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.
One of the greatest tests of the power of pictures and words to explain reality must be the Jewish holocaust. We’ve seen images of emaciated bodies and heard survivors describe their ordeals. The pain we feel, we know, is only a faint replica of theirs. This is what we can know: the concept – the systematic elimination of an entire race; the terrifying detail – babies thrown against walls, people digging their own mass graves; and statistics – the extermination of 6 million Jews. But these lead us only to mute incomprehension. The philosopher, Theodore Adorno, may have alluded to this impenetrable silence when he wrote that there could be no poetry after Auschwitz.
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.
Art Brussels returns for its 33rd year this April. As in previous years, galleries will be presented in different sections, with the addition of DISCOVERY, which will feature 14 galleries who represent lesser-known and emerging artists that have yet to find exposure in Europe. Ahead of the opening, we speak to artistic director Katerina Gregos about her favourite parts of this year’s fair and her work with not-for-profit spaces.
Wales is presenting its first solo exhibition by a female artist at the Venice Biennale this year. The Arts Council of Wales has selected Helen Sear to represent Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice at the 56th International Art Exhibition. Curated by Ffotogallery, …the rest is smoke will feature works which connect the local landscapes of Wales to the context of the Biennale. Sear is widely regarded as one of Wales’ most significant contemporary artists, having lived and worked there since 1984. Her body of work explores the crossing of boundaries between photography and fine art, and she was joint winner of the visual art prize at the National Eisteddfod in 2011.
More than 50 photographs, recently acquired from the Black Cultural Archives, document the experiences of black people in Britain during the second half of the 20th century, an area previously under-represented in the V&A’s 500,000-strong photographic collection. These photographs are coupled with works from 17 artists, as well as oral histories gathered by Black Cultural Archives from the photographers themselves, their relatives, and the people captured on camera.
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.
Fotomuseum Winterthur launches its new exhibition programme titled SITUATIONS. This innovative platform offers a unique perspective on photographic culture in the digital age. Promoting itself as a new exhibition format, SITUATIONS challenges the boundaries of artistic interaction in the physical realm through an integration of the real with the virtual.
This year Art Paris Art Fair showcased Asian art, once again demonstrating how inventive and abundant the art scene in Asia still is. Of all the artists represented, Korean artists were the most eye-catching. Galerie Géraldine Banier hosted artists like the Korean Jung Min Choi whose wire sculptures added a delicate note of poetry. With its wire spider hanging above orange-tipped wire flowers, his Hommage à Louise is intended as a miniature, non-macabre nod to Louise Bourgeois.
Armenity: Contemporary Artists from the Armenian Diaspora, The National Pavilion for the Republic of Armenia, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice
The National Pavilion for the Republic of Armenia opens at the 56th edition of the Venice Biennale on 6 May. This year, Armenia will focus on the curatorial concept of Armenity, a complex theme which reflects heavily on the centenary of the Armenian Genocide. As part of the country’s commemorations, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia has dedicated its pavilion to contemporary artists from the Armenian diaspora. Works selected for the exhibition will encompass the notions of displacement and territory, justice and reconciliation, and ethos and resilience.
British-born Cig Harvey, now a resident of Maine and a full-time artist after a decade teaching art in Boston, uses photography to reveal the complexities underlying everyday life and our relationships with family and friends. Her work is filled not only with a sense of uncertainty but with moments of sheer elation at the beauty of things. Though her practice is deeply personal – with family members including her young daughter featuring in her latest project – Harvey’s ability to create a visual narrative has also led her to work on innovative international campaigns and features for New York Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar Japan, Kate Spade, and Bloomingdales.
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.
This spring, a series of free lunchtime talks from leading art figures including curators and artists will run alongside the Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition at York St Mary’s, presenting an unique opportunity to hear directly from industry leaders. Speakers include John Keane, Winner of the Main Prize, who will begin the series on 9 April with a discussion of his practice and, specifically, the four paintings from the Fear series selected for this exhibition. Other speakers include Dr Sam Lackey, Curator at The Hepworth Wakefield; Sarah Perks, Artistic Director (Visual Art) HOME; and Marcus Lyon, Aesthetica Art Prize shortlisted artist.
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.
For the 35th edition of The AIPAD Photography Show, 89 of the world’s leading fine art photography galleries will present a wide range of museum-quality work, including contemporary, modern, and 19th century photographs as well as photo-based art, video, and new media.
This year’s edition of the Venice Biennale is fast-approaching. To celebrate the forthcoming Biennale, we take a look at our feature on Alfredo Jaar, who, in 2013, represented Chile at the esteemed event. In Issue 53, we spoke to curator Madeleine Grynsztejn about Latin American art and Jaar’s installation Venezia, Venezia.
The fifth edition of the Milan Image Art Fair, dedicated to photography, will open in the new location of Porta Nuova Varesine this April. The event will take place in The Mall, a centre nestled among the skyscrapers that have changed the city skyline, which has become a symbol of the new Milan. A section on the main themes of Expo 2015 will be presented as part of the fair. This year sees the richest and most wide-ranging edition of MIA Fair with an anticipated 145 exhibitors and a broad cultural programme, all directed by Fabio Castelli.
Our 5 To See This Weekend features not to be missed exhibitions around the world, reflecting on personal and national narratives. The Henri Cartier Bresson Foundation presents Pieter Hugo’s latest photography collection for the first time in France, while in London at the Serpentine Galleries, Pascale Marthine Tayou presents his first solo show in the capital.In a retrospective of the multifaceted work of Björk, the Museum of Modern Art exhibition draws on over 20 years of daring innovation of the internationally-acclaimed singer, composer and musician. The Site Gallery, Sheffield, showcases Rory Pilgrim’s work that explores the potential that words have as the relationship between people, technology and language develops. Finally, Liu Wei’s Colors features a constellation of new works by the internationally renowned artist at Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing.
Fashion, when not falling under the category of Anna Wintour’s “dirty word” trend, can be iconic and timeless. Even more timeless than the high-end garments themselves are the photographs taken to capture their elegance. Fashion photography has been evolving over the past 100 years, and Mayfair’s LUMAS gallery is currently shining light on the genre’s masterpieces in a preview for a few short days before opening the official exhibition across its 35 galleries around the world.
The Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition is open to the public. On display at York St Mary’s until 31 May, the Art Prize is a celebration of excellence in contemporary art from across the world. Championing and supporting the work of both established and emerging artists, it is an important opportunity for practitioners to showcase innovative concepts and pioneering designs to a wider audience. The annual award, now in its eight year, is currently accepting submissions in a wide range of disciplines.
John Keane was announced as the winner of the Main Prize for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2015 at the exhibition preview at York St Mary’s yesterday evening. Keane rose to national prominence in 1991 when he was appointed as the official British war artist during the Gulf War, and has continued to investigate the most pressing political questions of our time while producing portraits of notable individuals such as Mo Mowlam, John Snow and Kofi Annan.
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.
North American photographer Garry Winogrand has been cited as the central photographer of his generation, named alongside greats such as Walker Evans and Robert Frank. For his first major retrospective in 25 years, Fundacion Mapfre combines the most iconic works and previously unseen gems from his near 70 year career.
Our 5 To See This Weekend reveals fascinating insights into the creative world. Nick Waplington’s backstage photographs from Alexander McQueen’s final show reveal the couturier’s raw energy as he finalised designs on Horn of Plenty (2009), and MACBA presents the previously unseen collage collection of writer Osvaldo Lamborghini. A series of artists at ICA Philadelphia consider the margins of history in Traces in the Dark, and Paul Seawright’s latest series of photographs highlights the lack of mobility in the USA which lies beneath the American Dream.
Fine art photography gallery LUMAS has announced an exclusive event showcasing limited editions of iconic works by the foremost fashion photographers of the 21st century, which will introduce previously unreleased masterpieces to the public. The gallery will be premièring 10 new works, including Edward Steichen’s legendary portrait of actress Gloria Swanson.
Charlie Smith London presents new work by artist Tom Butler in his second solo show this year, Inhabitants. The exhibition, which opened to the public on 20 Febuary, will be on display until 28 March. After exhibiting across Europe and America, Butler’s latest show builds on the ongoing series of appropriated Victorian cabinet cards. Each subject is transformed as the artist paints the cards with intricate and delicate gouache, engaged with an inexplicable shape, pattern or species.
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.
As we enter the final week countdown until the Aesthetica Art Prize opens at York St Mary’s, we speak to Irish artist Suzanne Mooney to learn more about her shortlisted pieces Come Away, O’… and Tokyo Summit A. Living and working in Japan, Mooney’s visual arts practice explores human perceptions of natural and manmade landscapes. Transferring an interest in organic scenery to the constructed environment of Tokyo, the artist examines cityscapes through the eyes of an urbanite. Taking into account themes of globalisation and urbanisation, Mooney uses photography and installation to stimulate new dialogues between city-dwellers and their surroundings, whilst drawing comparisons between natural and manmade ways of life.
Darren Baker Gallery opened summer 2014 and works to promote both established and emerging artists. Named after the artist in residence, the gallery aims to break down the barriers between artist and audience. Baker has spent the last two decades perfecting a hyperrealist technique. Gallery manager, Agnieszka Perche, speaks to Aesthetica about her appreciation of Baker’s work and the company’s upcoming exhibition programme.
Fine art photographer Anna Lilleengen was longlisted in last year’s Aesthetica Art Prize with her piece Sublime Forest. Based in Yorkshire and Sweden, Lilleengen uses a physical process and deteriorating camera to create sculptural pieces that explore transient states of being and materiality. We catch up with her a year on to find out where the prize has taken her after her work was published in the Aesthetica Art Prize Anthology. Developments include funding from Arts Council England and her first commissioned public art piece in Rothwell, near Leeds.
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.
Edmund Clark’s work has always explored politics on a domestic scale, through photography, found imagery and text. His most recent series have explored the War on Terror and 2014 collection, The Mountains of Majeed, is currently on display at Flowers Gallery, London. The arresting images examine the experiences of the military personnel who have been engaged in “Operation Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan.
The exhibitions in our 5 To See This Weekend are not to be missed. The Royal Academy of Arts in London has brought together works by Ruben, Picasso and Van Dyck to show visitors the legacy of portraiture, and the BALTIC remembers the accessible and detailed work of Jason Rhoades. An exhibition of Alec Soth’s photography reveals a backstory of posing as a newspaper reporter, which he later detaches from a news-story context to generate stand-alone pieces. Meanwhile, Galerie des Galeries invites visitors to enter an immersive, theatrical space generated by painter Karina Bisch’s large-scale works on canvas.
Art Fair Tokyo returns this spring, running 20-22 March. The event enters into its 10th year and to celebrate this milestone event graphic designer Masayoshi Kodaira has produced the visuals for the fair, creating a “window” to look at the future of Tokyo. With just five years until the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the design invites people to re-examine their perception of Tokyo in anticipation of this sporting and cultural event.
Our 5 To See This Weekend reveals new perspectives in exhibitions across the world. From Florence Henri’s prominent (if later forgotten) role in the 20th-century disciplines of photography to Stephen McKenna’s response to his travels in modern Europe, we see a range of personal and technical development. Dawei Dong’s fascination with the beginning of things perfectly marks his solo debut in Hong Kong, whilst at the Camden Arts Centre Ruth Ewan discusses the French Rationalist Calendar in modern societies rejection of a nationwide religion.
The Aesthetica Art Prize is a celebration of excellence in art from across the world and offers artists the opportunity to showcase their work to wider audiences. Now in its eighth year, the Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition and anthology unites a dynamic selection of emerging and established international practitioners. This year’s longlist of artists includes Chilean-born practitioner Carolina Redondo.
Walking Legs, is one of Parisian photographer Guy Bourdin’s most loved campaign series, commissioned initially by French shoe designer – and longstanding friend, collaborator, client – Charles Jourdan. Shot against quintessentially English home, town and country landscapes, this high-end 1979 campaign is surely an unusual one – comprising a range of disembodied mannequin legs which appear to be strutting along proudly in their glimmering designer heels.