialogue between the individual concerns of each artist, reflecting on the nature of contemporary art today. We speak to curator and artist Robert Priseman about the ideas behind the project and his own approach to artistic production.
Radical Geometry: Modern Art of South America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, Royal Academy of Art, London.
Many of the works on display in the Royal Academy’s new show have never been seen in the UK before and the exhibition presents over 80 paintings and sculptures chiefly drawn from the collection of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. This is the foremost collection of geometric abstract art from Latin America in private hands.
Remote, beautiful – and increasingly endangered – the Arctic has long been a subject of fascination for many and a source of inspiration for artists. SALT is an ambitious concept to create arts and cultural experiences in the northernmost regions of our planet. It will invite world-famous artists to the Arctic Circle to create works which respond to the breathtaking landscapes, nature and history of the Arctic – while always aiming to treat the landscape with care and respect.
Until recently Barrie Dale saw himself simply as a nature photographer. Then, with nature being destroyed to the point where it was possible to envisage none being left, he also became a conservationist. He now both conserves and photographs wild plants. Wild plants are typically very simple. This appears to give them great visual intensity, and he now wants to explore this artistic potential. He finds the simplicity challenging, and sometimes frustrating, but ultimately rewarding. His work is available online in a range of formats, and a print exhibition is planned for the Spring. He talks to us about his passion for photography.
Questioning the world around us is a continuous necessity and the desire to challenge everyday systems reinvigorates daily life. This special 60th edition of Aesthetica celebrates innovation and we take a look at a number of practitioners that are breaking new ground within their given fields. Inside this issue we start with a retrospective of French artist Annette Messager at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. For over five decades she has given ordinary objects new meaning in her large-scale installations.
This weekend numerous galleries across the world present some outstanding contemporary exhibitions. Audiences can explore an extraordinary series of shows at the Edinburgh Art Festival, where emerging and established Scottish artists are celebrated together. The rhythmic poetry of photographer Machiel Botman is on display at Fotomuseum Den Haag, tracing his early images to his most recent. In our 5 To See This Weekend we also take a look at art at the Gagosian Gallery, Camilla Grimaldi and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
In Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination, Annette Kuhn commented that a photograph should not be considered a ‘mirror of the real’ but ‘material for interpretation, evidence in that sense: to be solved, like a riddle; read and decoded, like clues left behind at the scene of a crime. Evidence of this sort, though, can conceal, even as it purports to reveal, what it is evidence of. A photograph can certainly throw you off the scent’. While Kuhn’s comments may be applied to any genre of photography, they are particularly relevant to family photography in which, when face to face with a camera, the conventional response is to smile, an act which often masks a much wider range of emotions.
Jeff Wall pioneered large-scale photography, transcending the classical into the contemporary. His critically acclaimed work, produced in the form of colour transparencies displayed in lightboxes since the 1980s, was inspired by the backlit advertisements found at bus stops in Europe. The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam highlights his oeuvre since 1996, featuring over 40 works in his second exhibition with the museum, entitled Jeff Wall: Tableaux, Pictures, Photographs, 1996–2013. At first, the scale and presentation of the photographs of commonplace scenes are impressive, but it is their enigmatic element that make them magnetic. The artist captures pop culture in a classical sense. His tableaux, with the potential to transform into 19th and 20th century master paintings, illuminate the allusions to art historical and philosophical notions of representation.
Appropriately enough, with the UK recently basking in a rare summer heatwave, the Photographers’ Gallery’s latest Print Sales selling exhibition evokes the British seaside holiday – complete with ice creams. Didn’t We Have A Lovely Time, featuring the work of five leading British photographers, celebrates the landscape, traditions and rituals of the seaside.
Austrian artist Franz West (1947 – 2012) was a pioneer in viewer participation. He achieved worldwide fame with his furniture and sculpture for exterior and interior spaces, and his Passstucke (Adaptives). The Hepworth Wakefield currently hosts a loosely chronological course of his work, distinct for an impression of charisma born of modesty. The impression of modesty comes from light-hearted good humour in the general invitation to visitors to participate and seek dialogue with the work. The charisma that crowns this exhibition emanates from the scale of the works, and the knowledge that their conceit was grounded in involved philosophical consideration.
This is the last chance to see Sean Kelly’s latest group exhibition presents ancient objects alongside contemporary paintings and offers a visual dialogue between old forms and those being investigated today by young painters working with abstraction.
As Exciting As We Can Make It: Ikon in the 1980s, currently on display at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, is a departure from the solo and two-person exhibitions that have become synonymous with Ikon’s programme. Instead, this latest exhibition presents a culminating survey of the decade of decadence and excess. The exhibition features 29 artists that exhibited at Ikon, then located at John Bright Street, including Dennis Oppenheim, Charles Garrad, Cornelia Parker, Susan Hiller, Sean Scully, Richard Wilson and many more during the 1980s. Their works span across the two floor gallery and the tower room project space illuminating cutting edge philosophies and advancements in technologies that now look incredibly dated almost to the point of redundancy or have transitioned to become artefacts. However, as one intriguingly admires and creates rapports with these “artefacts” an astute sense of nostalgia envelops the celebration of the artists, their works and the legacies they leave behind.
The Zabludowicz Collection – which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year – is presenting four solo exhibitions of sculpture, taking place simultaneously at its North London home in a former Methodist chapel. They combine new site-specific works with pieces selected from the 3,000 works spanning 40 years of modern art which are held by the Collection. Each of the artists contributing engages in a distinctive way with the question of how to make sculpture today, while at the same time a number of threads can be seen which link their approaches. A central concern is an evocation of the human body and its fragile, messy nature, as well as the passing of time.
Becca Pelly-Fry is Director of Griffin Gallery and Global Artist Outreach Programme Manager for ColArt. Based in London, Griffin Gallery supports emerging artists through its diverse programme of exhibitions and its annual art prize, Griffin Art Prize. Above the gallery space are two fully equipped artists’ studios available for short and long term residencies, and adjoining the studios is the Innovation and Development Laboratory where new artists’ materials are developed for Winsor & Newton, Liquitex, Conté á Paris and more. Pelly-Fry speaks to Aesthetica about her interest in new artists and the hurdles they have to overcome to succeed.
This summer The Hepworth Wakefield presents the first reinvention of Allan Kaprow’s Yard to be realised in the UK. First installed outside the Martha Jackson Gallery back in 1961, Kaprow’s seminal “Environment”, or “Happening” will be hosted by The Calder, The Hepworth’s latest contemporary art space. Set across 600 square metres on the ground floor of a former 19th century textiles mill in the gallery garden, the project will comprise of thousands of tyres, which visitors are encouraged to play with, rearrange and rediscover.
The House of Illustration is not new. It launched in 2002 as a UK illustrators’ collective, spearheaded by Emma Chichester and indeed Quentin Blake himself, and has since attracted the attention of illustrators Peter Blake, Lauren Child, Sara Fanelli, David Gentleman and Jan Pienkowski, as well as Philip Pullman, Will Alsop and Peter Capaldi, to name a few. They’ve done travelling tours, education programmes and book illustration competitions. What’s new, however, is that 12 years down the line, they have found themselves a permanent home – and a sweet home it is too.
This new exhibition at the Marian Goodman Gallery presents a selection of artists curated by other artists. Bringing together 23 artists of different ages and from various countries including Cuba, England, Holland, Kosovo, Albania and Taiwan, Some Artists’ Artists showcases a multitude of voices in which resonances and dissonances emerge.
Kazimir Malevich (1879 – 1935) was one of the great innovators and explorers of European abstraction. He had a clear sense of the trajectory of style and purpose in the visual arts, and in his eyes, art had an exalted destiny in the modern world. Unlike the Russian artists of previous generations, Malevich could claim to be up to date with European painting: the pioneering collections of Moscow-based Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov were fertile ground for him to study the most interesting avant-garde artists from Claude Monet to Henri Matisse. Accordingly his early work bears the heavy influence of successive styles – Impressionism, Symbolism, Futurism and Cubism. During the long years of his early career Malevich was devoid of an individual style that he could call his own, and his desperate search for one is all too palpable.
Following its unveiling at the Venice Art Biennale last year, Ron Arad’s Last Train project makes its way to London. Ron Arad (b.1951) opens his Camden studio to showcase the large-scale diamond engravings created by a range of artistic collaborations.
Young British artist Caroline Jane Harris, finalist for the 2013 Aesthetica Art Prize, presents her first solo exhibition at Scream in London. Featuring a intricate, detailed and labour-intensive papercutting technique, Harris’ work is inspired by the natural world and the links between natural life forms and man-made systems.
What has, for the last 16 years, been an ambitious programme of photography exhibitions throughout Madrid has shifted course. Diverging from its tradition of engaging one international curator to organize different thematic programming as was the case for the last three years, this year PHotoEspaña’s “Official” programme presents exclusively Spanish photography, organised “in house” with participating venues. This creative strategy was, at least in part, a response to the challenge that all arts organisations are facing, and particularly in austerity-challenged Spain, with significant declines in private and public funding. The silver lining, is that for the first time Spanish photography, from the medium’s earliest days to the present, is finally receiving full attention.