The winners have been announced for the 2018 Aesthetica Art Prize, an international showcase of innovative and contemporary artworks from the next generation of talent.
Selected from a shortlist of 12 artists, the winners of the Aesthetica Art Prize have been announced with the launch of the 2018 exhibition at York Art Gallery, (18 May – 30 September). David Birkin (UK) has won the Main Prize – awarded with has been awarded £5000 prize money courtesy of Winsor & Newton, and Electra Lyhne-Gold (UK) has won the Emerging Prize, receiving £1000.
Hosted by Aesthetica Magazine, the Aesthetica Art Prize is a celebration of excellence in art from across the world. It offers both emerging and established artists the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience. Since its inception 11 years ago, the prize has supported a cornucopia of practitioners who have progressed their careers and furthered their involvement within the art world as a result of their exposure through the award. Finalists from previous years have been included in exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, FOAM and The Photographers’ Gallery, as well as winning awards from Magnum, nominations from BAFTA and exposure on Channel 4.
This year’s presentation examines the changing landscape of society. Selected from 4,500 submissions, and a longlist of 100 artists, the shortlisted works cover a wide range of topics that delve into the human condition, posing questions about an increasing level of mass consumption, over-stimulation and emotional disconnection. These include new modes of communication and the depleting nature of analogue, a rise in technologies that are mimicking nature and the after-effects from the war on terror.
Birkin addresses the relationship between spectacle and loss, specifically in the representation of civilian casualties of the Iraq War. The project was a collaboration with the NGO Iraq Body Count. It involved inserting identification numbers from their casualty database into photographic software to generate a chromatic “value” for each person. These colours were then exposed onto photographic transparencies and displayed on X-ray light boxes discarded by British and American hospitals. The abstract portraits point to blind spots in the visual record, reflecting on the way that contemporary conflict is depicted.
Further considering the theme of communication, Lyhne-Gold re-imagines the languages of everyday life, which, once recorded and manipulated through layers of rehearsal and mimicry, become distorted and fragmented. Lost In Translation demonstrates Lyhne-Gold’s reading of numerous characters, whilst considering the wider implications of advertising and commerce from a social, economic and personal point-of-view.
The Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition runs until 30 September For more information, click here.
1. David Birkin, Profiles. Courtesy of the artist.