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Bonalumi Sculptures, Mazzoleni, London

Curated by Francesca Pola, this exhibition features a selection of significant sculptural works exemplifying the influential six decade career of Italian artist Agostino Bonalumi (1935-2013). The bold sculptures and inventive canvases of this pivotal figure of Post-War Italian Art helped to shape the course of Abstract Art, alongside artists such as Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani who sought to blur the boundaries between the two and three dimensional.

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The Plot Thickens, 35th Anniversary Exhibition, Fraenkel gallery, San Francisco

Comprised of 100 photographs acquired and assembled over the last five years, The Plot Thickens celebrates the 35th anniversary of Fraenkel gallery. The exhibition revels in the richness of the photographic medium through works by its greatest masters interwoven with prints by the unknown, the majority of which are being exhibited for the first time.

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Jonathan Monk: I ♥ 1984, Lisson Gallery, London

British artist Jonathan Monk replays, revises and re-examines works of Conceptual and Minimal art by acts of witty, ingenious and irreverent appropriation.Through wall paintings, monochromes, ephemeral sculpture and photography he pays homage to leading figures of the art world such as Sol LeWitt, Ed Ruscha, Bruce Nauman and Lawrence Weiner, reflects on the tendency of contemporary art to devour references and asks of it “what next?”

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Maria Friberg: Communicate Over Vast Distances, Pi Artworks, London

For Maria Friberg’s first solo exhibition with Pi Artworks, the gallery has curated a selection of photographic and video works that span the last 10 years. Friberg belongs to a generation of Scandinavian artists often referred to as the Nordic Miracle, a name coined in the late 90’s after a seminal survey exhibition at the Musee d’art Moderne, Paris.

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Interview with Corinne Demas, Short Fiction Winner in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

Corinne Demas is an award-winning author with 30 books to her name, including five novels, two short story collections, a memoir, a collection of poetry, and numerous books for children, as well as two plays. Her short story Thanksgiving inspired by the return of adult siblings to their childhood home for Thanksgiving is the winning entry for the 2014 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award. We speak to Demas about her writing projects, past and future.

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Manual Cinema: Mementos Mori, MCA Chicago

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.

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Katy Moran, Parasol Unit Foundation For Contemporary Art, London

In her first major solo presentation in a public London institution, UK-based painter Katy Moran presents a survey of her work from the past 10 years of her practice, curated by Ziba Ardalan, Founder/Director of Parasol unit. Although Moran’s gestural and highly evocative paintings appear to be abstract, the artist is invariably concerned with the figurative. Her ideas arise out of the process of painting as she works with the paint, consciously and subconsciously preserving and rejecting marks until she sees they are alive with the energy that she considers right.

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Penelope Umbrico: Sun/Screen, The Photographers’ Gallery, London

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.

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Jerwood Encounters: The Grantchester Pottery Paints the Stage

The next exhibition in the Jerwood Visual Arts’ Encounters series will be curated by The Grantchester Pottery, an artist collaboration between sculptor Giles Round and painter Phil Root that takes the structural framework of an artist’s decorative arts studio, itself drawing on the historical precedent of Roger Fry’s Omega Workshops. Its manifesto, is to substitute the directly expressive quality of the artist’s handling for the deadness of mechanical reproduction.

Abstract Impressionism and the Flower Power Art Collection- The Work of Sirenes

Sirenes is a Norway based artists that in 2011 had her first solo exhibition in Oslo. Now four years on, who has been exhibited around the world and in various publications. She has always been fascinated by colours and draws inspiration from flowers, clothes and cosmetics to form the basis of her colour combinations. She is inspired to paint through silence and peace and expresses her inner feelings in her my work. She paints directly onto the canvas, always barefoot, often through finger-painting to make each painting absolutely unique.

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Unrivalled Iconography, Hello, my Name is Paul Smith in Aesthetica Magazine

With his trademark stripes, printed shirts, slim-cut suits and quirky trims, Paul Smith has created an inimitable style that transcends each season’s trends and flippancies, always with quality at its core, always with humour in its design. Hello, my name is Paul Smith at the Design Museum, London, celebrates Paul Smith as a company and a creative mastermind. Looking at the impressive scale of its global operation today, the exhibition draws on Paul Smith’s personal archive, from the company’s beginnings to its international prominence today. The show explores how Paul Smith’s intuitive take on design, together with an understanding of the roles of designer and retailer, have laid the foundations for the company’s lasting success and offer a unique insight into the magnificent mind of Paul Smith.

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Nicolás Muller: Traces of exile, Château De Tours, France

Organised by Jeu de Paume in collaboration with the City of Tours, and curated by Chema Conesa, this is the first show in France dedicated exclusively to Hungarian photographer Nicolás Muller; bringing together a hundred images and documents from the archives kept by his daughter Ana Muller.

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Jean Desmet’s Dream Factory: The Adventurous Years of Film (1907- 1916), EYE, Amsterdam

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).

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Murray Fredericks: Recent Works, Hamiltons Galleries, London

For his latest series Australian photographer, Murray Fredericks, travelled alone with a bicycle and trailer, carrying his large format camera and supplies to capture a vast area of Southern Australia in severe weather conditions; taking both a physical and mental toll in order to capture the perfect frames.

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Olafur Eliasson: Contact Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris

Designed by Frank Gehry and having opened to the public in October 2014, Fondation Louis Vuitton is now launching the second phase of its inaugural programme with an expansive exhibition of work by artist and inventor of Little Sun, Olafur Eliasson.

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Mapping the City, Somerset House, London

Mapping the City is an innovative exhibition of works by over 50 rising stars and internationally recognised artists from the street and graffiti art scenes who seek to inspire their audience to re-evaluate their own relationship to the cities in which they live. Curated in collaboration with A(by)P, the display will be complemented by a diverse programme of events including a series of film and music evenings, artists talks, performances and interactive workshops.

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João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva: Papagaio, Camden Arts Centre, London

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.

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Hiroshi Sugimoto: Still Life, Pace Gallery, London

Thirteen large-format photographs from conceptual artist Hiroshi Sugimoto’s ongoing Diorama series, executed between 1976 and 2012, feature far-flung landscapes which initially seem to be documents of the natural world. However, in fact taken from various museum dioramas, the pristine quality and stillness, tonal richness and seemingly infinite palette of blacks, whites, and grays of these large-scale pieces reveal their artificiality.

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Bettina, Galerie Azzedine Alaïa, Paris

This exhibition in the Marais district of Paris looks at Bettina, the signature model of the 1950s, in photographs and sketches from an array of practitioners. The work studies her life, beginning with her childhood spent in Normandy, where she studied painting from an early age; the war spent with her sister and grandmother in Angers, before her grandmother was killed in a bombing raid and the two girls moved to Agen before returning to Elbeuf, where they lived until the Liberation. Bettina emerged from these difficult years, and from several brushes with death, unscathed and perhaps stronger, having learnt that she was naturally fearless.

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Robert Heinecken: Lessons In Posing Subjects, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool

This is to be the first UK exhibition dedicated to the artist Robert Heinecken (1931–2006), widely regarded as one of America’s most influential post-war photographers and a pioneer of 20th century photographic experimentation. Describing himself as a “para-photographer” whose work stood beyond traditional photography, Heinecken rarely used a camera preferring to cut up and rework images found in newsstand and pornographic magazines to create a satire of American consumerism, the use of sex in sales, and the relationship between media and art.

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Don Gummer presents a new work for FAPE’s Site-Specific Collection

In collaboration with Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE), Don Gummer is to present a major site-specific sculpture for the US Embassy in Moscow, Russia, as part of its Site-Specific Collection. Founded in 1986, FAPE is the leading public-private partnership dedicated to providing permanent works of American art for U.S. embassies worldwide through site-specific commissions, original print and photography collections, preservation projects and other arts initiatives.

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Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014, ICA, London

For its 65th anniversary, Bloomberg New Contemporaries arrives at the ICA for the fifth time and selectors Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Enrico David and Goshka Macuga have chosen works by 55 of the most promising artists emerging from UK art schools out of 1,400 submissions. This year printmaking, moving image and performance comprise the majority of the final selection as well as an interest in modes of production and materiality, with artists exploring themes linked to current affairs, human behaviour and desires, the construction of language and narrative, and the ‘body’ in performative practices also takes centre stage.

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Sophie Calle’s First Solo Exhibition in China, Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong

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.

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Claude Rutault, Galerie Perrotin, New York

Incorporating 16 “de-finition/methods”, as well as four new pieces, this collection of works by Claude Rutault is the artist’s first solo exhibition in America following four decades of prominent and influential practice in France. Rutault’s work, beginning with a 1974 show staged at the office of a Parisian psychoanalyst, has consistently approached painting as a social practice embedded in the living relationships between artwork, artist, gallery, collector, museum and auction house.

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Akram Khan Curates One Side to the Other at The Lowry, Salford Quays

Renowned choreographer and dancer, Akram Khan curates the second in The Lowry’s Performer as Curator series, bringing together a personal selection of his influences in the form of sculpture, painting, photography, film, live installation and performance.

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Julie Cockburn: Waiting Room, Flowers Gallery, London

A new series of hand-altered portrait photographs, transformed by embroidered and painted embellishments, study the social territory of everyday encounters between strangers. With this work, Julie Cockburn draws parallels between the equally contemplative spaces of the gallery and the waiting room and looks to the unspoken human interactions that occur here.

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Brancusi: The Photographs, The Margulies Collection, Miami

Brancusi: The Photographs features 29 rare vintage gelatin silver prints from the early 20th century, produced by Brancusi, “one of the greatest artists of the Modern era” according to collector Martin Margulies. This is the first time that Brancusi has been exhibited in Florida, his prints shown alongside the historical sculptures of Miró and Noguchi – who worked as an apprentice in Brancusi’s studio from 1927-29 and was influenced by the master’s abstract forms.

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Paris Magnum, Paris City Hall, Paris

From Henri Cartier Bresson to Martin Parr, Robert Capa and Raymond Depardon, the photojournalists of Magnum Photos immortalise 80 years of the history of Paris in 150 dazzling shots. Paris Magnum reveals the capital’s daring and grand gestures, its revolts and its struggles, its hopes and its victories, and its suffering and passion.

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Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style, IWM London

To mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, this exhibition will explore how fashion survived and even flourished during wartime. In 300 exhibits including clothing, accessories, photographs and film, official documents and publications, artworks, wartime letters, interviews and ephemera, this display will reveal how men and women found new ways to dress as austerity measures and the rationing of clothes took hold. The pieces on show will demonstrate the amazing adaptability and ingenuity of the war-time public, who adopted more casual styles by renovating, recycling and creating their own clothes.

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Bolt Gallery for Russian Art and Design (GRAD), London

GRAD aims to spark new ideas through providing international audiences with insights into Russian art, design and culture. Through costume designs and period photographs, this exhibition explores Bolt, Dmitri Shostakovich’s ballet written in 1931, a musical experimentation full of skulduggery and drunken conspiracy, which was forbidden to stand on stage for 74 years as it was suspected to be a satirical piece, mocking the Soviet authorities. In fact, constructivist values are reflected in all of Bolt, with Shostakovich commissioned by the Moscow Art Theatre to compose the score to a ballet that would serve and support the goals of socialism and communism. Combining circus music, waltzes, marches and tangos together with popular tunes, the composer envisaged the piece to be a celebration of the proletariat.

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5 to See This Weekend

With the holiday season on its way, there’s plenty of time to squeeze in a few of the best exhibitions taking place around the world. From Mike Nelson’s contemplative installation on British and Canadian culture at Tramway, Glasgow, to an insightful and inspiring showcase of photojournalism in the analogue-age at C/O Berlin, we take a look at a selection of new and ongoing shows that experiment with a range of disciplines including painting, installation and photography. Read on to see our favourite picks for the last weekend before Christmas. 

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Review of Pipilotti Rist: Worry Will Vanish Horizon, Hauser & Wirth, London

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.

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Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974-1989, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

On 7 February the Hammer Museum presents the first museum survey of LA-based conceptual artist Charles Gaines’ early work. The exhibition, entitled Gridwork 1974-1989, will feature 11 different series of over 80 works and relevant ephemera from the early years of Gaines’ four decade career. A leading practitioner of conceptual art and an influential educator at the California State University, Fresno, Gaines is recognised for his outstanding work in photography and drawing, as well as his use of paper to investigate themes of systems, cognition, and language. 

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Discover Outstanding Contemporary Writing with the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology

Aesthetica champions literary talent from around the world through its annual Prize for short fiction and poetry writers. Now going into its 9th year, the Creative Writing Award is an exciting and dynamic addition to the literary world, and attracts thousands of entries from both established and budding writers. This year’s anthology of selected works is now available to order: this is an opportunity to read inspirational works from award winning authors previously published elsewhere as well as from new writers breaking into the industry.

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London Short Film Festival Announces 2015 Programme

For the 12th year, London Short Film Festival returns with an outstanding programme of events and short films. Running 9 – 18 January at  ICAHackney 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.

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India Art Fair 2015, New Delhi

India’s premier modern and contemporary art fair returns to New Delhi for its 7th edition. Supported by YES Bank, India Art Fair is one of the most important platforms for facilitating creative dialogue and promoting art trade in the region. The 2015 fair, commencing on the 29 January, sees 85 galleries exhibiting across 90 booths, each stand showcasing a breath of modern and contemporary art practices including painting, sculpture, new media, installation and performance art. The upcoming fair promises to offer a curatorial focus on international diversity.

Top 10 Exhibitions in 2014

2014 has been a great year for contemporary art exhibitions. The huge range of practices on display demonstrates the variety of artistic approaches being developed across the world. From Guy Bourdin to Barbara Kruger, Martin Creed to Annette Messager, all of the artists listed here demonstrate both skill and thought. We take a look at the top 10 exhibitions from 2014, considering why these shows were so important.

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Interview with Painter and Sculptor Maggi Hambling, Wall of Water at the National Gallery

Known for her sculptures Scallop (2003) and In Conversation with Oscar Wilde (1998), Maggi Hambling has established herself as one of Britain’s most significant and controversial painters and sculptors. In her latest exhibition Wall of Water, Hambling returns to the National Gallery to celebrate her work in painting, with a vivacious presentation of contemporary seascapes inspired by the gigantic crashing waves the artist experienced at Southwold, Suffolk, in 2010. Running concurrently with the more conventional work of  Norwegian artist Peder Balke (1804-1887), the Wall of Water series bursts with a painterly restlessness, and features exuberantly coloured canvases alongside a group of abrupt, stark monotypes. Aesthetica speaks to Hambling about her ongoing motivations as a painter and sculptor working in Britain.

Joël Tettamanti, Sisimiut, Greenland, 2012. Courtesy of Joël Tettamanti. (12581)

Interview with Photographer Joël Tettamanti, Featured in Aesthetica Issue 62

In the midst of a white snowscape, Joël Tettamanti (b. 1977) finds moments of captivating colour. While travelling across Greenland, he discovered objects and buildings which had managed to escape the thick layers of snow engulfing the region. The primary coloured houses associated with the Northern Hemisphere stand out against the washed-out streets, and even the most mundane objects become almost mystical half-disguised in the frosty weather. Tettamanti’s beautiful photographs are currently showcased in Issue 62 of Aesthetica. We speak to Tettamanti about his approach to his work.

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Built from Life, Abraham Cruzvillegas in Aesthetica Magazine

Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas’ sculptures appear haphazard, disjointed and improvisational – and they are. Inspired by his parental home in Ajusco, a district in the south of Mexico City, he calls the sculptures autoconstruccións (or “self-construction”), as he sees them arising out of the environment that surrounds them. His parents, like many of their neighbours, built their house themselves, creating an improvisatory domestic edifice contingent on the availability of materials and the environment in which it was situated.