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.
MANIFESTA 10, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
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 Tyrannosaurus Rex. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Piano Brothers are not brothers by blood but by divine, energetic and rich music that is accessible to everyone. Bound together by the love of all-encompassing music, Dominic Anthony Ferris and Elwin Hendrijanto began performing together in 2009 whilst studying at the Royal College of Music. In the last five years they have worked hard to become one of the most sensational piano duos in London’s notoriously difficult to rise and shine music scene through their innovative outlook on how music, life and people should be brought together under one roof.
The notion of an entire wing of the Guggenheim Bilbao being dedicated to Film & Video phased me at first. Though increasing numbers of modern art installations seem to feature moving imagery, never had I encountered a space dedicated solely to the form. Don’t get me wrong: I consider myself a card-carrying cinephile. However, I am aware that, as the notion of ”art” becomes more porous, its boundaries, if it is to maintain its integrity, require policing, a point restated forcefully by Grayson Perry in his Reith Lectures. Surely this is a problem as much for cinematic as for fine art: where does film stop being cinema and start being “Film & Video”?
In the 21 years since Meltdown’s inception, the festival has played host to a conveyor belt of counterculture greats, including David Bowie, Patti Smith, Jarvis Cocker and the late John Peel. This year James Lavelle took the helm, bringing his genre-bending brand of subversion to the director’s chair. With a body of work spanning two decades – and an illustrious address book to match – the trip-hop pioneer and all-round creative powerhouse is known for pairing unlikely bedfellows and taking big risks. This was evident at the Southbank’s Purcell Room, where Olga Bell and Tom Vek united to perform collaborations from joint venture Nothankyou alongside their own solo material.
The theme for the fifth edition of PhotoIreland Festival is Truth, Fact, Fiction, Lies. Looking at how photography is used for storytelling, the festival presents 27 photographers exhibiting in various venues around the city centre.
German artist Sybille Neumeyer stunned judges with her eloquent piece, Song for the Last Queen (2013) in the Aesthetica Art Prize, a beautiful light installation comprised of 7,614 bees collected from a naturally collapsed beehive framed within vials of natural honey. Captivating at first glance, the work also invites audiences to reflect upon global issues and imbalances in our ecosystem; at once appreciating the pure and natural beauty of raw materials while confronting the growing gap between consumption and food production, as bees face an ever-rising risk of decline. We speak to Neumeyer about her practice and what inspired her to enter the Aesthetica Art Prize.