Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fwd: Aesthetica August 2014 Newsletter

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Welcome to the August Newsletter
Royal Academy Schools Show 2014

Lighting Darkness
Recommended article from the current issue of Aesthetica.

German photographer Henning Kreitel (b. 1982) documents the surreal elements of reality. Shooting everyday scenes, his approach to lighting, angles and colours results in visually arresting and almost magical imagery. Accidently stumbling upon his photographic talent when he took a short trip to Frankfurt, Kreitel produces work that carries a narrative. During a visit to Iceland he created Nightlight, an exploration of the interaction between gardens and houses in the old city centre of Reykjavík. The contrast between the natural darkness and the overpowering glare of the street lights enhances the ordinary setting, developing an intriguing and unsettling mood. His stark 30-piece series, which highlights issues of light pollution, leaves the audience questioning whether the photographs are actually taken in daylight. Kreitel is due to exhibit his work at a number of locations in Stuttgart in 2014 and 2015.

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Issue 60: August/September - Out Now

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. Constructing Worlds opens at the Barbican Centre, London, and explores the relationship between architecture and photography, while Vertigo of Reality at Akademie der Künste in Berlin surveys how art conveys the constant evolution of reality. Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness spans 35 years of the artist's career and critiques the systems of late capitalism through opulent spectacle. In photography, we bring you an extended special feature that highlights some of the most exciting emerging talent from London College of Communication, alongside a series that depicts light in seemingly banal locations in Reykjavík by photographer Henning Kreitel, as well as the surreal world of duo Maxime Delvaux and Kevin Laloux. Formento & Formento return to Aesthetica, but this time they are in Cuba, while the dynamic beauty of Robert Capa's works in colour portrays a time long gone. We are also pleased to present dramatic narratives from our cover photographer Jacques Olivar.

In film, we speak with the directors of 20,000 Days on Earth, which redefines the rockumentary and follows the legendary musician Nick Cave. Then we chat with Kelly Reichardt about her latest film, Night Moves, which charts the plight of three extreme environmentalists. In music, we look at how bands are continuously redefining genres including mixing opera and hip-hop. Drama and live action combine to create Helen Lawrence, by renowned artist Stan Douglas, which premieres at Edinburgh International Festival. Finally, in Last Words we have a conversation with Susan Hiller about her latest show. Enjoy!


1. Aesthetica Art Prize 2014 – One Month Left To Enter

There is one month left to enter the Aesthetica Art Prize, an international award that celebrates and supports rising talent from across the art world. Submissions are welcome from artists at all stages in their career. Categories for entry are: Photographic & Digital Art, Three Dimensional Design & Sculpture, Painting & Drawing and Video, Installation & Performance.

The Aesthetica Art Prize is a fantastic opportunity for artists to showcase their works to new, international audiences and boost their career with an outstanding array of prizes, which include: up to £5,000 prize money courtesy of Hiscox; group exhibition; editorial coverage in Aesthetica Magazine (168,000 readership worldwide); publication in an anthology of top emerging artists; a selection of art books courtesy of Prestel, and up to £250 art supplies vouchers courtesy of Winsor and Newton.

Entry is £15 and permits the submission of two works into one category.

Entries close 31 August 2014. For more information and to submit visit:

2. Aesthetica Creative Writing Award – One Month Left To Enter

There is one month left to enter the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, presenting a fantastic opportunity for established and emerging writers to showcase their poetry and short fiction to new, international audiences.

Prizes include publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, a compelling anthology of new writing; a consultation with Christine Green Authors' Agent for the fiction winner; mentoring with Apples and Snakes for the poetry winner £500 prize money for each winner; a selection of inspirational books from Vintage and Bloodaxe Books, and a subscription to Granta.

Entry is £10 and permits the submission of two works into one category. Fiction entries should be no more than 2,000 words each and poetry entries should be no more than 40 lines each. Both short fiction and poetry entries should be written in English. Submissions previously published elsewhere are accepted.

Entries close 31 August 2014. For more information and to submit visit:

3. Win a pair of tickets to Royal Court Theatre's Not I, Footfalls and Rockaby

Following critically acclaimed sold-out performances at Royal Court Theatre and a limited run in London's West End, the Samuel Beckett trilogy performed by Lisa Dwan is embarking on a strictly limited tour.

Not I is an intense monologue, set in a pitch-black space lit by a single beam of light. A disembodied female mouth floats eight feet above the stage and delivers a stream of consciousness, spoken, as Beckett directed, at the speed of thought. Rockaby is probably the most famous of Beckett's last works. It explores loneliness and features a prematurely old woman dressed in an evening gown, sitting on a wooden rocking chair that appears to rock of its own accord. While the third work, Footfalls, features May, wrapped in tatters, pacing back and forth like a metronome, on a strip of bare landing outside her dying mother's room.

Win a pair of tickets to see the performance at one of three venues this September, including Cambridge Arts Theatre, The Studio at Birmingham Rep and The Lowry in Manchester. To enter, send your name, contact info and the theatre you would like to attend to with the subject line "Beckett Competition". Terms and conditions apply. Prize is valid for the first performance at each venue. Prize is as stated and cannot be transferred or exchanged. Subject to availability.

4. Win Tickets to Photo Docks Art Fair

Reconnecting with work from the early 20th century, Photo Docks Art Fair is launching a unique programme this year. Although the event remains an international contemporary art fair it introduces the concept of the exhibition to this year's edition. Away from the frenzy of the fair, exhibitors, artists and visitors will have the opportunity to appreciate artworks at a slower pace and on their own terms.

From 5 to 28 September 21 galleries and 60 artists will take over the ground floor of the building designed by architect Odile Decq. This exhibition event will be accompanied by a festival all over Lyon and the surrounding region. Thanks to the involvement of the public and private historical partners in September 2014 photography and video art will be honoured once more in Lyon.

If you want to come to Photo Docks Art Fair, visit and like the Facebook page, and send us an inbox with your fullname and that you would like an invitation for the Aesthetica contest. The first 5 entries win!

Arts News

1. Edinburgh Art Festival

Various Venues
Until 31 August

Founded in 2004, Edinburgh Art Festival is the UK's largest annual celebration of visual art. Uniquely, the festival offers the chance to experience the best contemporary Scottish artists in the context of exhibitions of the most important international practitioners and movements of the 20th century and historical periods. Attracting over 250,000 visitors each year, the event brings together the capital's leading galleries, museums and artist-run spaces, alongside new public art commissions by established and emerging artists and an innovative programme of special events.

This year's festival includes over 45 exhibitions across the city. There are solo shows from Jim Lambie, Katie Paterson, Leon Morrocco and Diane Mellor, amongst others. In addition to the solo presentations, each year Edinburgh Art Festival commissions new work by Scottish artists, with a particular emphasis on those who are developing work for non-gallery contexts. New work by international artists forms part of Where do I end and you begin, a major project for the 11th edition of the festival, which invites five curators and over 20 artists from Commonwealth countries to imagine the commons. 

Through new and recent work, Where do I end and you begin considers what it means to join "common" with "wealth", reflecting on the notion of The Commonwealth as a problematic historical and contemporary construct and offering international perspectives on the range of associations which common-wealth evokes, from the challenge of "being in common" in a truly global world, to ideas of the common good, common land, public ownership and alternative exchange systems.

Image credit:
Mary Sibande, I'm a lady, 2009, digital print on cotton rag matte paper, photograph by John Hodgkiss, Courtesy of Gallery MoMo

2. Here and Elsewhere

New Museum, New York
Until 28 September

Here and Elsewhere brings together more than 45 artists from over 15 countries, many of whom live and work internationally. In keeping with the New Museum's dedication to showcasing the most engaging new art from around the globe, the exhibition is the most recent in a series of shows that have introduced urgent questions and new aesthetics to audiences in the USA.

Combining pivotal and under-recognised figures with younger and midcareer artists, the show works against the notion of the Middle East as a homogenous or cohesive entity. Through the original and individualised practices of a multigenerational constellation of individuals, the exhibition highlights works that often have conceptual or visual references to this region, yet also extend well beyond.

The exhibition borrows its title from a 1976 film-essay by French directors Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, and Anne-Marie Miéville. Their film, Ici et ailleurs (Here and Elsewhere), was initially conceived as a pro-Palestinian documentary, but evolved into a complex reflection on the ethics of representation and the status of images as instruments of political consciousness. Taking inspiration from Godard, Gorin, and Miéville's film — which has had a strong impact on an entire generation of artists in various Middle Eastern countries — Here and Elsewhere pays particular attention to the position and role of the artist in the face of historical events. Those involved in the presentation include, Bouchra Khalili, Fouad Elkoury, Hrair Sarkissian, Lamia Joreige, Hassan Sharif, Ala Younis and more.

Image Credit:
Here and Elsewhere, 2014. Exhibition view, New Museum, Photo: Benoit Pailley.

3. Robert Adams: The Place We Live

Fotomuseum, Winterthur
Until 31 August

Robert Adams (b. 1937) is the foremost living landscape photographer of the American West. He is best known for his austere, nuanced photographs of suburban development in Colorado during the late 1960s, images that first came to prominence through his seminal book The New West published in 1974. He was a key contributor to the landmark exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape, organised by the International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, New York in 1975. The show made the case for a formally radical mode of landscape photography in which the Romantic and Symbolist predilections of the American modernists were displaced by a more impersonal, disinterested vision.

On the one hand, Adams' black-and-white photographs reveal mankind's increasingly tragic relationship with the natural world. Images of neglected highways, tree-cutting and suburban sprawl chart the impact on the environment of unfettered urban development and the thoughtless exploitation of natural resources. On the other hand, Adams's photography constantly resists simplification, rendering with delicate precision the contradictions of everyday life.

Other major series in the exhibition include Our Lives and Our Children (1979–1983), a disarmingly tender series of portraits of people going about their lives in the shadow of a nearby nuclear waste plant, and Turning Back (1999-2003), a body of work that explores a landscape ravaged by clear cutting in the Pacific Northwestern area that Adams now calls home. The first major retrospective of his photography in Europe, The Place We Live reveals the eloquence and the redemptive power of Adams' American landscape.

Image Credit:
Robert Adams Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1968 Gelatin silver print, 15.1 x 15.2 cm Yale University Art Gallery, Purchased with a gift from Saundra B. Lane, a grant from the Trellis Fund, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund. © Robert Adams

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Excerpt from the Aesthetica Blog

Review of Malevich, Tate Modern, London

Kazimir Malevich (1879 – 1935) was one of the great innovators and explorers of European abstraction. He had a clear sense of the trajectory of style and purpose in the visual arts, and in his eyes, art had an exalted destiny in the modern world. Unlike the Russian artists of previous generations, Malevich could claim to be up to date with European painting: the pioneering collections of Moscow-based Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov were fertile ground for him to study the most interesting avant-garde artists from Claude Monet to Henri Matisse. Accordingly his early work bears the heavy influence of successive styles – Impressionism, Symbolism, Futurism and Cubism. During the long years of his early career Malevich was devoid of an individual style that he could call his own, and his desperate search for one is all too palpable.

His breakthrough eventually came after working with collaborators who were not involved in the visual arts at all – the musician Mikhail Matyushin and poet Aleksei Kruchenykh. It was from a furious exchange of ideas over a short period of time that Malevich eventually unveiled his new aesthetic and spiritual culture of "Suprematism" at The Last Exhibition of the Futurists 0.10 (Zero Ten). The name of his movement was intended to convey the obsolescence of all previous forms of art and to point the way to an enlightened future. The year was 1915 and the artist was 36 years old. Such is the significance of Zero Ten to the career of the artist – and indeed of art history – that the layout is replicated at Tate Modern. Malevich's painting Black Square was placed across the upper corner of the room, the very location in which, in Orthodox homes, an icon would be hung. Malevich's work had an urgency and a clarity (not to say effrontery) that set him apart. Black Square became a manifesto in itself and the emblem of Malevich and his followers.

The artist did not pursue his adventures in abstraction much further – he got no more radical than his Suprematist phase, and as a result the three rooms of works made between 1915 and 1917 form the crescendo of this exhibition. The intention of Suprematist paintings was to overturn the traditional syntax of the visual and replace it with a new one based simply of form and colour, and realised in swarms of geometric shapes intersecting on a white canvas. In Malevich's hands, this unpromising-sounding style is rendered with crystalline precision and – despite their small scale – they possess an operatic sweep and bombast.

What makes them all the more poignant is the awareness that Malevich's nation was toiling beneath the weight of devastating and disastrous campaign in World War I. Russia would subsequently be pitched into the tumult and hell of a Bolshevik revolution followed by civil war, followed by collectivisation and cultural repression. In retrospect it might not be too fanciful to see in the depthless white of Malevich's paintings the epic boundlessness of Russia's snowscapes, upon which armies of various factions repel and consume one another in diagrammatic formations. Rather than symbolising a new dawn, Malevich's Suprematist art symbolises the glorious sunset of the Russian avant-garde.

Malevich, until 26 October, Tate Modern, Southbank, London.

Matthew Wilson

Image Credit
Kazimir Malevich, Supremus No. 55 1916, Krasnodar Territorial Art Museum.

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