The RSA Annual Exhibition is a focal point of the Royal Scottish Academy’s programme, showcasing work from RSA Academicians the length and breadth of Scotland. Now in its 188th year, it continues to provide a platform for contemporary paintings, sculpture, film, printmaking, photography and installation alongside work by some of the country’s leading architects.
American artist Bill Viola is one of the leading international artists working in video art. For more than 30 years, Viola has been experimenting with video tapes, video installations, sound environments, electronic-music performances and TV productions. In both 1995 and 2007, the artist appeared at the Venice Biennial to much acclaim. However, since his first solo exhibition in 1993 at the Musée des Beaux-Arts Lausanne, his work has only been shown in group exhibitions in Switzerland. This April an extensive overview of his practice, Passions, appears at Kunstmuseum Bern and runs until 20 July.
About a decade ago, it seemed Mark Titchner was popping up in every high-profile group show in London, and this exposure naturally led to his Turner Prize nomination in 2006. He didn’t win, but his popularity remains high, bolstered by UK and international shows.
In addition to Aesthetica’s very own Art Prize Exhibition at York St Mary’s, York, there’s a number of wonderful art shows on display this weekend. If you’re near York, you can catch some of the most exciting emerging talents and trends in contemporary art today and if you’re elsewhere, you can be bewildered by Tobias Rehberger’s overwhelming installations in Frankfurt. At London’s Thomas Dane Gallery, Abraham Cruzvillegas destroys entire movements, while in Sheffield Wu Chi-Tsung creates entire cities from mere shadows. Wherever you are, make sure you see something this weekend.
What does “science fiction” mean in the 21st century? A traditional definition is that it is writing, or other artistic works, that presuppose a technology, or an effect of technology, such as humanity has not yet experienced. However, over the years, the genre has come to be represented by distinctive tropes and visual hallmarks, even when they are more closely associated with eras of the past – think of the monochrome screens in the film Alien from 1979, or how The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, due to the TV adaptation of 1981, is more synonymous with flared trousers than intergalactic space travel.
Visiting the New Museum’s lobby exhibition For Forgetting, a multimedia installation by artist Laure Prouvost, should not be done on an evening when the lobby also hosts a live band. Aside from the challenge in hearing the exhibition’s video installation, her film, Making Money Religiously, was well worth the concentration and effort.
Kourtney Roy’s striking fashion photography is currently on the cover of Aesthetica. Roy began her career with the intention of becoming a painter. However, after taking a photography course she quickly found a passion for the instantaneous nature of this art form, enjoying being able to immediately capture a scene as it was unfolding. The photographer was born in Ontario, Canada and now lives in France, and her images draw on a large selection of artists such as Jeff Wall, Guy Bourdin, Stephen Shore and Francis Bacon. This year the Aesthetica Short Film Festival launches a Fashion Film strand and Roy has also produced a number of these glamorous short films. She speaks to us about her narrative construction and the benefits of fashion film.
This year at the Art Paris Art Fair there was a dizzyingly fascinating gathering of art galleries from around the world. China was the guest of honour, after Russia last year. In front of the Grand Palais entrance to the art fair lay a rusting metal fist larger than a man: its tantalisingly paradoxical political image suggested both oppressive power and the severing of that power from the arm that propels it.
“I was born at the same time as video” – a viewer reads a memo in a dark labyrinth of the first retrospective of American video artist Bill Viola. Recently opened at the Grand Palais until 21 July, it shows off twenty works and is the first video art exhibition at the National Galleries. The retrospective revolves around three open philosophical questions: Who am I? Where am I? Where am I going? The experience of going to the exhibition visit is conceived as a journey, however, the artworks, as precious artifacts, are not called to give the answers, but to pose the questions.
One of the main programmes for the 60th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (1 to 6 May 2014), entitled Memories Can’t Wait – Film without Film, will bring together works that take place in a cinema but play with the normal viewing situation. Many of these works move away from the traditional moving image projection. So what happens in the cinema when the key element of the movie-going experience – the film itself – is taken away, when the screen is blank, when memories are evoked or “impossible films” presented? In one of the most extensive programme of “filmless films” so far, Oberhausen will present over 30 historical and new pieces that explore this question. Film without Film is curated by Mika Taanila, one of the most renowned contemporary Finnish artists and filmmakers. We speak to Taanila about his latest project.
Since the 10th Unilever Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern back in 2009, this is Miroslaw Balka’s first solo show with new works in London and his fourth at White Cube gallery. Titled DIE TRAUMDEUTUNG 25,31m AMSL after Sigmund Freud’s book The Interpretation of Dreams (1899), the Mason’s Yard exhibition runs with another parallel exhibition of the Polish artist at the Freud Museum in Northwest London, DIE TRAUMDEUTUNG 75,32m AMSL. The accompanying numerals in both titles refer to the altitude (height above sea level) of each venue respectively.
This April there are a number of outstanding art exhibitions on display across the world, and we take a look at the best shows open this weekend. Munich’s Haus der Kunst focuses on the wide-ranging works of Ellen Gallagher, while the city gates open in Glasgow for the start of the sixth international festival. Catch the first weekend of the Saatchi Gallery’s re-joining of Africa and Latin America in Pangaea, or follow the themes of social unrest with Welcome to Iraq at South London Gallery, and across the Atlantic there’s SFMOMA’s Public Intimacy, a revelation of the politics entwined in the everyday of South Africa.