Shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize, Deb Covell exhibited a selection of pieces from her series Black and White Paintings throughout spring and summer 2014 in the Aesthetica Art Prize 2014 group show at York St Mary’s – York Art Gallery’s contemporary art space. In the run up to the current call for entries close on 31 August, we look at Covell’s practice as a source of inspiration and as a dynamic contribution to the contemporary art scene – intriguingly crossing the boundaries between painting and sculpture.
“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.
There are two weeks left to enter the Aesthetica Art Prize, a celebration of excellence in contemporary art from around the world. Previous longlisted artists include Philip Gurrey whose abstract painting After Goya #2 – a contemporary re-working of Francisco Goya’s Crucified Christ – was selected in the Painting and Drawing category.
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.
David Ricci is an American photographer whose large-scale images explore the underlying rhythms and patterns that emerge from chaotic scenes. His latest ongoing project is a major departure from his earlier bodies of work. He takes photographs of peculiar, intriguing scenes whose meaning is a bit ambiguous and accompanies the images with text. The final piece becomes an entry in an evolving image-based reference that merges his photographs with words from unwitting online collaborators.
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.
The Aesthetica Art Prize invites submissions from artists at all stages in the career, working in any medium and celebrates innovation and excellence in technical skill. Entries are open until 31 August 2014. Selected works for the latest edition of the Prize, spanning film, photography, sculpture and painting are presented here as demonstrations of the breadth and quality of works being produced today; and we highlight the longlisted artists’ achievements since the award. These include Henry Iddon, Ana Catarina Pereira, Wycliffe Stutchbury and Wilson-Eflerová (Kye Wilson and Helena Eflerová).
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.
At David Zwirner Gallery, London, iconic British painter Bridget Riley presented a fleetingly immersive survey of current and older works. Bridget Riley: The Stripe Paintings 1961 – 2014, in partnership with Karsten Schubert Gallery, culminating in 15 paintings and experimental studies on paper.
Over 150 leading authors and artists from more than 30 countries come together for South-East Asia’s most exciting literary event, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF). Sir VS Naipaul, Amitav Ghosh and Eimear McBride are some of the names to be taking part in this celebration of global issues, big ideas and extraordinary stories.
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 world of popular culture and the devices and trends that govern it has long since been a topic explored and analysed by artists; from the screen prints of Andy Warhol to the sculptural paintings of Ken Lum. Yet Barbara Kruger, whose formative beginning in graphic design so poignantly aided in the design of her later artworks, during the 70’s and 80’s, has since gone on to become one of the most prolific and accessible artists working within this theme. Now, Modern Art Oxford pays homage to her career in a self-titled solo show, which also presents a colossal new site-specific installation in the upper galleries dressed in Kruger’s tell-tale signature aesthetic motif – scrutinising the ever evolving impact and paradoxes of the digital age.
Darren Nisbett is a photographer who has been exhibiting in group and solo shows for three years. His imagery explores the border zones between nostalgia and nature, and his piece Anesthetic was selected for the Aesthetica Art Prize Longlist of 100 artists. He experiments with different print media, including aluminium panels as well as traditional paper, and has exhibited at the 2013 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. We ask Nisbett about his approach to photography.
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.
Johny Dar approaches his artistic practice from an innovative angle, painting directly onto his models’ bodies. Dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what is perceived as art, he works across fashion, bodypainting, books, art installations, multimedia and events. His project Dare blends clothing and paint, placing his models in a catwalk show that appeared at Berlin Fashion Week earlier this year. We speak to Dar about his interest in collaborative projects and his audience.
Graduate of Chelsea School of Art and London University, Day Bowman is a painter whose work lies on the axis of figuration and abstraction. In the past 15 years she has collaborated with filmmakers, composers and musicians to produce installations in sacred spaces, market squares and railway stations throughout the UK. The Urban Wastelands Project, a UK touring exhibition, (2011-12), highlighted issues concerning the wastelands and edgelands that surround our cities and ports.
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.
Selected for the Aesthetica Art Prize in the Three-Dimensional Design & Sculpture category, Deborah Barrett is an emerging artist who graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with First Class Honours. Deborah has been selected by 5plus Architects for an exhibition celebrating New Creative Talents during the Manchester International Festival. Her practice focuses on gender and often incorporates heavily loaded objects to communicate a subject’s coping strategies.
The World Photography Organisation and Montgomery announced earlier this year the inaugural edition of Photo Shanghai – the first international art fair dedicated to photography in China. The Fair will run from 5 – 7 September at the landmark Shanghai Exhibition Centre, and aims to establish the most professional and international platform for fine art photography in the Asia-Pacific region.
The latest edition of the Aesthetica Art Prize featured outstanding artists working in video, installation and performance. These practitioners are breaking new ground within their given fields, and we are delighted to showcase their selected works, while each artist brings us up to date with their progress since being longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize.
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.
With the Aesthetica Art Prize call for entries countdown in full swing, we bring you a selection of 2014’s Photographic & Digital Art Category that highlights some of the most exciting emerging talent from around the world. These artists are Royal College of Art postgraduate Jonny Briggs, award-winning photographer André Lichtenberg and Terry O’Neill Tag Photography Award nominee Alice Gur-Arie.
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.
Since being selected for the Aesthetica Art Prize earlier this year William Reardon has received a number of commissions for paintings and sculptures, and has also begun developing more computer-based artworks. As a professional motion graphic designer Reardon uses his animation skills to create video art – specifically interactive pieces using knobs and sliders to control elements of the animation.
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.
Previous Aesthetica Art Prize finalists include photographer Pamela Z. Daum, whose Same Scene, Different Day, aka SSDD, is part of an ongoing infrared series of the view of West Twin Lake from her house, which she captures each day. The bones of the landscape remain static and suggest a reassurance of permanence, though the atmosphere and sky speak of constant change, evoking the ephemeral nature of memory.
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.
Exciting times lie ahead as we move into the phase of one month left to submit your work to the Aesthetica Art Prize. Cass Art highlights this Prize as a must for emerging artists wanting to make a significant impact upon the art world today. With prizes ranging from up to £5,000 to editorial coverage in Aesthetica Magazine, which has an impressive readership of 168,000 worldwide, this is a unique opportunity to generate greater exposure. Read Cass Art’s recommendations here.
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.
We are delighted to present the Judging Panel for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2015. The Prize is open for submissions until 31 August 2014. Spanning the arts, film, music and cultural industries, our judges lend their expertise to support the next generation of leading practitioners. The panellists will be looking for innovative artworks that display excellence in technical skill and ability. The Judging Panel includes the following art-world professionals.
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.
Artist Filmmaker and Designer Sarah Jane Palmer was selected for the Aesthetica Art Prize longlist with her film Net. The work is an ongoing performance/installation in which she continues to produce a net drawing on a 10-metre paper roll during her residency at the Lace Market Gallery in Nottingham. Net is part of a body of work based on research into Nottingham’s historic lace trade and Palmer’s own ancestral connections to lace design.
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.