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’.
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.
Grace Schwindt’s Only a free individual can create a free society is a captivating feature-length film installation currently in place at Site Gallery, Sheffield. Running until 28 February, the piece has been co-commissioned by the gallery and explores the radical left-wing politics of Germany in the 1960s-1970s. Within the gallery, the set was simplistic – a single road mapped out in black material, with white either side of it, set against the distinctive backdrop of a city skyline. The words of the feature were spoken in unison by no more than a handful of actors dressed in lavish and bizarre costume. At times, it seemed to channel a shared consciousness of society, yet, at others, a mere singular voice. The collective vs. the individual played throughout the show, which examined a foreign society to our own. The chant itself sounded magical, as though it were a séance, and now and then a new character would speak once again.
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.
The Tell-Tale Heart, a group exhibition curated by Pilar Corrias (London), Leo Xu Projects (Shanghai) and K11 Art Foundation, will open on 13 March to coincide with Art Basel’s Hong Kong fair. The show will feature new works from a line-up of internationally acclaimed artists, including Rirkrit Tiravanija and Ian Cheng.
Argentine author and theater director, Mariano Pensotti, is best known for creating theatre that explores the tension between fiction and reality. The director is heralded as one of the most important experimental directors and writers in Argentina, who creates theatre written for the stage as well as site-specific performances for public places.
The Hayward Gallery has put on a brave set of displays curated by seven artists, who each look at elements of British history from 1945 to the present day. Running until 26 April, the central part of the exhibition is deeply political. This section of the show openly and proudly displays a fusion of art with contemporary politics. “Ulster is Protestant” and “We stand by the IRA” are just two statements Conrad Atkinson included in his piece Northern Ireland 1968 – May Day 1975 (1975-76). In 126 photographs and statements typewritten onto orange, white and green card, Atkinson takes the visitor on a journey through the “troubles” where Catholic and Protestant both uphold their political campaigns through graffiti on the streets of Northern Ireland. One anonymous statement that stands out is: “Northern Ireland has a problem for every solution”. This display highlights the idea that art should create questions, and ask the viewer to explore.
This weekend’s 5 To See reflects on photography, looking at several large-scale exhibitions as well as more personal and subjective projects. Tate St Ives presents its largest display of photography, spanning several continents and decades to chart the development of Modern Art practises. João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva present a Western African voodoo ritual from the perspective of the performers, whilst Renzo Martens questions the ethical integrity of Western journalists documenting African poverty. The CAM Houston blurs lines of performance and real world encounters, and Iveta Vaivode connects with her family home on a personal journey.
Encounters, comprising of 20 large-scale projects by artists from across Asia and beyond, opens to the public on 15 March. A sector of Art Basel‘s Hong Kong show, this year’s edition of Encounters will present artworks from a wide selection of countries including Indonesia, Germany and the United States.
In a career spanning more than 50 years, Mimmo Rotella experimented with a number of different working methods, trying to overcome the traditional languages of expression and representation. This exhibition at Robilant + Voena, London, curated by Antonella Soldaini, brings together work from across his entire career, demonstrating an array of forms and styles which remain as powerful now as they ever were.
Issue 63 of Aesthetica hits shop shelves 1 February. In the February / March edition we explore innovation through experimentation with the new. Moving outside of comfort zones can be invigorating. It’s in these moments that we have the opportunity to embrace fresh ideas and apply them to everyday life. Drawing upon a range of influences can create something entirely original and interdisciplinary. Each artist featured in this issue follows that ideology. Many of the practitioners are people that have backgrounds in other areas but have moved between art forms and disciplines cross-pollinating their output along the way.
In Nottingham Contemporary‘s latest exhibition, 20 international artists reflect upon the ecological, economic, political, and cultural crises of our modern world, opening up topics such as the current and catastrophic climate change, runaway global warming, and environmental destruction worldwide. Rights of Nature reveals how contemporary art contributes to the global rethinking of our species’ relationship with other living things – upon whose regeneration and survival our future depends.
There’s plenty to get involved with this weekend in the art world. Ronchini Gallery, London, is home to the UK’s first solo exhibition of Pier Paolo Calzolari, an influential figure in the Arte Povera movement. The works of Michelangelo Antonioni are compiled with new contemporary photography to explore themes of voyeurism and media theory from the 1960s to the present day. Meanwhile, the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014 showcase is still available to view, using a plethora of new media to explore current affairs, human nature, and desire.
Sidsel Christensen, Andrew Leventis and Lisa Slominski: We Never Dream Alone, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London
In We Never Dream Alone, works by Sidsel Christensen, Andrew Leventis and Lisa Slominski see the borders between real and unreal, fact and fiction, virtual and visceral, and blurred and explored. Diverse media, from video and painting to installation, bind together the diverse yet complementary practices of these three artists, as each navigates the ‘other’ space.
The UK’s premier fair for Modern and contemporary British art opens for its private view today. Situated in the Business Design Centre, Islington, the 27th edition of the London Art Fair will be on view to the public 21-25 January. With 128 exhibtors from across the world, the fair gives a unique overview of the art world and has an exiting programme of curated exhibitions, talks, films and performances. There are a number of highlights at this year’s event, including the inaugural Art Projecs Artist Award and the premiere of William Mackrell’s North South live performance on 22 January.
This is a bold, provocative exhibition of the work of emerging artist, Nástio Mosquito. Exciting, contemporary and devoid of delineation, his work defies categorisation and points towards a new culture of art that combines pop, performance, fine art and politics. Hailing from the broadcast industry, where he worked previously as director and cameraman, this is Mosquito’s first solo exhibition.
Throughout his practice, Los Angeles-based artist Kevin Cooley considers our evolving relationship with technology, nature, and ultimately each other. The underlying conceptual framework of his work is how these forces contend with each other and how we exist among them. His art is currently on display at Ryan Lee Gallery, New York, until 21 February.
For its 20th anniversary, FutureEverything is not staging a retrospective, but a platform for a global community to collaboratively reflect on the bleeding edges of art, academia, design and business. This year, the pioneering digital culture Festival will feature new commissions, installations, conference speakers, film screenings and live events. In Manchester city, The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) will be the hub for the art, live and film programmes, while FutureEverything Conference returns to the neo-gothic Manchester Town Hall for inspiring talks from internationally renowned speakers and hands-on workshops.
During December 2014, the small fishing town of Kochi in South India’s state of Kerala, was besieged by the international art crowd as the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 (KMB) opened its second edition. India’s first and currently only biennale of contemporary art, the first edition saw a total of 400,000 visitors (just 60,000 less than the Venice Biennale) over its three month run, giving this hotly awaited second edition a lot to aspire to. Unveiling a multi-venue exhibition of 100 works by 94 artists from 30 countries, not including the numerous collateral projects initiated by independents, KMB’s second edition began with a very promising start.
In the run up to the 2015 General Election, History Is Now will look at the last 70 years of British history to offer a new way of thinking about how we got to where we are today, considering everything from the Cold War and post-Thatcherite society, feminism and protest movements, to ‘mad cow disease’ and celebrity culture. Seven UK based artists – John Akomfrah, Simon Fujiwara, Roger Hiorns, Hannah Starkey, Richard Wentworth, and Jane and Louise Wilson – will curate sections of the exhibition, looking at particular periods dating back to 1945.
The practice of photographer and film maker Ori Gersht addresses post war trauma by documenting the landscapes that have witnessed it. Don’t Look Back revisits three bodies of work that capture landscapes that have been the scene of atrocities; their their beauty and serenity sitting in juxtaposition with these previous horrors.
Described as a “grotto of visual excess” Julie Verhoeven’s exploration of gender identity past and present is a disturbing explosion of vulgar kitsch and womanhood. Invited to take over the Fox Reading Room at the ICA, the fashion designer has combined film, illustration and mixed media sculpture to create a surreal installation that is both disconcerting yet provocative.
Subscriptions to Aesthetica are now available from as little as £12 in the January Sale, providing readers with a chance to save 50% on subscriptions in the new year and enjoy 12 months of the latest news in contemporary art and culture, direct to their home.
This group show curated by Peter J. Amdam brings together artists who accentuate how art operates in an era of new media, and in a world which is both human and non-human at the same time. The exhibition looks at the way in which the internet stores, directs and administers our memories, dreams, affections, desires and beliefs; how it organises the same matter that art has attempted to explore and catalogue for centuries.
Manual Cinema‘s Mementos Mori is a feature-length cinematic shadow play that combines overhead projectors, intricate paper puppets, sound effects, a live onstage chamber ensemble, and live actors to discuss digital culture and our relationship with death and dying. The piece weaves together three intersecting narratives: an elderly film projectionist finding romance with a mysterious stranger; a bike messenger exploring the afterlife using her iPhone; and a seven-year-old discovering her own mortality.
This new work by award-winning New York based artist Penelope Umbrico continues her exploration into the consumption of photographs online, particularly focusing on the persistence of sunset imagery.
The beginning of the 20th century was an era of new technology, artistic ingenuity and creative entrepreneurship — comparable to today’s world where developments in the field of digital imagery succeed one another rapidly. This winter EYE highlights one of the most interesting periods in film history, through the collection of one of the biggest Dutch names in the field of theatrical film screening and distribution, Jean Desmet (1875-1956).
For their first major show in London, Portuguese artists João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva will present a magical, immersive film installation. Their kaleidoscopic world created by 27 16mm films and two camera obscura installations, takes viewers on an imaginative journey into science, philosophy and religion with each film examining a particular consideration of material, animal or human behaviour that probes at the nature of truth and perception.
For Sophie Calle’s first solo exhibition in China, the artist has covered an entire wall with images from her Cash Machine project. The piece first originated in 1988 and was extended 15 years later with the 30 minute film Unfinished. Calle used the video camera recordings of an American bank, which depicted clients going about their business, first as a series of stills and then as material to interview bank workers.
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.
For the 12th year, London Short Film Festival returns with an outstanding programme of events and short films. Running 9 – 18 January at ICA, Hackney Picturehouse and Oval Space, the festival aims to be as confrontational as ever and prove that the UK is truly a hotbed of film creativity. This year, LSFF received an 1,500 submissions in total, including international submissions for the first time, as such the event is sure to showcase the innovation of short filmmakers today.
Moving sites in spring 2015, Manchester-based cross art form organisation, Cornerhouse, closes its current space with nine international artists, filmmakers and musicians celebrating the iconic venue: Rosa Barba, Niklas Goldbach, Andy Graydon, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Gabriel Lester, Naomi Kashiwagi, Shannon Plumb, Humberto Vélez and Jan St Werner.
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.
For those who are passionate about contemporary art and culture, Aesthetica Magazine is the ultimate guide for keeping up-to-date with the latest news from the international art scene. Order a Gift Subscription for someone special this Christmas and save 20% off newsstand prices while also benefiting from a free gift wrapping service and a chance to write a personal message.
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.
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.
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.