Interview with Artist Roger Ballen

American photographic artist Roger Ballen has spent most of his adult life living in Johannesburg documenting what he calls his “interior”. The startling image-making intercourse with the darker layers of Africa that this entails delivers more than a Roger Ballen Interior; it is the kind of art that hits so hard that it demands a confrontation with the viewer’s interior, too. Having worked for many years as a geologist, Ballen’s work asserts the need to descend to the disturbing dimensions of human experience in order to mine the baffling anatomies of instinct that animate us all. On the cusp of the release of Asylum of the Birds his twelfth book, Ballen talks to Aesthetica about how his artistic evolution is currently in the mood for a party.

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Michel François: Pieces of evidence, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

Michel François is renowned for being a conceptual artist in the fields of sculpture, film, paintings, print and photography. His work illustrates the artists conviction that the meaning of art is determined through its combination with others in relation to an exhibition space. This exhibition, which will be running from 30 April until 22 June 2014, will be integrated throughout the whole Ikon Gallery.

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Arab Contemporary: Architecture, culture and identity

Arab Contemporary is the second in a series of exhibitions by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art focused on the integral connection between cultural identity and architectural design. The exhibition will attempt to draw out unifying themes within the broader cultural notion of an Arab world. In an area divided in religion, politics and landscape, Arab Contemporary examines the effects of architecture in expressing common themes and concerns.

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John Akomfrah, Phoebe Boswell, Rashaad Newsome: Carroll / Fletcher, London

A group exhibition, featuring work from John Akomfrah, Phoebe Boswell and Rashaad Newsome, will run from 7 March until 10 April at the Carroll / Fletcher gallery in Central London. Drawing on issues of identity, class, race and gender, these three artists explore the construction of identity on both a personal and cultural level, working in mixed mediums to tell their own narratives and those of the people around them.

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Jennifer Steinkamp, Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong

Steinkamp is an artist who has been heavily based in the digital media and a pioneer in the world of 3-D animation. Steinkamp’s digitally rendered animations of natural phenomena and movement are projected within the depicted architectural surroundings. This is the artist’s first exhibition in Japan’s capital city. Not only will this exhibition be new for Hong Kong, but it will always feature two new works, which will be on view until 22 March at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in Hong Kong.

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Trisha Baga, Zabludowicz Collection, London

Work by New York-based artist, Trisha Baga, goes on display for the first time in a non-commercial gallery in England at Zabludowicz Collection this February. From 27 February until 11  May the gallery space will house a number of new installations alongside existing works from the Collection. The show will unfold around the dramatic architecture of the Collection’s north London home in a unique sensory experience.

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Yorkshire Festival, 2014

In the 100 days preceding 5 and 6 July, when Yorkshire plays host to the Grand Départ, 47 cultural events will take place across the county backed by Welcome to Yorkshire, Yorkshire Water and the Arts Council England.

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Interview with Artist and Filmmaker Shezad Dawood

Conceptual artist and filmmaker Shezad Dawood will premiere his latest short at the Marrakech Biennale at the end of February. Shot in Morocco’s Sidi Ifni, Towards the Possible Film examines histories of violence and future dystopias, played out across parallel universes. The 20 minute film follows two blue-skinned astronauts who emerge from the sea and are confronted by the desolate landscape’s local inhabitants, a group of post-apocalyptic cavemen, resulting in a tense stand-off and climactic act of violence. Aesthetica spoke to Dawood about Towards the Possible Film and his affinity with Morocco.

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Bristol New Music

Five key organisations across Bristol join forces to present Bristol New Music from 21 February until 23 February. Colston Hall, Arnolfini, Spike Island, St George’s Bristol and the University of Bristol work together to bring the very best international new music to the city, while working to create opportunities for emerging regional artists. Over the weekend in February there will be a stimulating programme of events to showcase a variety of musical talents.

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Walk On – From Richard Long to Janet Cardiff, 40 Years of Art Walking, mac birmingham

Steeped in the tradition of landscape art, walking has been at the heart of many art practices and performances for generations. This exhibition, focusing on both literal and metaphorical artists’ walks and journeys, is the first to examine the astonishingly varied ways in which artists since the late 1960s have used the universal act of taking a walk as a means to explore new realms of creativity. Walk On – From Richard Long to Janet Cardiff, 40 Years of Art Walking opens on 8 February, and brings together the work of almost 40 artists including 2 and 3 dimensional pieces, video and performance.

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5 To See This Weekend

As winter draws on, escape the cold and blustery weather by making the most of some of the world’s best galleries. From painting to sculpture, established artists and up-and-coming talent, our selection of five of the best current exhibitions provide something for all tastes. Whether it is the playful installations of Turner Prize winner Martin Creed, the photography of Diane Arbus exposing an era of American culture, or the exciting new work of Uri Aran, this weekend provides the perfect opportunity to engage with modern art, wherever you are in the world.

Bottega Veneta and Pieter Hugo: The Art of Collaboration

Fashion house, Bottega Veneta, has joined forces with South African photographer, Pieter Hugo, to shoot the Spring /Summer campaign. Every season the new collection is conceived and captured by an exceptional photographer in conjunction within Creative Director Tomas Maier. Other artists to have worked for the house include Alex Prager, Nan Goldin, Sam Taylor-Wood and many more. The Art of Collaboration is a series of films documenting Maier and Hugo’s vision, unifying fashion and art in a stylish and creative film.

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The Jameel Prize 3, V&A, London

“In the Middle East ramshackle cities grow without stopping, while prestige building projects are constructed on an inhuman scale as displays of power.” These are the words found below Modern Times: A history of the machine (2010-2012), an animated piece by Mounir Fatmi – one of the ten shortlisted artists showing at the V&A as part of the Jameel Prize exhibition. Fatmi’s observation is strikingly accurate. Within a presentation formed to celebrate Islamic creativity, he acknowledges the prevalence of a tawdry creative world often lacking in depth.

Infinite City, Zabludowicz Collection, London

Infinite City is a group exhibition featuring works from two private collections: the Zabludowicz Collection (located in London, New York, and Sarvisalo, Finland) and Kadist Art Foundation (located in San Francisco and Paris). Running 27 February until 11 May, the exhibition takes a look at the city as material, responding to it as a site and situation for the contemporary lived experience. The featured artists are: Michel Auder, Slater Bradley, Martin Boyce, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, John Menick, Enrique Metinides, Yelena Popova, Amie Siegel and Kelley Walker.

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Read Aesthetica on Your iPad, iPhone and Android Devices

You can now read Aesthetica Magazine wherever you are with our new digital subscriptions accessible via iPad, iPhone and Android devices. A bi-monthly publication, Aesthetica brings you the latest news in contemporary art and culture. It is the ultimate destination for discovering industry developments, ground-breaking exhibitions and world-class artists.

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Art14 London

At the end of February Art14 London will return  to Olympia Grand, welcoming over 180 galleries from 40 countries. Running from 28 February until 2 March, the fair brings together contemporary and modern art from all over the world, including regions such as Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Established and emerging artists from cities such as Lagos, Berlin, Beijing, Dubai, Buenos Aires, Osaka, Mumbai and São Paulo will be celebrated in this diverse event. There will also be a programme of talks, performances and collaborations with top London chefs. 

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Artangel Open

Since its launch in 1999, the Artangel initiative, Open, has sought to commission outstanding works of art by artists working and living in the UK. In partnership with BBC Radio 4, Artangel Open showcases work across multiple locations and forms of media, including film, sculpture, sound installation and much more.

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Dallas Biennial

For the Dallas Biennial 2014 (DB14) over 50 national and international artists come together to exhibit work in multiple venues across Dallas. Running for four months until 31 May, DB14 fills Texas with exhibitions, performances and lectures. Making the event accessible to everyone, work is displayed in non-profit spaces, galleries, warehouses, artist-run spaces, corporate offices, on a billboard and in a magazine.

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Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh

The Dhaka Art Summit pioneers initiative for South Asian art which brings together artists, curators, galleries and visitors from across Bangladesh and the world. A major non-profit platform, the event was conceived to support museum-quality exhibits in Bangladesh, the development of South Asian art and international artistic exchange.

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Aesthetica Issue 57 February/March Out Now

Experimentation is the key component to innovation. It’s essential to try new things and to gather your inspiration from as many sources as possible. This means that you have to step outside of your comfort zone from time to time, and engage with something that you might not normally encounter. Inside Issue 57, we begin with a discussion around the parameters of photography and the role that light, colour and subject play with What Is a Photograph?

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Eric Steel: Kiss the Water

Fly fishing is perhaps not the most popular topic for cinema, yet Eric Steel’s lyrical film, Kiss the Water, shows a new side to this niche hobby by focusing on the devotion and love of one woman to her craft. Reading the obituaries of The New York Times, the story of Megan Boyd, a woman who created intricate and beautiful fishing flies from her cottage in remote Scotland, stood out to Steel. Despite having no knowledge of fishing or Scotland, he was mesmerised by the story behind the woman.

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Art Rotterdam

For its 15th edition, Art Rotterdam has moved to a new location at the Van Nellefabriek. Running 6 – 9 February, the fair now brings together all sections under one roof. The extensive programme includes Main, New Art and Projections, which is the second edition of the innovative video section. In addition to Art Rotterdam, the city becomes a hub for the art industry and a there are numerous pop-up shows, open studios, museum exhibitions and artist presentations. Audiences will have the opportunity to explore the entire location as a free shuttle bus runs between the Van Nellefabriek, the Museum quarter and the Wilhelminapier.

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Review of Ivan Argote: Strengthlessness, Galerie Perrotin, Paris

Ivan Argote is a young Colombian artist, who has been based in France since 2005, where he commenced studies at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Beaux-Arts in Paris. Argote works with a multitude of media, always being provocative in his statements. One of his most widely-known gestures is a graffiti on two Piet Mondrian paintings at Centre Pompidou. Before, he danced to the Cure’s song “Close To You” in front of a black cross by Kazimir Malevich.

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Now Showing: A Group Exhibition of Artists’ Film, Carroll / Fletcher, London

Carroll / Fletcher‘s current exhibition Now Showing is conceived as a journey that explores the fundamental elements constituting filmmaking; each piece investigates experimental approaches towards technical processes, narrative structures and the history and culture of filmic material.

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Black Screen Season: Freedom Riders, Pegasus Theatre

Freedom Riders is powerful and harrowing in equal measure. The film follows the inspirational story of six months that changed America permanently. From May until November of 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives – and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment – for simply travelling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. The piece will screen tonight, 24 January, at the Pegasus, Oxford. 

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John Skoog: Redoubt, Towner Museum and Art Gallery, Eastbourne

Bringing Scandinavian Noir to the English coast is John Skoog’s stark yet poetic film Redoubt. Towner Museum and Art Gallery, Eastbourne, has commissioned the 2013/14 ars viva prize winning photographer and filmmaker to create a film for his first solo UK gallery exhibition. Redoubt will be shown from 25 January to 6 April and will be accompanied by Near Dark, an exhibition curated by Skoog himself.

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Dark Tales, Mead Carney, London

Photographs of well-known faces playing various roles in unusual settings will be on display in Dark Tales, the first solo show by internationally acclaimed Rich Hardcastle at Mead Carney.

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The New York Moment, Saint-Etienne Nouveau Siècle Festival

The third edition of the Saint-Etienne Nouveau Siècle Festival returns to Saint-Priest-en-Jarez, France this spring. Working with the Opéra Théâtre de Saint-Étienne and the Musée d’art moderne, it creates a focal point for contemporary American art through a new strand, The New York Moment, which presents a series of exhibitions that bring together key figures in the New York art scene from the 1970s to today.

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The Hepworth Wakefield and international Dialogues in Art Projects at London Art Fair

Until 19 January, the 26th edition of the London Art Fair, showcasing the best of Modern British and contemporary art, will feature its first museum partnership with The Hepworth Wakefield. As part of this new partnership, the gallery will be exhibiting a unique collection of British Modernism, as well as a brand new collection of international Dialogues to be curated by Adam Carr of MOSTYN in celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the London Art Fair Art Projects series. 

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Kevin Cooley & Phillip Andrew Lewis: Unexplored Territory

Bringing together photographs, photograms, videos, and works on paper, Unexplored Territory is a collection of varied and interconnected work from Kevin Cooley  and Phillip Andrew Lewis. Opening at Kopeikin Gallery on 11 January and running until 22 February, the exhibition seeks to understand how everything has the potential to be simultaneously beautiful and destructive. Utilising the power of representation and  metaphorical analogies, both of the artists offer audiences a unique view  into their artistic spaces without repeating subject matter.

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Laure Prouvost, Contemporary Art Society, London

Having just scooped up 2013′s Turner Prize, the work of Laure Prouvost (b.1978) is now available to catch a glimpse of at the Contemporary Art Society’s 59 Central Street London venue until 17 January 2014. Moving restlessly between disciplines of film, performance, sound and site-specific installation, the exhibition captures the diversity and complexity of this artist whose name has now become a topical buzzword of the contemporary art scene.

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Jerwood Open Forest Exhibition at Jerwood Space, London

The inaugural Jerwood Open Forest exhibition examines art in the environment and what it has the potential to be in its broadest definition. This unique, multisensory exhibition of new work charts the five selected projects over a six-­‐month period of research and development. Juan delGado, Adam James, Amanda Loomes, artist duo Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt) and Chris Watson collaborating with producer Iain Pate, have expanded on the concept of their ambitious proposals, engaging with forest sites across England. In doing so the artists have produced exciting new bodies of work comprising sculpture, film, audio, and performance, which will open on 15 January at Jerwood Space.

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Stan Douglas: Luanda-Kinshasa at David Zwirner, New York

For Stan Douglas‘ 12 solo show at David Zwirner, the artist will debut a new film Luanda-Kinshasa on 9 January, marking the first time the artist has filmed on location in New York. The film is set in a reconstruction of the legendary Columbia 30th Street Studio, which was based in Midtown Manhattan and home to some of the most renowned musical recordings of the 20th century. Operated by Columbia Records between 1949 and 1981 in an abandoned Armenian church on East 30th Street, the studio was popular with artists working across all genres. Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue (1959), Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited (1965), and Pink Floyd’s The Wall (1979) were amongst the seminal records made at “The Church”. Other artists using the studio were Leonard Bernstein, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Glenn Gould, Billie Holiday, Vladimir Horowitz, and Charles Mingus, among many more, with musical genres ranging from classical to musicals, jazz, pop, and rock.

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Interview with Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Awards Nominee Lucy Clout

What Will They See of Me? is the second edition of the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Awards and explores the importance attached to individual expressions of personal identity. The application process for the Awards was open in summer 2013, to artists within the first five years of professional practice. The four successful moving-image artists; Lucy Clout, Kate Cooper, Anne Haaning and Marianna Simnett have been selected for the first stage of the Awards, during which they produce work in response to the title. Aesthetica speaks to Lucy Clout about her approach to the theme and her interest in language. 

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David Lynch: The Factory Photographs, The Photographer’s Gallery, London

Oscar-winning film director David Lynch extends his unique cinematic style to a series of dark and brooding images of derelict factories in David Lynch: The Factory Photographs. The exhibition, opening 17 January at The Photographer’s Gallery, presents more than 80 black and white prints of factories taken by Lynch between 1980 and 2000 in locations including Germany, Poland, New York and England. The photographs were taken while scouting for shooting locations, and each image could easily be the setting of a surreal Lynch film.

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Review of The Lady from the Sea by Thomas-Zanon Larcher and Jules Wright, Wapping Project

The last exhibition to be organised at the Wapping Project in the Wapping Power Station is a collaborative and contemporary take on Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s play The Lady from the Sea in photographic essay and installation form by Thomas-Zanon Larcher and Jules Wright; the latter directed this dramatic play by Ibsen in London and at the National Theatre in Oslo approximately a decade before the millennium. Coinciding with the closure of the breath-taking venue, the exhibition isn’t only poignant because it is one of the most engaging and surreal photographic installations I have seen to date, but also because it celebrates the 125th anniversary of the play Ibsen wrote in 1888.

Siezure, (2008), Roger Hiorns. An Artangel commission. Photo by Marcus Leith.

Artangel Open – Deadline 28 February 2014

Artangel Open is inviting artists working in all media across the UK to submit bold, site-specific proposals that will transform and enrich the UK’s cultural landscape. Championing innovation and creativity is at the heart of this project; a £1 million initiative running in alliance with BBC Radio 4. Deadline for submissions is 28 February 2014.

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Art Projects at London Art Fair 2014

In a new section of Art Projects, a pivotal component of the annual London Art Fair, a series of collaborations between emerging UK and international galleries is to take place. Curated by MOSTYN Wales‘ Adam Carr and entitled Dialogues, this new initiative on display at the Fair from 15-19 January sees galleries and artists join forces, promising a unique exhibition of critical conversations, awash with the excitement of shared ideas and common visuals. Aesthetica partners with the London Art Fair and exclusive copies of the magazine will be available for guests.

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Review of Daniel Crooks Exhibition at Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide

In recent years the cinematic narratives of Daniel Crooks have gained international recognition for their mesmerising visions of time and space. This is Australia’s first survey of the young New Zealand born multi-media artist. It presents several of his most renowned projects in relation to a new site specific commission installed in the main gallery space.

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5 To See This Weekend

Running into the mid-point of December and with just days to go until the all-important business of Christmas truly begins, this weekend is unquestionably the one to take a breather from the festivities to revel in the best exhibitions still on offer at galleries around the world. From stylish fashion illustration to prize-winning portraits, a cobbled road in Bradford to the streets of Italy, there’s plenty going on this Saturday and Sunday to drag you away from the mince pies and Christmas shopping. Here’s five of the best.