Jason Covert was longlisted in the Aesthetica Art Prize with his work Excavation, an ultra-personal journey through one man’s fears. Spanning media including film, photography and sculpture, Covert is a multimedia artist based in New York. Solo exhibitions include Excavation (2014) and The Bridge (2012) at Hionas Gallery, New York; and group shows at Ann Street Gallery, SCOPE pavilion and LACDA Gallery, while his work is also held in numerous private collections. We speak to Jason about his practice, inspirations and upcoming projects.
This weekend’s exhibition round-up traverses the divide between art and politics, appearance and reality to explore fresh perspectives of history and human experience and to challenge the narratives which shape our lives, our sense of self, and our perceptions of the world around us according to these paradigms. From New York to London, Madrid to Dublin, we reflect on some of this season’s most innovative and enticing displays taking place across the world. Beginning with 20th century post-war photography in The Modern Eye at Edwynn Houk Gallery and moving onto fascinations with the American South at ICA Boston, our 5 to See features a fantastic selection of exhibitions to discover.
Jacqueline Hassink’s View, Kyoto, is a serene and powerful series of photographs depicting 34 of Kyoto’s 1,600 Zen Buddhist temples and gardens, captured over the past 10 years and across the course of the seasons. Hassink’s works bring a human point of view to these linear, dynamic environments as her lens is positioned at standing height or as if sitting on the tatami mat, pausing in doorways and upon the veranda between temple and garden.
The Aesthetica Art Prize is a celebration of excellence in art from across the world. The annual award offers artists the opportunity to showcase their work to wider audiences and further their involvement in the international art world. To mark its current call for entries, we shine a spotlight on longlisted artist Annina Roescheisen. Selected for her film What are you Fishing for? (2014), Roescheisen describes herself as a multimedia practitioner who looks to iconographies from the past for inspiration.
Our 5 To See This Weekend features some of the top exhibitions currently on display around the world. From The Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, which celebrates more than 30 international artists redefining “the image of woman” during that period, to Magda Biernat’s tranquil Adrift photography series on display at the Robert Klein Gallery in Boston. Our 5 To See This Weekend is our guide to the best exhibitions on offer right now.
In 2011, Haunch of Venison, London, showcased a collection of work by the highly acclaimed director and photographer, Wim Wenders. Featured in Aesthetica Issue 40, the exhibition highlighted the artist’s distinctive style and sensitive imagery. Now, in celebration of Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast‘s upcoming show Wenders, Landscapes, Photographs in Düsseldorf, which appears in the current edition, we reflect on Places, strange and quiet from the Aesthetica archive.
HOME is an international centre for contemporary visual arts, theatre and film, whose opening programme features new commissions and international collaborations as well as off-site and interdisciplinary productions that represent a new and dynamic force in the UK’s arts scene and beyond.
The fifth edition of the BAFTA Qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) is currently open for submissions. The festival champions artists’ filmmaking, with strands in artists’ film, experimental, documentary and dance, and last year ASFF welcomed Steven Bode, Director of Film and Video Umbrella and Maggie Ellis, Head of Film London’s Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN), among other leading art professionals to share their expertise with filmmakers and audiences through masterclasses and hosted networking sessions.
Creating artworks and performances that traverse genres and mediums, Bruce Nauman defies classification and stands as one of the most influential contemporary artists working today. A selection of multimedia installations, audio-visual pieces, and sculptures are on view at the Fondation Cartier – chosen as together they represent the artist’s multifaceted and ever-evolving practice.
The future can only be imagined by looking back towards the past. In Aesthetica Issue 64 we look for a frame of reference to start from, to unpick, to tease out and then create something entirely new. For example, there would be no digital without analogue and certainly no progress without retrospection. We truly believe that you have to experiment and gather a wide range of influences in order to innovate.
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.
Today marks the exhibition preview of the Aesthetica Art Prize 2015, with the show opening to the public from 10am tomorrow. Taking place in the historic setting of York St Mary’s, the exhibition champions excellence in contemporary art from around the world. The eight artists selected for exhibition hail from Japan, Germany, Australia and the UK, and were chosen from over 3,500 submissions from 60 countries worldwide.
140 galleries from 20 countries will converge at Paris’ colossal Grand Palais for an art fair focusing on new discoveries, including a plethora of modern and contemporary art forms as well as design, photography and art books.
Four of the UK’s leading galleries will host new works by 30 of the most talented emerging artists as part of the New Art West Midlands 2015 fair. All of the artists presented at the event have graduated from one of the region’s fine art degree courses in the past three years. A collaboration of five universities and four galleries, NAWM is the largest partnership of its kind in the country and the exhibition offers the exciting opportunity for postgraduate artists to exhibit their work alongside collections of national significance.
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.
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.
Encompassing painting, sculpture, installation and film, War Requiem explores victimhood, violence, and the imagination through thick impasto paintings which transform before the eyes into nameless portraits and the broad expanses of emptied battlefields. Hambling’s paintwork is turbulent and emotionally charged, Indian yellow pigment running through the series as bold fanfare, hints of gold and bursts of fire.
To mark International Women’s Day today, we celebrate women in film with an interview with Qatari Filmmaker Sarah Al-Derham. At just 22-years-old, Al-Derham has already directed six films and seen them screened at the Gulf Film Festival, Ajyal Youth Film Festival and Doha Tribeca Film Festival. Al-Derham seeks to highlight the role of women in Qatari society and she speaks to us about her hopes for the future and her work in the industry.
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.