Aesthetica Issue 113

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Studying human emotions and behaviours through portraiture


A seminal immersive experience transforms viewers’ engagement



Stark images of the polar region urge unity with the natural world


Historically charged still life questions our ideas of reality

Issue 113 June / July 2023
UK £6.95 Europe €12.95 USA $16.49


Editor’s Note

In order to understand the past and present, it’s important to look at some of the key turning points in human history – from the use of fire and the development of agriculture to the printing press and the internet. Humanity has constantly been moving forward. Now, we find ourselves in a new era defined by artificial intelligence. Since the release of ChatGPT 4, the reality of a world with AI is more present than ever before. Knowledge and curiosity are the two driving forces of innovation, and this is the aspect of AI that worries me the most. If a computer can pass a bar exam, write a novel and make artwork, then we must talk seriously about what this means for the future of ideation. We’ve seen what can happen with social media when it has been used to control and influence political outcomes. We must learn from the past two decades of technology to move forward. This is a watershed moment for society as a whole.

Inside this issue we survey Ori Gersht’s work in an in-depth feature that discusses the three main revolutions: industrial, scientific and digital. He is well-known for his painstaking recreation and subsequent destruction of classic paintings. Meanwhile, Djeneba Aduayom’s multidisciplinary work considers the contradictions between the natural environment and human behaviour. We also take a close look at London’s new contemporary art venue, The Beams, which creates immersive experiences through technology’s ability to prompt complex and visceral emotions. Julian Charrière’s documentation of polar regions examines large-scale human intervention in the landscape inciting an urgent call to action.

In photography, we bring you the latest series from some of the most engaging practitioners today including Alexej Sachov, Cody Cobb, Rune Guneriussen, Sarfo Emmanuel Annor, Viet Ha Tran and our cover photographer Cristina Coral. They ask us to look at the natural world in new ways. Finally, the last words go to John Mack, who asks questions about digital futures at this year's London Design Biennale.

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Cherie Federico On the Cover Rich imagery by Italian photographer Cristina Coral brings colour theory to our attention, occupying rows of green seating and heavy red velvet curtains. Elsewhere, Coral is inspired by John Baldessari, featuring geometric shapes superimposed over faces (p. 106). Cover Image: Cristina Coral, Tribute to Baldessari I (2018).
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16 News

Top stories include a survey of Chinese women artists, Isaac Julien at Tate Britain and a powerful picture of mass consumption from Mandy Barker.

40 Unseen Landscapes

Photographer and keen explorer Cody Cobb presents Spectral, a collection demonstrating luminescence and a parallel world after dark.

68 Dynamic Expression

Djeneba Aduayom's multidisciplinary artwork considers fragile contradictions within nature whilst studying human emotion and behaviour.

98 Sensory Technology

The Beams' first contemporary exhibition is an immersive experience informed by technology's ability to encourage complex, visceral emotions.


124 Exhibitions

Larry Achiampong, Maryam Wahid, Sarah Sze and Tim Walker offer the latest in image-making, fashion design, film, mixed-media and sculpture.


133 The Latest Publications

We review a fresh study of Francesca Woodman's life and key works. Meanwhile, concepts of home, motherhood and belonging are front and centre..

26 10 to See

This season, must-see retrospectives unfold in London, New York and beyond. They ask: what does it mean to see the world with fresh eyes?

52 Glacial Topography

Stark documentations of polar regions critique the extent of human intervention on landscape, urging unification with the natural environment.

74 Bursting with Colour

Wall of Nature unfolds like stills taken from a psychedelic daydream, flooding the page with strong pink, bright orange, green and purple.

104 Crafting Atmosphere

Rich imagery by Cristina Coral brings colour theory to our attention, occupying rows of green seating and heavy red velvet curtains.

30 Shaping the Future

Portraits by Sarfo Emmanuel Annor express the joyful hopes, dreams and stories of youth in the artist's home city of Koforidua, Ghana.

58 Aquatic Exploration

Diver Alexej Sachov documents a new species of marine creature: the result of chance collisions between plastic pollutants in the deepest seas.

84 Deep in the Forest

Desk lamps nestle amongst lush green foliage and climb up tall trees in Rune Guneriussen's compelling collection of magical installations.

118 Visual Revolution

Ori Gersht's historically-charged still lifes collide with artificial intelligence in uncanny images that question the boundaries of reality and existence.

Aesthetica Magazine is trade marked worldwide. © Aesthetica Magazine Ltd 2023.

ISSN 1743-2715.

All work is copyrighted to the author or artist. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without permission from the publisher.

Published by Cherie Federico and Dale Donley.

Aesthetica Magazine

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129 Film

Riley Keough teams up with Gina Gammell for their directorial debut War Pony, whilst The Blue Caftan explores a queer relationship in Morocco.

Artists’ Directory

138 Featured Practitioners

This issue's array of trailblazing contemporary names shows us what the global creative scene looks like right now, at this key moment in time.

The Aesthetica Team:

Editor: Cherie Federico

Creative Producer: Eleanor Sutherland

Content Editor: Saffron Ward

Editorial Assistant: Fruzsina Vida

Digital Content Assistant: Chloe Elliott

Media Sales & Partnerships Manager: Megan Hobson

Artists’ Directory Manager: Katherine Smira

Production Director: Dale Donley

Operations Manager: Helen Osbond

Designer: Matt Glasby

Contributors: Eleanor Sutherland

Megan Jones

Vamika Sinha

Reviewers: Charlotte Rickards, Chloe Elliott, Eitan Orenstein, Isabel Armitage, James Mottram, Jennifer Sauer, Kyle Bryony, Matt Swain, Michael Piantini, Melissa Karlin, Rachel Segal Hamilton , Saffron Ward.

131 Music

HENGE produces a collection of adventurous prog-rave sounds in new Alpha Test 4, as well as debuts from Foyer Red and Hugh Sheehan.

Last Words

146 John Mack

The artist, who is at London Design Biennale, speaks about how AI and smart devices are pulling us further from natural envrionments.

Advertisement Enquiries: Megan Hobson (0044) (0)844 568 2001

Artists’ Directory Enquiries: Katherine Smira


General Enquiries:

Press Releases:

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16 Aesthetica Widline Cadet, Nou Fè Pati, Nou Se, Nou Anvi (We Belong, We be, We Long) (2020). news

The Self Reimagined

Huis Marseille, Amsterdam | 24 June - 22 October

In 1804, Haiti overthrew French colonial control and became the world’s first independent Caribbean country and Black-led republic. However, it was forced to pay reparations to former slaveholders and, according to the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, only cleared its “independence debt” in 1947. Economic hardship and political unrest have continued into recent years – in 2021, the country recorded the lowest Global National Income in Latin America and the Caribbean. Haitian-born artist Widline Cadet (b. 1992) migrated to New York at the age of 10 to join her mother. Despite growing up in the USA, she was curious about her heritage. Works such as (Never) as I Was (2021) chart ancestral and intergenerational feelings. Subjects expand to include people on the street, drawing a concurrent line between past and present selves. Cadet says: “That was how strangers entered my work; not as strangers, but as people I imagined I already knew.” Figures manifest as body doubles – girls in gingham dresses bend toward matching tablecloths, as their limbs are cloned. The effect approaches an optical illusion, encouraging viewers to question perceptions. Photographs engage in “critical fabulation,” a term used by African American cultural history professor Saidiya Hartman, Columbia University, to describe the combination of historical and archival research. Cadet reflects on this in Take This With You, as compassionate narratives and moments of care replace “the violence of the archive.” The result is a vivid and impactful exhibition, forging a link between the body, history and space.

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Confronting Marine Pollution

Dunfermline Carnegie Galleries | Until 11 June

It is estimated that people in England uses 2.7 billion items of single-use cutlery and 721 million plates per year – contributing to plastic waste and pollution. In January 2023, Secretary of State for Environment Thérèse Coffey announced a far-reaching ban on these items – as well as trays, bowls, balloon sticks, polystyrene cups and food containers – effective from October. For the past decade, artist Mandy Barker (b. 1964) has engaged in this conversation, specifically in relation to ocean waste. She is best known for assembling visually captivating, yet disturbing, scenes from ubiquitous items found in seas. Retrospective Our Plastic Ocean follows the photographer as she accompanies scientists on expeditions from Hawaii to Japan, tracing the debris of the 2011 Tsunami and taking viewers on board Greenpeace’s Beluga II ship. The resulting compositions are some of the most effecting visual commentaries on marine pollution to date.

Barker’s work is instantly recognisable and characteristically eerie: cotton buds, lids and toys float in a void, with only pinpricks of light. At first glance, we appear to be looking at sea creatures or coral reefs. The reality is much darker. Soup 500+ (2011), for example, records the amount of rubbish found inside the digestive tract of a dead albatross chick. Elsewhere, Bird's Nest (2011) depicts balls of tangled fishing line and other debris collected in its path. The series is a meticulously detailed compendium of discarded litter from shorelines across the world. “I recover more or less the same type of plastics all over the world,” Barker notes. “They’re just adorned with different logos.”

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Mandy Barker, Bird’s Nest (detail), From the series Soup © Mandy Barker / courtesy Impressions Gallery.
20 Aesthetica news Isaac Julien, Glass House, Prism (Ten Thousand Waves), (2010). Endura Ultra photograph, diptych, 180 x 239.8 x 7.5 cm each, 70 7/8 x 94 3/8 x 3 in each. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro. © Isaac Julien.


Tate Britain, London | Until 20 August

Isaac Julien (b. 1960) is one of the most celebrated British filmmakers and artists of all time. He is the subject of a major retrospective at Tate Britain this summer. The exhibition, entitled Isaac Julien: What Freedom Is to Me, showcases a selection of his seminal works from the past four decades, charting the development of his pioneering work in film, installation and video. Throughout his career, Julien has been known for his visually stunning and intellectually rigorous works that challenge conventional notions of identity, race and sexuality. Multi-screen projects blur the boundaries between fiction and documentary, combining archival footage with original material to create complex and layered narratives. The show opens with work produced by the Sankofa Film and Video Collective. Founded in 1983 by Julien alongside Martina Attille, Maureen Blackwood, Nadine Marsh-Edwards and Robert Crusz, this group of London art students from across the African, Asian and Caribbean diaspora played a vital role in the establishment of Black independent cinema in Britain. Four works from this period are on view at Tate Britain, including Julien's first film, Who Killed Colin Roach (1983) Looking for Langston (1989), exploring Black queer desire. For the first time in Europe, the show also premieres Once Again... (2022), surveying the relationship between American collector Albert C. Barnes and Alain Locke, “Father of the Isaac Julien: What Freedom Is to Me invites viewers to engage with some of the most pressing social issues through the lens of one of the most visionary artists alive today.

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Resisting Stereotypes


Museum der Moderne Salzburg | Until 25 June

In 2019, Xu Zaozao, a single woman, began a legal battle against a Beijing hospital after they refused to freeze her eggs – a procedure that is reserved for married couples in China. The case was dismissed in 2022, echoing the ongoing debate around women’s rights. “I hope more people will recognise the fact that there is a whole diversity of single women,” remarked Zaozao in response. “They have the right to have autonomy in matters of reproduction and to make decisions concerning their bodies.” Group show Stepping Out! Female Identities in Chinese Contemporary Art digs into what it means to be a woman in present-day China, shining a light on 26 artists who examine the joys, challenges and contradictions of daily life. The survey is rooted in an uprising that began in the late 1980s, around a decade after the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The likes of Yu Hong (b. 1966), Xing Danwen (b. 1967) and Xiang Jing (1968) challenged the male-dominated creative scene through innovative multidisciplinary artwork on gender, politics and the body. The legacy of these pioneers radiates throughout the work on view, from established names to emerging talent. Sun Shaokun (b. 1980), for example, pushes the boundaries of film to unpick everyday binaries. In NoLand II (2010), the artist is submerged in rice, each grain marked with the Chinese characters for “forced eviction.” The effect is claustrophobic yet calming, symbolising the oppressor and oppressed. Examples of conformity, resistance and transformation arise throughout the exhibition, highlighting how female identity in China continues to be a divisive subject.

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Sun Shaokun, No Land II, (2010), from the series Bow and Rebuke –No Land (with Ruggero Rosfer), chromogener Abzug. Courtesy Sun Shaokun © Sun Shaokun.
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Collaboration in Storytelling


Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto | Until 31 May 2024

Creative director and this year's Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient Josef Adamu founded Sunday School in 2017, an agency based in Toronto that brings together photographers from across Africa and the wider diaspora. The organisation broaches commercial photography, fine art and visual communication to create advertising campaigns for Converse and album covers for Sony. Feels like Home celebrates the agency's sixth anniversary, and sits alongside photography exhibitions such as Jorian Charlton's (b. 1989) Between Us and Farah Al Qasimi's (b. 1991) Night Swimming, as part of the 2023 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival programme. In Feels Like Home, work from three series is highlighted: The Hair Appointment (2018) by Jeremy RodneyHall, O’shane Howard and Joshua Kissi's Jump Ball (2019) and Ten Toes Down (2021) by Kreshonna Keane. The images explore dualities of Black identity, constructing a tangible sense of realism whilst considering conversations around notions of home. A mother braids her daughter's hair. Young men wear traditional Ghanaian Kente clothing. Black ballerinas step en pointe. In photographs reminiscent of Seydou Keïta (1921-2001), Malick Sidibé (1936-2016) and Kwame Brathwaite (1938-2023), a vignette of community, collaboration and compassion triumphs. The two-part presentation continues with a month-long outdoor showcase. Six large-scale billboards bring depictions of love, strength and self-expression to the city's bustling west end. Feels Like Home reveals domestic spaces as crucial and unabashed, as powerful as the people and places they connect.

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10 to See


What does it mean to see the world with clear eyes? This question is threaded throughout our top exhibitions for June and July, with major group shows and retrospectives shedding new light on the issues, people and places that individuals encounter as they navigate daily life.

1L iverpool Biennial

Various Locations | 10 June - 17 September

This year is monumental for Liverpool, from hosting Eurovision in May to the return of the city’s biennial in June. The 12th edition, which is titled sees galleries, historic sites and hidden gems present a free events, bringing communities together in "a call for ancestral and indigenous forms of knowledge, wisdom and healing."

At FACT, Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński (b. 1980) partners with sound-artist Bassano Bonelli Bassano (b. 1983) and Black residents from the area to launch a new audiovisual installation.

2Herzog & de Meuron

Royal Academy of Arts, London | 14 July - 15 October

Jacques Herzog (b. 1950) and Pierre de Meuron (b. 1950) won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2001. At the time, president of The Hyatt Foundation, Thomas J. Pritzker, said: “Only once before has the jury selected two architects in the same year. Herzog & de Meuron’s work is the result of a long-term collaboration, making it impossible to honour one without the other.” Now, the pair’s parallel careers and projects are surveyed in this truly immersive experience. AR and life-sized models offer an unprecedented look at the firm’s innovative 45 year legacy.


Evelyn Hofer:


on the City High Museum of Art, Atlanta | Until 13 August

In 1946, German-born photographer Evelyn Hofer (1922-2009) arrived in New York and started making photo essays for Harper’s Bazaar. A structural aesthetic took her across the world, with photobooks including The Stones of Florence (1959), London Perceived (1962) and Dublin: A Portrait (1967). Yet, the artist remained under the radar for her entire career. Now, the first solo show dedicated to Hofer in America for 50 years examines her post-war street photography, providing a snapshot of global cities in a period of monumental change.


Rencontres d’Arles

Various Locations| 3 July - 24 September

Photography offers new ways to see, perceive and experience the world. The 2023 Rencontres d’Arles programme reflects on this ability, drawing attention to photographers who are concerned with pressing global issues, such as the climate emergency, displacement and identity. Riti Sengupta’s (b. 1993) Things I Can’t Say Out Loud, for example, unpicks the terms of convenient acceptance by navigating familial relationships. Here, “kitchen conversations” between the artist and her mother reimagine intergenerational dynamics and the patriarchy.

5 Jean-François Bouchard

Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto | Until 15 July

Slab City, an unincorporated settlement in California, is home to around 100 people. A similar off-grid neighbourhood provided the starting point for Canadian artist Jean-François Bouchard’s (b. 1968) new series, Exile from Babylon. Still lifes of lone, skeletal trees littered with ripped clothing and rubbish become a metaphor for the daily experiences faced by people living without access to basic amenities. Deep amber and navy tones fill the skies of these harsh landscapes, rendering the apocalyptic scenes as both unsettling and enchanting.

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D ear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis

H ayward Gallery, London | 21 June - 3 September

Seventy seven percent of 16-25 year olds surveyed by the University of Bath in 2021 said “the future was frightening,” with climate depression leaving people disengaged with the environmental crisis. In response to this, a timely group exhibition asks: how can art reframe and reinvigorate the conversation? New commissions from international artists, including Cornelia Parker, Hito Steyerl and Richard Mosse, favour compassion and joy, with projects illuminating acts of social, political and spiritual resistance to offer a renewed sense of hope.


I mminent Existence

Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle | Until 4 June

What does it mean to be American? Photographer Andrew Kung considers this question through his tender, “desexualised” studies of Asian American men. In one image, a wash of purple hangs in the air, as two figures look into the distance, gazing at the country’s divisive flag. The artist’s work is part of an annual exhibition of 50 portfolios, curated by Arnika Dawkins. Collectively, the finalists take the temperature of the present-day, visualising universal feelings of beauty and injustice through images that invite viewers to stop and think.

argeaux Walter: Don't be Square inston Wächter Fine Art, New York | Until 10 June

The Anthropocene is defined as the unofficial unit of the current geological epoch, in which human activity has been a major influencer in altering the planet. Artist Margeaux Walter (b. 1982) plays with this term in her latest body of work, treading the line between fantasy and reality to depict changing environments. “Glitches in time” are recorded in surreal scenes, as the natural world meets the domestic. Camouflaged figures complete chores, blending into horizons, which emphasise how the quotidian has unforeseen effects on disconnected vistas.

roject Space Festival Berlin

arious Locations | 1 - 30 June

Berlin is a city of creatives. It is home to approximately 20,000 professional artists, as reported State Department of Culture and Europe. The 7th edition of Project Space Festival is a platform for independent practitioners and non-institutional spaces based in the German capital to share liberating approaches to curating, exhibiting and making. Thirty free events, including audio walks with artists Ahu Dural and Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez, engage with crowdsourcing and grassroots funding, reflecting on decentralised ways of thinking about art.

10Wolfgang Tillmans: To look without fear

Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto | Until 1 October

Wolfgang Tillmans (b. 1968) considers himself an “amplifier” of social awareness. His deeply expressive work examines every aspect of the human condition: delicate love stories, euphoric experiences and fleeting moments. Instantly recognisable snaps from his 35 year career are found alongside rarely-seen projects in To look without fear. Each snapshot is a deeply personal puzzle piece in an unending investigation. Visitors unlock a sense of the artist’s approach as well as the intoxicating power of photography to reveal people's deepest secrets.

4. Riti Sengupta, Inheritance, Home series, Kolkata, 2021. Courtesy the artist. 5. Jean-François Bouchard,  Tree of Life #1 (2022). Archival pigment print, 36" x 54". Courtesy Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto.  6. Richard Mosse, Oil Spill on Kichwa Territory I. Block 192, Rio Tigre, Loreto, (2023). Digital C print. 121.92 x 162.56 cm. © Richard Mosse, 2023. Courtesy the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery and Carlier Gebauer. 7. Andrew Kung, When the Night Is Falling , (2022). Digital C-Print. 8. Margeaux Walter, Rise and Shine , (2023). C-print with UV laminate. Courtesy of the artist and Winston Wächter Fine Art. © Margeaux Walter. 9. BETON Berlin | Waxed City Anaïs Edely , curated by BETON Berlin, Photo: Paula G. Vidal, 2022. 10. Wolfgang Tillmans, Icestorm, (2001). Image by Wolfgang Tillmans. Courtesy the artist, David Zwirner, New York/Hong Kong, Galerie Buchholz, Berlin / Cologne, and Maureen Paley, London.

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1. Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński, Respire , (2019). Courtesy the artist. © Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński. 2. Herzog & de Meuron, project 2a . Extension of the Stadtcasino Basel, (2012-20). Photo © Ruedi Walti. 3. Evelyn Hofer, Arteries, New York , (1964). Dye transfer print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Gift of the artist‘s estate and Danziger Gallery, New York. 2021. © Estate of Evelyn Hofer.

Shaping the Future

Sarfo Emmanuel Annor (b. 2002) is fascinated by colour. Based in Koforidua, Ghana, the photographer launched his career on iPhone by making portraits of family and friends. At the time, the goal was to express the dreams and stories of other young people living in his home city. Now, Annor shoots editorial for UNIF and is listed amongst i-D magazine's “hottest creatives.” He remains drawn to the subject of African youth and its “power to shape the continent’s future,” crafting images bursting with potential. Moments from everyday life are heightened by glowing backgrounds, rendered in magenta, majorelle blue, orange and scarlet. Objects are brought into focus, with vases balancing on heads and leaves obscuring faces. The artist masters tone and contrast, honed from a background in painting and fashion design. Annor is inspired by Ghana’s booming creative scene, joining Prince Gyasi (b. 1995) as one of the country’s pioneering contemporary fine art photographers. @sarfogh

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Sarfo Emmanuel Annor Sarfo Emmanuel Annor, Untitled (2023).
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Sarfo Emmanuel Annor, Untitled (2023).
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Sarfo Emmanuel Annor, Illuminated (2022).
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Sarfo Emmanuel Annor, Untitled (2023).
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Sarfo Emmanuel Annor, Illuminated (2022).
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Sarfo Emmanuel Annor, Untitled (2023).
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Sarfo Emmanuel Annor, The Unseen II (2022).
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Sarfo Emmanuel Annor, The Tribesman (2022).
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Sarfo Emmanuel Annor, Untitled (2023).

Unseen Landscapes

“There is a hidden luminescence in the wilderness of the American West,” writes Cody Cobb (b. 1984), a photographer and keen explorer who is based in Nevada. “A strange fluorescence occurs when certain minerals and organic materials are subjected to ultraviolet radiation. This spectrum of light is invisible to humans.” The following images are taken from Cobb’s Spectral series, which captures a parallel world after dark. On first glance, the shots look to be altered with clever filters. In fact, they are rooted in science. Each landscape glows with fiery orange or ice blue. Cobb’s technique involves long exposures and an ultraviolet light, taking his camera to areas where collapsed lava tubes can be found, or high up where lichens thrive. “The eerie light emitted from within these once familiar surfaces transforms the mundane into something extraterrestrial,” he notes. It’s refreshing to look at the Earth in this way: to zoom in on textures and reveal concealed colours. |

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Image courtesy
from Spectral (2022).
Cody Cobb,
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Image courtesy Cody Cobb, from Spectral (2022).
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Image courtesy Cody Cobb, from Spectral (2022).
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Image courtesy Cody Cobb, from Spectral (2022).
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Image courtesy Cody Cobb, from Spectral (2022).
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Image courtesy Cody Cobb, from Spectral (2022).

Glacial Topography


Half of the world’s glaciers will vanish by 2100. Recent new reports state that policy-makers will not meet the aspirational 1.5°C temperature rise target set out at the 2015 Paris Climate Accords. In January 2023, the journal Science published an examination of the 215,000 land-based glaciers worldwide, using two decades of satellite data. The conclusion was startling: 49% would disappear at the lowest rate of global heating. However, the world is now on track for a 2.7°C rise since pre-industrial times, leading to a loss of 68% of ice caps. A reduction in CO2 emissions could curtail the shrinkage but, as the study’s co-author, glaciologist Regin Hock explains “for many small glaciers, it is too late.” This widespread deglaciation will affect sea levels, water resources and increase natural hazards, threatening the safety and livelihoods of almost two billion people across the world in subsequent decades. In South America, for example, the reduction in the Andes’ tropical glaciers is disproportionately affecting indigenous communities – impacting essential services like hydro-electric power generation and causing water shortages. In March 2023, Leticia Carvalho, Principal Coordinator of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Marine and Freshwater Branch stated: “Indigenous peoples and local communities are least responsible for the emissions driving climate change, and are the best custodians of nature. But they will have no choice but to adapt to potentially very harsh circumstances and new ways of life that may not be as harmonious with nature as before.” This is a stark and confronting situation. Elsewhere, Switzerland’s mountains have lost more than

half of their glacial volume in the last century. The country is referred to as the “water tower of Europe,” with surface water flowing through a river network of nearly 65,000 kilometres, including the Adige, Danube, Po, Rhine and Rhone. It conserves approximately 6% of the continent’s water yet, as they melt, this reserve plummets. For Neil Entwistle, Professor of River Science and Climate Resilience at the University of Salford, the scale of ice retreat – and the looming threat of future devastation – can only be described as “extreme.”

This superlative is what French-Swiss artist Julian Charrière (b.1987) has conveyed through urgent multidisciplinary work, following an initial journey to the polar regions for the Antarctic Biennale in 2017. The Berlin-based practitioner bridges anthropology, art and environmental science –spanning performance, photography, sculpture and video. Most recently, in December 2022, the practitioner won the 14th SAM Prize for Contemporary Art, and his project, Stone Speaker, will be presented in 2024 at Paris' Palais de Tokyo.

The extent of current ecological degradation is critiqued through projects that stem from remote fieldwork in "places with acute geophysical identities," from ice fields and volcanoes to palm oil plantations and radioactive sites. These vast landscapes are barren, surreal and thought-provoking, where human interference is not only evident but extensive.

Charrière "gives the dark side of the polar region a new voice" in Towards No Earthly Pole (2019). The 104-minute film most recently became the focal installation in Erratic, an exhibition at San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art, which ran until 14 May. It is a disorientating viewing experience:

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“The image is striking, the artist positioned as an adversary against the vast, imposing structure. The scale between figure and glacier reiterates the species' diminishment in the face of this daunting expanse.”

jutting crags evidence the slow erosion of ice, and spherical light creeps from the corners of dark compositions like an otherworldly moon, an iceberg's reflection scattered across the waters. This sense of immersion removes the boundaries between the observer and the surrounding work, meditating on the innate links between humanity and the landscape.

The film is "intentionally confounding, drawing on the uncanniness of the polar nighttime." Ethereal footage from the artist's various expeditions to the Antarctic, Greenland, Iceland and the Swiss Alps combine with no reference to place or location. Each shot melts into the next, an affecting visual reminder of the landscape's impending reduction. Only half a decade after the artist began depicting cryospheres, the future of these icebergs is already looking far bleaker.

The eerie soundscape accompanying the piece reinforces this sense of time passing. Ice cracks and water flows across crags, splitting the frozen landscape in shudders. It recalls the moment of "calving," the cleaving of large blocks of ice from the front of glacier to form icebergs. Beneath the surface of this fear, however, Charrière's footage posits these masses as alive and evolving, carrying a sliver of hope.

Journalistic reports, academic papers and social media doomscrolls have culminated in a scientific documentation of glacial regions within humanity's collective imagination. Yet, the artist subverts this traditional framing – of light, airy images with azure skies and an almost luminous glow emanating from the cavernous mouths of ice structures. Instead, Charrière "peels back the media image because familiarity breeds passivity. These are ecologies on the brink of dissolve, and we need to find a way re-engage with them."

Each image is the result of the artist's customised

technological equipment, developed with a Berlin-based team who produce specialised drones that carry spotlights and cameras. The sparse glints of light that characterise the film were inspired by photographer Frank Hurley (18851962), who chronicled the experience of 18 months stranded on the Antarctic ice sheets as part of Sir Ernest Shackleton's famous 1914 voyage. Charrière told Artnet journalist Taylor Dafoe in 2020: “He used up to 30 mechanised flashes, creating this very strange kind of black-and-white stage photography. Because there was light all around the object, the photo looked very flat – it became almost like a scan.”

This survey of vast geographical plains from an aerial viewpoint is reminiscent of the growing community of contemporary photographers committed to documenting changes to the natural world. The large-scale photographic works of Edward Burtynsky’s (b. 1955), for example, which highlight the extensive and longstanding reverberations humanity has caused across the African landscape. Trees encroach on a gradient of brown and green in Tea Plantations #4, Near Kericho, of Kenya (2017), whilst incised parallel lines striate the industrial landscapes of Salt Ponds #6, Near Tikat of Banguel, Senegal (2019). These altered vistas reveal the staggering impact of mineral extraction, industrial activity and systematic land clearance from an aerial perspective.

Elsewhere, Richard Mosse (b. 1980) depicts the destruction and devastation of deforestation in the Amazon – an area spanning 6.7 million km2 – in Broken Spectre (2022). Desolate, cleared landscapes are juxtaposed next to the remaining woodland, saturated in vivid, hyperreal palettes of amber, bronze and cerise pink. These testimonials "echo ubiquitous photographs of burning trees," the artist notes.

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Julian Charrière, The Blue Fossil Entropic Stories (detail),(2013). Copyright the artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany. Previous page: Julian Charrière, Towards No Earthly Pole – Sovetskaya, (2019). Copyright the artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany. Left: Julian Charrière, Towards No Earthly Pole – Vostok, (2019). Copyright the artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany.

The scenes invite viewers to zoom out and focus on the scale of ecological crisis, to examine imminent social disaster anew. These approaches provide expansive and outward-looking reflections of the landscape, forcing us to visualise what is often left unseen. For Anastasia Samoylova (b. 1984), this involves transforming views of the "sunshine state" Florida from a tourist hotspot – characterised by Disneyland and Universal Studios – to its meteorological reality. The region has experienced a flurry of storms in 2023, causing flooding, landslides and heavy snowfall. Samoylova's images of swollen palm trees, sunken furniture and floating debris transform icons of Americana into a frightening reality.

Charrière’s practice centres on shifting the observer's focus. "The act of the expedition is to physically experience places that exist to us mainly in images, and to stage with them an embodied encounter." Perceptions are especially distorted within the hostile regions he explores. "Polar night" is a phenomenon that occurs in the northern and southernmost circles. During this period – several months – the sun does not rise above the horizon for more than 24 hours. Days pass without sunlight and the cold leeches all warmth from gas fires. It is under these challenging conditions that Charrière thrives. The intensity of the journeys – in which reality is reconfigured and time re-evaluated – becomes a metaphor for the precarious nature of his surrounding environments.

Not All Who Wander Are Lost (2019) is a set of "erratics" –boulders once carried by glaciers – now dislocated from their original positions and perforated by core-drilling. This installation was first exhibited in Switzerland, but the rocks have since travelled from to Venice and San Francisco. Each rests on a plinth of its own core, whilst bronze and copper

fragments attach to several cylinders, representing the expansion periods of human history. Charrière highlights that "they not only markers in the landscape, but in time." Contrastingly, The Blue Fossil Entropic Stories (2013) visualises an "urgent and imbalanced" knife-edge between humanity and nature. Charrière poses as an insignificant silhouette against the enormity of the landscape, spending eight hours melting an iceberg with a gas blowtorch. The image is striking, the artist positioned as an adversary against the vast, imposing structure. The contrast between figure and glacier reiterates humankind's relative insignificance when faced with the daunting scale of an ever-expanding universe. The performance does critique the continued burning of fossil fuels, but it is also evidence of "a seemingly hopeless battle of human time against geological time," the artist states. Most glaciers are relics of the last ice age, which ended more than 12,000 years ago. This is difficult to comprehend for a species whose average lifespan is between 70-80 years. Other artists working in this realm include Noémie Goudal (b. 1984), who uses deep time and geological history to inform her work. Décantation (2021) focuses on paleoclimatology – the scientific study of past climates to speculate on the future. "I'm not trying to talk about climate change directly," she states. However, "if you look at a landscape, it's the first thing that comes to mind." This crisis is the defining issue of our time; it has become almost impossible to isolate depictions of the landscape from ecological undertones. Charrière creates a place where the indelible links between geographical history and human evolution are brought into focus, where ancient boulders are "moved by the art world." Perhaps, with this outlook, humanity can change course too.

Words Megan Jones

Towards No Earthly Pole, Aargauer Kunsthaus

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Right: Julian Charrière, Towards No Earthly Pole – Mercer, (2019). Copyright the artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany. Julian Charrière, The Blue Fossil Entropic Stories I , (2013). Copyright the artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany.

Aquatic Exploration

More than 80% of the ocean is yet to be charted, explored – or even seen – by human beings. What lies in the deepest places of the world remains unknown; about 230,000 marine species have been recorded, but it's estimated that there are over two million. Alexej Sachov (b. 1972) is a passionate diver. In Hotel Guests Underwater (2022), the UkrainianGerman artist documents an emerging species of aquatic creature: the result of chance collisions between plastic pollutants in the deep. Yellow polythene bags, rainbow fishing nets and transparent bottles drift together and pull apart, echoing shapes and colours of familiar living creatures. Viewers can pick out silhouettes of jellyfish, seahorses and other animals from the debris. Each detailed shot is made whilst submerged beneath the waves, then selected from hundreds of outtakes. Sachov’s underwater worlds, with twinkling night skies, are a stark reminder of omnipresent climate emergency. | @alexej.sachov

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Alexej Sachov, Ballerina , from Hotel Guests Underwater (2022).
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Alexej Sachov, Ghost Rider, from Hotel Guests Underwater (2022).
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Alexej Sachov, Bobby from Hotel Guests Underwater (2022).
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Alexej Sachov, Dragon baby, from Hotel Guests Underwater (2022).
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Alexej Sachov, Underwater universe cleaner, from Hotel Guests Underwater (2022).
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Alexej Sachov, Guard from Hotel Guests Underwater (2022).
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Alexej Sachov, Winner, from Hotel Guests Underwater (2022).
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Alexej Sachov, New technology! from New Cosmos Underwater (2021).
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Alexej Sachov, Spotted an underwater horse! from New Cosmos Underwater (2022).

Dynamic Expression

In November 2022, the COP27 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, hosted more than 100 Heads of State and governments to deliberate on agreements and strategies to drastically reduce carbon emissions. Yet, according to the BBC, 36 private jets landed at the summit between 4-6 November, and an additional 64 flew into Cairo. Gareth Redmond-King, International Lead for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), stated: “The emissions are negligible compared to the impact of decisions and commitments made at these summits.” Whilst the need for worldwide conversation on the climate emergency is vital and urgent, it remains difficult to reconcile this environmentally damaging transportation method. This paradox lends itself to the significant discrepancies inherent – and often unavoidable – in human action. Contradictions are an indispensable aspect of humanity, and Los Angeles-based artist Djeneba Aduayom thrives in this disconnect between action and perception. Individuals perform in ways that do not align with their beliefs, express emotions they don't feel and offer advice they wouldn't follow. The multi-disciplinary artist searches beyond the physical confines of the body to evidence the ingrained ambiguity of human behaviour through mixed-media, photography and video installation. Famously, Salvador Dalí said: "Everything that is contradictory creates life." It is through these contrasts that Aduayom reflects upon the complexities of experience. Colourful spheres pass between hands. Figures bask in sunlight. Pops of yellow and red dance against stark emerald backdrops. The artist’s broader work often features

bold colours and natural scenery in multi-layered, striking compositions. These subjects take on fluid, effortless poses that find movement within stillness, another incongruity that Aduayom achieves by drawing on her extensive career as a professional dancer and film director. She has also worked with worldwide brands and seminal magazines, such as Billboard, i-D, The Cut Magazine, Time Magazine and Vogue

Now, Aduayom turns to the layered and contrasting emotions within people and their complex relationship to landscape in Atmospheric Perspective (2022). The video installation is on view as part of Fotografiska Stockholm’s latest exhibition, In Bloom, focusing on juxtapositions within the natural world. As the UN’s Climate Change 2023 report highlights the irreversible impact of industrial activity is having on Earth, Fotografiska's 16 featured photographers join this crucial conversation, examining our dependence on nature and its symbolic role. Aduayom, in particular, evidences the tension and ambiguity of the human experience, alongside contemporaries Helene Schmitz (b. 1960), Ori Gersht (b. 1967) and David Uzochukwu (b. 1998).

A: In Bloom suggests a time of prosperity and renewal. How did you draw upon these themes in the work?

DA: The show is a symbolic, philosophical and poetic exploration of nature through photography. This is the part that I related to in my video installation Atmospheric Perspective. For this project, I was called to produce a trauma response to the deteriorating health of our planet. Our actions – and inaction – continue to destroy the world and

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endless cycle of life and death becomes ever more apparent.

A: In Atmospheric Perspective, solitary figures stand in vast, desolate landscapes imbedded with abstract concepts. How does this use of Surrealism enhance the connections you evoke between humanity and nature?

DA: I explore visual parallels between reality and fantasy in my creative practice. I have always had a vivid imagination. It is not about enhancement; instead, these levels are part of

my inner visual language. A few years ago, I spoke to David Uzochukwu, who suggested I try self-portraiture. He often photographs himself in fantastical yet natural settings. In (2019), he examines ecological concerns, migration and race. I thought it would never happen for me. Then, in the pandemic, the only way to create was to photograph myself. This exercise taught me so much: it became a form of therapeutic expression. The conceptual aspect and lone figure is a depiction of my inner isolation, whilst the abstract elements represent pieces of art and the curious worlds that exist within my own imagination.

concentrates on soft, muted hues, whilst earlier works utilise rich primary colours.

Colour is a language. I use it to speak to people in the same way I would with words. I have a multi-dimensional approach to everything. I never relate to one thing, but to the many parts of who I am and my personal life experiences. The palettes evidence various states of emotion – either

A: There are more qualities that connect humanity than divide us. Can you elaborate on this principle? How do you express this unification through your work?

DA: We are all human, first and foremost. That is a major quality that unites us. Then, there are our shared values –the love of children, family and friends, for example – that holds true worldwide. In certain circumstances, often tragic ones, humans join to help one another. We have witnessed this recently with global events, such as the Turkey-Syria

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Djeneba Aduayom, Untitled for The Cut Magazine (2019).
“A multidisciplinary
When I started, I was told that I had to
My authentic self
yearning to learn
Previous page: Djeneba Aduayom, Untitled for The Cut Magazine , (2019). Left: Djeneba Aduayom, Untitled for The Cut Magazine , (2019).

Speaking multiple languages, for example, or performing various styles of dance, feed in to the expression of my own voice. How I convey it through projects might be different, but the parts that make up my identity are always relevant.

A: You have described your work as a form of “personal interrogation.” Can you expand on this concept?

DA: I am an emotional creature – an empath, introverted and very sensitive. Most of the time, I struggle to cope with the world as it is. This creates a constant flow of interrogations within me. A part of myself analyses and dissects information whilst the other half just feels intensely. The world wants you

It demonstrates that they've seen the story behind the image.

A: How important is experimentation with different media in your practice? What projects are on the horizon?

DA: A multidisciplinary approach is vital. When I started, I was told that if I wanted to work, I had to choose one medium and stick to it. I didn't like that idea. I wholly embrace being a multi-dimensional person and artist. My authentic self is not about being confined to one form. Instead, my yearning to learn and express through different visual languages is extensive. I always have something in progress, though I never know what will happen tomorrow. It remains a surprise.

Words Megan Jones In Bloom Fotografiska Stockholm, Until 11 June

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Djeneba Aduayom, Untitled for The Cut Magazine (2019).

Bursting with Colour

Green spaces are beneficial to mental health and general wellbeing. Yet, in Britain, 2.8 million people – one in four – live more than a ten-minute walk away from a public park. Vietnamese Spanish photographer Viet Ha Tran (b. 1981) wants to increase awareness of the importance of outdoor areas, especially in urban centres. Wall of Nature, part of the Aesthetica Art Prize 2023, unfolds like stills from a psychedelic daydream, flooding the frame with strong greens, oranges, pinks and purples. The series takes cues from the vertical gardens in front of CaixaForum, Madrid, one of the world’s most lush living walls. Over 250 individual species are represented in a mass of over 15,000 plants. “It resembles a piece of environmental graffiti as much as it is botanical." The epic plot, which was designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc in 2008, demonstrates what can happen when we combine architecture, art and botany. | @viethatranart

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Viet Ha Tran, Wall of Nature XIII (2019).
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Viet Ha Tran, Wall of Nature VI (2019).
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Viet Ha Tran, Wall of Nature V (2019).
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Viet Ha Tran, Wall of Nature XV (2019).
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Viet Ha Tran, Wall of Nature VIII (2019).
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Viet Ha Tran, Wall of Nature XXI (2019).
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Viet Ha Tran, Wall of Nature XII (2019).
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Viet Ha Tran, Wall of Nature I (2019). Viet Ha Tran, Wall of Nature XXIII (2019).

Deep in the Forest

Forests appear in mythology and folklore all around the world. Some of the most famous examples include Nottingham’s Sherwood Forest, which features in the legends of Robin Hood, or the Sagano Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, an otherworldly grove which acts a metaphor for strength and protection. The works of Norway-born Rune Guneriussen (b. 1977) are rooted in this same sense of magic. Lamps appear nestled amongst lush green ferns, climb up tree trunks and stand en-masse amidst sweeping vistas. Whilst these scenes make for compelling images, Guneriussen is most interested in the process of working with objects in the landscape, which he has been doing since 2005 all over Norway. “It is not as much photography as it is about sculpture and installation,” the artist says. “This process involves the object, story, space and, most importantly, the time in which it is made.” |

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Rune Guneriussen Downfall (2008). Courtesy of Galerie Olivier Waltman.
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Rune Guneriussen Salvaged by traces of affection (2017). Courtesy of Galerie Olivier Waltman.
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Rune Guneriussen Evolution # 04 (2005). Courtesy of Galerie Olivier Waltman.
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Rune Guneriussen, Ravnen skriker over lavlandet (2013). Courtesy of Galerie Olivier Waltman.
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Rune Guneriussen Evolution # 02 (2005). Courtesy of Galerie Olivier Waltman.
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Rune Guneriussen The beauty of the elderly (2013). Courtesy of Galerie Olivier Waltman.
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Rune Guneriussen, One can rely on the prudence of his decisions # 01 (2007). Courtesy of Galerie Olivier Waltman.
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Sensory Technology


In September 2022, Londoners were dismayed to hear of the forthcoming closure of legendary cultural and music venue, Printworks, which was also considered one of the world’s best clubs, located in the capital’s Docklands area. The space's rave-industrial aesthetic is reminiscent of iconic Berlin club Berghain and, housed in a building that originally contained a printing facility, it has drawn massive crowds since its 2017 launch. Its iconic status solidified upon transformation into The Iceberg Lounge set, the nightclub owned by villain The Penguin in the The Batman (2022), directed by Matt Reeves.

The venue is one of several projects by Broadwick Live, also the group behind the Field Day music festival and The Drumsheds. These are renowned for starry lineups of electronic music and generating vigour in an increasingly sluggish club and rave culture that was deadened by the pandemic. Now, Broadwick’s latest venture is The Beams, a 55,000 square-foot industrial warehouse space on Factory Road in East London’s Royal Docks. The newly-converted music and culture venue, which opened in October 2022, has already hosted Honey Dijon, Maceo Plex, Skepta and Skream. This year, it offers its first contemporary art programme.

Titled Thin Air, it is a gargantuan, walk-through immersive art experience. Brooklyn-based digital artist and curator Alex Czetwertynski known especially for his work melding live music environments with sensory experiences, brings together seven contemporary artists and studios whose work fuses art and technology. Artistic duos and Kimchi and Chips, with Rosa Menkman (b. 1983), join collectives SETUP and UCLA Arts Conditional Studio, alongside

solo artists Matthew Schreiber (b. 1967), Robert Henke (b. 1969) and James Clar (b. 1979). The show arrives as part of a strategy from Broadwick for both The Beams and the Dockyards, one of their nearby spaces, to exist beyond the realm of music and parties. Most clubs are empty during daylight hours, but these venues utilise this down time to bolster new forms of artistry – hosting film sets, video productions and more. Thin Air is a seminal exhibition that highlights potential future directions for multidisciplinary art.

“One of the things we were interested in for this first iteration was the idea of things appearing and disappearing, revealing something through their ephemeral presence,” shares Czetwertynski. “The artists deal with the revelation of a form through a material that cannot be touched, but that feels tangible." It's this notion that underpins the title: physicality is not the focus but a means to a state of mind, a manufacturing of events so focused they render the immaterial material.

For instance, the biggest installation, 3.24 by, is described as "architecture in motion," an ever-shifting environment that "shuffles through a series of existential experiences by redrawing the space through light." The collaborative duo comprises Kristina Karpysheva (b. 1984) and Aleksandr Letsius (b. 1984), who specialise in making live, generative, code-based art in the form of large-scale installations, music and performance. In 3.24, they tackle “synaesthetic perceptions of infinite space, silence and death.”

A cavernous empty space, like multiple coalesced parking lots, pulsates between complete darkness and mixed, strobing patterns of flooding red and white lights. An

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bodies' movements and the work's static nature. The space is continuously made anew, repositioned by the audience. The effect is humorously reminiscent of a cat chasing a laser pointer. Equally, something curious and animalistic is teased from the human body and consciousness in Banshee, as individuals dive through and between ribs of bright light.

Site-specificity is key to many of the works in Thin Air, and to The Beams itself, as well as Broadwick Live’s larger vision. They repurpose old, abandoned and unused spaces, transforming them into vehicles for new, reinvigorated forms of human experience. "For me, curation starts with the space. What does it want? What pieces will create a conversation with the environment?" Czetwertynski says. "One has to fully understand what the space allows. It isn't a white cube."

Acknowledging the physicality of the exhibition is an important distinction in site-specific work that moves away from traditional forms of curation within a museum or gallery setting. Installations are customised to the contours of the venue, rather than transcribing existing artwork to a new location. This process can be compared to the creation of land art, in which "adaptations have to be made for the works to enter into this dialogue with the existing space."

Technology is often instrumental in bridging the body and its surroundings, offering a more accessible and experiential way to produce, curate and exhibit art. This notion first drove the New Media Art movement in the 1960s-1970s, coinciding with the development of video art and other forms of electronic media. The evolution of personal computers and the emergence of the internet, widely attributed to 1 January 1983, further expanded the form, allowing artists to experiment with interactivity in the face of a hyperconnected world.

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Pioneers of New Media art include Korean-American artist Nam June Paik (1932-2006), whose groundbreaking work in performance and technology-based art earned him the title "father of video art," and text-based installation artist Jenny Holzer (b. 1950), has been making work for five decades. Recently, contemporary figures have built on developments in technology. Mexican-Canadian electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (b. 1967), for example, or Refik Anadol (b. 1985), whose 2022 work at MoMA, New York, transformed over 200,000 artworks into mesmerising digital installations.

How individuals produce and consume art continues to transform more rapidly than ever before, with the release of OpenAI's ChatGPT4 in March 2023. It cemented the potential dominance of artificial intelligence in society. The world’s first AI-generated art gallery, Dead End Gallery, opened in Amsterdam this spring, while an image of Pope Francis in a cloud-sized, Balenciaga-esque puffer jacket, made on the AI generator Midjourney, went viral, prompting major concerns and debate on discerning image veracity in the media.

In Thin Air, these developments are not the focus but an ancillary and integral material in which both the artists and space function. It begs the question: "Is this the future of contemporary art and if so what comes next?" Czetwertynski enthuses: "These works aren't 'about' the technology they use, they are about perception and emotion. Each is the creation of a fleeting reality that contains ideas and emotional landscapes to be felt and kept with you for further exploration."

For example, digital artist Robert Henke’s Phosphor (2017) installation depicts the topography of a virtual mountain range. Focused rays of ultraviolet light, like little droplets of water, paint "temporary landscapes" on a layer

of phosphorus dust. Henke developed the work’s software processes using Benoît Mandelbrot’s fractal geometry, early algorithmic art and contemporary big data models. There is a heavy technological influence, but at its heart, the work is about nature: geography and land, the mathematics of its ever-changing rhythms – the image we see on display is never the same again – and the connections between us all. Commercial immersive art experiences have also become more popular, providing useful visual fodder for Instagramorientated audiences. The three-year run of Yayoi Kusama’s (b. 1929) Chandelier of Grief and Infinity Mirror Rooms at the Tate Modern have been a significant success, with various extensions and over 390,000 visitors. However, there is a risk of devaluing the meaning and narrative behind the work because of documenting the experience of it, with thousands flocking to share their snapshots on sites like Instagram. The history and life of canonical artists and their careers are also being explored through immersion. The travelling Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, in London, for example, attempts to use the digital realm and technology to preserve and revive art history in an accessible way. Meaning is injected through extensive brochures, QR codes and wall texts at every turn. Exhibitions like Thin Air, then, use a similar model in a more avant-garde and cutting-edge way; one that's less focused on art history but more on art's future. Immersive installations are a reaction to the passivity of consuming art online and to the despair of doomscrolling. Czetwertynski suggests: "Too often we are considered passive actors in both art and life." Spaces that continue to find new uses are at the centre of reconciling this agency, offering an active state of being that exists only with the help of media.

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Thin Air The
Right: Robert Henke, Phosphor (2017). Photo: Sandra Ciampone. Words
Vamika Sinha
Beams, London Until 4 June

Crafting Atmosphere

Interiors can have a profound influence on mood. The psychology of space is a field exploring the impact of the built environment – homes, offices, shops, restaurants – on human experience. Elements of colour, light and layout are integral to the atmosphere of a room. Green, for example, is associated with rest and relaxation, whilst orange is uplifting, optimistic. Cristina Coral’s imagery brings this to our attention. It is set within empty cinemas filled with rows of green seats and heavy velvet curtains. The result is a quiet and visually satisfying series, where queues of doppelgängers stare beyond the frame. Elsewhere, anonymous hands and arms appear from behind layers of deep red fabric, adding a hint of Surrealism. Coral is based in Italy, making carefully curated scenes that interrogate the complicated relationship between subjects and environments. Selected clients and publications include Lalique and Vogue Italia. |

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Cristina Coral Cristina Coral Tribute to Baldessari I (2018).
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Cristina Coral, Alternative Perspective Green I (2017).
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Cristina Coral, Blue Dress (2016) from The Other Part of Me
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Cristina Coral, Alternative Perspective Green, Trio (2017).
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Cristina Coral, Hidden (2016) from Secret Garden
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Cristina Coral, Alternative Perspective Green II (2017).
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Cristina Coral, Hand (2016) from The Other Part of Me

Visual Revolution

Ori Gersht (b. 1967) is known for destroying painstakingly recreated versions of iconic classical paintings on camera. The London-based, Israeli-born artist is interested in time periods involving revolutions – the scientific, industrial and digital – which he posits as crossroads that define photography. Throughout his career, Gersht has observed the relationships between history, landscape and memory.

Fruit explodes and flowers shatter in slow-motion videos, inviting conversation around digitisation, reality and virtual spaces. The resulting imagery is unsettlingly beautiful; viewers are drawn in before being confronted with darker and more complex themes. Gersht adopts a poetic, metaphorical approach to explore the difficulties of representing violent events or histories. Blow Up (2007-2008) transforms the 19th century work of Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) to examine nationalistic discourse, whilst Big Bang (2006) recalls 18th century Dutch still life, the illusion of a flower bouquet shattered in a slow-motion explosion, evoking an image of the creation of the universe and the cycle of life and death.

Gersht now turns his focus to the relationships between photography, optical perception and technology in Fields and Visions and Another World (2022). These works incorporate Artificial Intelligence to reform and reshape low resolution photographs at a time when digital advances are both propelling and challenging contemporary image-making. These uncanny depictions question artistic representation and the truth behind a visual. Gersht continues to foster dialogues between art history and contemporary practice, whilst also pushing beyond the borders of new technologies.

A: You are renowned for responding to 17th century still life paintings, including those of Jan Brueghel the Elder. What is the significance of this genre and flower motifs?

OG: We all have an immediate connection with flowers. We connect them to Valentine’s Day but also to memorials and graves – they relate to such a broad range of our emotional experiences. From the very early days until now, flowers have performed a significant role in visual art. There are so many ideas that can be played out very subtly through their use: historical, political and ideological questions. All this can be hidden behind their delicate, formal beauty. Jan Brueghel the Elder’s (1568-1625) paintings were some of the first of their kind. They mark a transitional moment when painters stopped including native wildflowers in their work. Instead, all the flowers were cultivated. They would not have existed without human intervention, as they never grew – naturally – in the same place. It is a movement away from the "real," as species from across the world started to arrive in Europe. Brueghel is already asking questions about nature and human intervention. I'm doing the same but in the digital age.

A: Your practice is deeply rooted in photographic history and pivotal moments that changed visual culture forever. Can you discuss the time periods that have inspired you?

OG: I tend to look at three revolutions in my work: the scientific, industrial and digital. Crossroads that really define photography. Each one of them was a leap that changed our understanding of the world. Magnifying lenses were invented during the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and

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“Photographic chemistry was invented in the 19th century, altering our notion of linear time by freezing a moment. Now, we are in the Digital Revolution, which I see as a complete collapse of time and space.”

17th centuries. This was when Galileo started to look at the celestial skies – he was able to produce drawings of the moon that challenged perceptions. People believed the moon was a perfect spherical body, but Galileo's observations enabled us to see craters. We could look through a microscope and see organisms invisible to the naked eye. The lens became an extension of human vision, giving us access to the large and the small. I consider this moment as one where space is compressed. The Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) is another such period – steam engines and factories began to exceed our biological pace. Photographic chemistry was invented in the 19th century, altering our notion of linear time by freezing a moment. Now, we are in the Digital Revolution, which I see as a complete collapse of time and space.

A: Time and speed are frequently explored in your work. Your projects have documented bullets hitting pomegranates at 1,600 frames per second. Where does this interest in representing and altering time come from?

OG: My fascination with time – and the camera – probably derives from my own sense of mortality. Photography can harvest time, turning the present into something eternal. It records moments in transition. Like Schrödinger's cat, these paradoxical scenarios exist – simultaneously – in two states: holding together and falling apart. I record events that occur in the folds of time, taking place at an enormous speed that the mind can't process. These "phantom" events can be considered metaphysical since they occur outside of human perception. However, with the aid of new photographic technologies, such moments are becoming visible. The question is: if we are unable to experience something, does

it exist? And what does it mean to witness an event that can be captured by the camera, but not seen by the naked eye?

A: Can you discuss the myriad socio-political meanings that flowers manifest across your body of work?

OG: My Blow Up (2007-2008) photographs are based on paintings featuring the three colours of the French flag: red, white and blue. On first glance, the original 19th century works by Henri Fantin-Latour seem comfortable and bourgeois. However, looking deeper, there’s a nationalistic discourse invested in them. Blow Up takes this subject matter and colour palette, transforming them into a series of explosions, with all the political implications that brings. Fragile Land (2018) is based on flowers on the verge of extinction in Israel: Cyclamen, Iris Atropurpurea and the Madonna Lily. The plants are involved in the political conflict. People are supposed to protect the flowers to protect the land: where they grow is a place everyone respects. This is a moment where nature does something extraordinary, connecting us to a location and encouraging us to look beyond the desire for nationalistic ownership. In On Reflection (2014), I thought about glass breaking as an act of cultural violation. I kept in mind the horrific scenes from Kristallnacht on 9 November 1938, when Nazi sympathisers went out into the streets of Germany to smash shop windows and burn Jewish books.

A: What does the process of assembling and destroying one of your pieces look like? How long does it take?

OG: On Reflection (2014) took close to 18 months to see through. With the help of my studio team, we used synthetic materials – plastic, paper and silk – to recreate Brueghel's

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Previous page: Ori Gersht, Blow Up 01, (2007). Courtesy of the artist. Left: Ori Gersht, Blow Up 04, (2007). Courtesy of the artist. Ori Gersht, New
01 –
Courtesy of the artist.

bouquets, replicating the original painting as closely as possible. Then, I put mirrors in front of them; what we ended up looking at was a reflection. I used two cameras standing beside each other, each with a different focal point. One looked at the "virtual space" (the reflection), and the other recorded "reality" (the material of the glass). Finally, after all this effort, I destroyed the piece in a flash, whilst capturing it in slow-motion. The act of destruction is fundamental to my practice. The idea is to turn it on its head – for demolition to become an act of creation. This dialectical relationship is integral. I turn moments of obliteration into new possibilities.

A: Another World and Fields and Visions (2022) incorporate AI. What is the inspiration behind these works? Why did you choose to add "computer vision?"

OG: I have returned to the botanical themes that occupied me for the last decade. Inspiration derived from Swiss naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), who travelled to Suriname in the 17th century to study its native tropical plants. The project also draws on American painter Martin Johnson Heade (1819 -1904), who toured the Amazon in the 19th century in search of hummingbirds and exotic orchids. Both artists returned with souvenirs from the regions, and subsequent drawings depict new species of floral and fauna previously unknown to American and European audiences. In doing so, they expanded scientific and cultural knowledge, fusing fact and fiction to build a mysterious world that ignited imaginations. For Another World and Fields and Visions, I reproduced the same locations in my studio. I made the images at a very low resolution because I wanted to fill the gaps using artificial intelligence software. I enlarged small

photographs to a massive size, inviting the computer to use its acquired knowledge to imagine the lost information. These images are no longer faithful depictions of physical matter but hybrids: partly optical, partly digital. I find the question of what is real very interesting, since the notion of reality is fluid. This work presents a shift in the discourse of authentic photographic vision, redefining ideas of "realism."

A: Discussions of AI image generators, avatars, the metaverse and NFTs have dominated headlines for the past few years. Do you think we are still living in the Digital Revolution? Or are we entering a brand new era?

OG: We are still living in the revolution. Everything around us is unstable: rapid changes, continuous transitions, social and political paradigm shifts. The Digital Revolution is throwing everything up in the air. This is very scary, but simultaneously it is an exciting moment. There is no doubt that a new era is ahead. It could be that we are coming to the end of the optical era, with volumetric captures and virtual experiences that are starting to provide more and more possibilities. We have been striving to create lifelike representations of the world for centuries: first through the medium of painting, then photography, film and now virtual hyperrealism. Step by step, we are getting closer. At the same time, we are losing ground and distancing ourselves from visceral experiences. That's why paintings are particularly attractive right now; they connect us with our bodies and the physical world. Painting remains like a lifebuoy, to some extent keeping the tangible presence of art above water. Yet, I believe virtual art will become a dominant force in the years to come. Notions of reality and truth will have to evolve and find new forms.

Words Eleanor Sutherland

Interview first published in Future Now Aesthetica Art Prize 2023

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Right: Ori Gersht, Blow Up 17, (2007). Courtesy of the artist. Ori Gersht, Pomegranate: Off Balance, (2006). Courtesy of the artist.

Exhibition Reviews

1For Man is Coming Here

The climate crisis is an overwhelming topic. It is universally understood that humans are damaging the planet, but implementing change is proving difficult. The compelling group show, For Man is Coming Here at Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre, Manchester, attempts to reset attitudes.

The exhibition's title is cherry picked from the cautionary song Passaredo by Brazilian singer Chico Buarque, which alludes to the destruction of habitats in the rainforest. Twelve artists respond to humanity’s impact on nature in a myriad of ways, using clay, coal, foraged materials, paint, pencil and wood. Mishka Henner’s (b. 1976) large-scale piece Coronado Feeders, Dalhart, Texas (2012-2013) immediately draws the eye as you enter. A crimson lake pools on the canvas. It is comprised of countless Google images of fields, evoking the harsh reality of the meat industry and its ongoing pitfalls.



Empty fields, open moors and ruined abbeys paint the landscape of Larry Achiampong’s (b. 1984) Wayfinder. The film, which is a BAFTA-longlisted Outstanding Debut (2023) and the 2023 Main Prize winner of the Aesthetica Art Prize, provides the title for the artist's first major solo exhibition. The feature-length artists' film, which is central to the show, characterises the journey of a young woman, played by Perside Rodrigues. The oracle-like figure wears a bright red coat and clutches a gas mask, reflecting “the early days of the pandemic” when the film was made. What emerges is a world that appears both apocalyptic and contemporary. The English countryside is navigated from north to south, exploring urgent topics of migration, identity and belonging. As the journey continues, instantly recognisable landmarks fill the screen – Hadrian’s Wall, Lambley Viaduct, the beaches

Elsewhere, double-exposed photographs, sculptures of foxes and crows, foraged seashore items, a lump of coal and a woven bag created from “bag for life” carriers continue the show's themes. These multidisciplinary works assist viewers to digest society’s impact on the land and its residual presence. Through this exhibition, the gallery has also demonstrated its dedication to decarbonising by working in line with their green pledge. This includes curating carbon neutral exhibitions, working with local artists and promoting sustainable goals through workshops and exhibitions. Reusing plinths, hand making labels and refraining from repainting the walls keeps the show as green as possible. In an age of endless news cycles we risk losing people’s attention, but through important exhibits such as this one, we can continue the conversation in new and meaningful ways.

Words Isabel Armitage

Bury Art Museum

4 March - 21 October

of Margate – as a question repeats: “What does it mean to yearn for the unfamiliar within the cocoon of familiarity?” Even more pressing is the artist’s commentary on race and displacement, expressed in ballads such as The Brown Girl, sung by Mataio Austin Dean, or monologues that reckon with colonial rhetoric. The film subverts ideas of settlement and imperial expansion. Territory is not for acquisition or possession, where, it belongs to a “thousand people who came along this way before.” Instead, England is positioned as a site of regeneration, challenging the limits of boundaries.

These lines of enquiry are revisited throughout the show, with photography, sculpture, video and a games room echoing Achiampong's commitment to illuminating deeply rooted inequalities. Audiences are given space to soak in these multidisciplinary works, facilitating time for reflection.

Words Chloe Elliott

Baltic, Gateshead 20 May - 29 October



In the UK, 90% of newlywed women adopt their husband’s surname, as reported by The Independent in 2022. The decision signifies a new chapter for many – a chance to reflect on personal identity whilst considering the shared future that lies ahead. Maryam Wahid’s (b. 1995) latest exhibition investigates this transitional period in her own mother’s life, who moved from Pakistan to the UK for an arranged marriage in 1982. Her mother’s maiden name, Zaibunnisa, also provides the title for the resulting series.

The show centres on a 2019 trip to the artist's maternal country: Pakistan. It was her first time visiting Lahore but also 20 years since her mother last returned to her childhood home. Photographs and quotes from the shared journey draw attention to personal encounters and narratives, investigating displacement, heritage, identity and migration.

Powerful portraits of multigenerational women are nestled alongside scenes from courtyards, living rooms and street corners. Shots vary in size and sequence – blown up and pasted onto the gallery walls or neatly packed into bold frames. The result is reminiscent of an oversized family album, with key moments proudly visible for all to see. The celebratory atmosphere continues with flower garlands. Here, Wahid records the complexities of belonging, documenting overlooked experiences of migration, as well as memories and accounts not found in British history books. Tales of friendship, happiness and loss that were previously accessed from family photos and stories passed down play out in front of the artist’s eyes. These visions are personal yet relatable, fleeting yet meaningful. In this way, the show illuminates the joy of reconnecting with the lineage of self.

Words Saffron Ward

Impressions, Bradford 8 April - 1 July

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1. Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, La Pensée Férale 3/7 (detail), (2020). Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin. Centre for Contemporary Art. © Larry Achiampong. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2022. Courtesy the artist and Copperfield, London. 1 3

4a. Paul Moakley, 4th of July Eve, Oakwood Beach, Staten Island, (2020). Courtesy Paul Moakley. 4b. Lou van Melik,

(22 April 2020). Courtesy Chantal Heijnen Photography. (detail), (2018).

2017). Mixed media, mirrors, wood, bamboo, stainless steel, archival pigment prints, video projectors, ceramic, acrylic paint, salt, 373 x 480 x 457 cm, 147 x 189 x 180 in. Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery and Victoria Miro © Sarah

Models: Radhika Nair, Chawntell Kulkarni, Kiran Kandola; Fashion: Richard Quinn. Pershore, Worcestershire. Chromogenic print. © Tim Walker Studio.

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The concept of home reaches far beyond the places in which we dwell. It can also refer to spaces and communities that provide us with a sense of being whole. New York Now: Home at the Museum of the City of New York is dedicated to this idea, presenting creative interpretations of – and responses to – what it means to live in the city today. The exhibition navigates urban and domestic settings, touching on social inequalities and the ongoing effects of the COVID19 pandemic. The show revolves around the physical and emotional connections that come together to create “home.” The display is organised into four parts, which invite viewers to look at different perspectives of family life. Audiences will discover how definitions within the contemporary landscape. Home Crosses Borders, focuses on New York’s immigrant communities, whilst Home is Chosen shows families formed by choice. Home is a Haven considers how spaces can shelter

5Wonderful Things


At the age of 25, Tim Walker (b. 1970) shot his first story for British Vogue. He has gone on to develop an array of high concept magazine spreads, known for their surrealist and whimsical aesthetic. In 2016, the fashion photographer was invited by the V&A, London, to delve into their permanent collection. The resulting exhibition was both an interpretation and complete reimagining of the objects he encountered, finding inspiration in the smallest details. Seven years later, the touring exhibition makes its latest stop in Los Angeles.

In the show, new American audiences are introduced to Walker with a brief survey of his editorial work between 1995 and 2008. These commercial pieces contextualise a wider perspective and approach whilst framing later artworks, which viewers experience as they step past a sheer white curtain and into a refreshing world of wonder and discovery.

Although most of the touring exhibition is installed directly from the V&A, there is a new commission – based on objects

6The Waiting Room


A volcano erupts. Clocks tick. Plants grow at super speed. Flocks of birds fly overhead. This is Sarah Sze’s (b. 1969) latest site-specific installation, Metronome. The architectural, digital and sculptural environment stretches from floor to ceiling in Peckham Rye Station's Victorian waiting room.

The foyer opened in 1865 during a period of rapid industrialisation in Britain, nearly 40 years after the first passenger railway was authorised by parliament in 1826. By the mid-19th century, train networks were running to an official railway schedule, as published by George Bradshaw in 1839. This led to not only the construction of waiting rooms, but to the adoption of standard time across Britain.

Sze responds to this significant moment amidst another seismic change: 24/7 connectivity. Every day, 5 billion photos are taken on smartphones, with 1.3 billion shared on Instagram. Society is navigating a constant deluge of information. “We are in the middle of an extreme hurricane,”

us both physically and conceptually. Lastly, Home is the Body features portraits that are in dialogue with social history. Amongst the 33 creatives in the show is Paul Oakley, who selected his birthplace, Staten Island, as a microcosm for everyday suburban New Yorkers. Photographs such as 4th of July Eve represent many locations, yet the details of the image – backyard, front lawns and glowing windows –ground it within a specific kind of neighbourhood. Elsewhere, in the Lou’s Summer series, Chantal Heijnen collaborated with her younger son, Lou von Melik, to create images during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The work Sea of Buildings, reveals a scene taken from the back seat of a car. Its vantage on the skyline is strangely familiar, offering a universality that many might feel they have seen before. New York Now reveals how the sense of home is decided by the way we feel and with whom we share our everyday lives.

Words Jennifer Sauer

MCNY, New York

10 March - 27 August

from the Getty’s extensive collection. Dieric Bouts’ The Annunciation (1450-1455) and Lucas Cranach the Elder’s A Faun and His Family with a Slain Lion (1526) provide the inspiration for Walker’s latest photographs. As if by magic, elements of the oil paintings are referenced and transformed for the present-day. The artist explains: “These two paintings are such a brilliant parallel – to have one painter obsessed by dress and fabric, and then another depicting wild nudity.” Overall, there is a creative dialogue across function, material, texture and time. Visitors embark on a wondrous journey that excites and delights. Walker's unique approach to fashion photography is unexpected, and at times, truly thrilling. Images of models in flowing gowns are reminiscent of grand oil paintings and shine a light on all of the creatives behind the final shot: make-up artists, muses, stylists and set designers. Celebration of the show's central message is found in every corner, revealing the power of collaboration.

Words Melissa Karlin

Getty, Los Angeles

2 May - 20 August

Sze explains. “We are learning to speak through images at an exponential pace.” The onslaught of visual data is key to this installation, building on earlier works like Centrifuge (2017).

The artist also magpies a collection of everyday objects, adding to the tangled mix of moving images. A clunky 16port Gigabit box sits next to chewing gum, an old coffee cup and receipts. The office detritus is splintered by a nexus of fragile steel rods, forming a globe-like structure. These elements are reminiscent of the resourcefulness of Land Art, including Martin Hill and Philippa Jones’ Synergy (2009) , and the playfulness of Marcel Duchamp’s (1887-1968) readymades. Yet, The Waiting Room induces feelings of chaos, illustrating the psychological impact of living in a world that is frenzied, pixilated and transitory. Viewers are left drawing connections between Sze's environment and their own. The work illustrates how efforts to focus on a single image can be futile. Instead, we're left looking at everything, all at once.

Words Charlotte Rickards

Peckham Rye, London 19 May - 17 September

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1War Pony

Actress Riley Keough (Daisy Jones & The Six) makes her directorial debut with War Pony, co-directing with friend and producing partner Gina Gammell. The film is set around the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, telling the contemporary tale of young blue-collar Oglala Lakota males looking to survive any way they can.

Whether stealing gas or selling games consoles, Bill (Jojo Bapteise Whiting) is as a hustler extraordinaire, and with two children from different mothers, he has to be. At the age of 23, his latest ruse materialises after finding a lost poodle, deciding to breed dogs and make a lucrative profit out of the business. Meanwhile, the 12-year-old Matho (LaDainian Crazy Thunder) is a law unto himself, stealing his often-absent father’s drug stash, cutting it and selling on for profit. Throughout the film, we see drama casually overlap with personal stories.

2T he Blue Caftan

The Blue Caftan is not only a passage into a closeted queer relationship but also a unique rummaging of aesthetic intimacy. Director Maryam Touzani tells the story of a couple in Morocco that runs a caftan shop, where Halim (Saleh Bakri) is the maalem – master tailor –and Mina (Lubna Azabal) runs the front. Throughout their marriage, Halim has only admitted to Mina that he is gay.

Tourzani directs a central narrative arc on the production of beautiful clothing but, through subtle nuance, performance and precise usage of quiet moments, poetry is conjured from love's denial. However, platonic intimacy is positively portrayed as a passionate expression of joy for the married couple. Eyes, hands and the caftans themselves are framed as critical points of convergence. Cinematographer Virginie Surdej lingers on Halim and his apprentice, Youssef's (Ayoub Massioui)

There is a fluidity to David Gallego's camera work, which darts between different characters and effortlessly captures the interlaced nature of this community. These disenfranchised figures are stuck in a spiral of poverty and violence, largely ostracised due to their background. War Pony won the Caméra d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival – the prize given to best first feature – and will inevitably be compared to Chloé Zhao’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me and The Rider, which are also set on the Pine Ridge Reservation and cast non-professional performers. Yet, away from Zhao’s poetic approach, the duo finds their own voices here amid the hardscrabble upbringing that Bill, Matho and many others also endure. Though largely a story of hardship, it’s fuelled by hope too. The performances, will suck you into this world, while the directors create a credible portrait of reservation life.

Words James Mottram


stitching and performing needlework to luscious fabric with a loving gaze. This is a sharp contrast to the musky bath house where Halim journeys for anonymous affairs. The film does not judge relationships. Instead, criticism lies in the shop's refusal to conform to modern, timeefficient machines – frustrated with Halim's traditional handiwork. It posits time as something to savour, an arbiter for considering how much can happen and evolve upon reflection. Much like Halim and Mina's relationship, immersing oneself in a practice of patience can reveal the mutual understanding that goes beyond any words. The present-day world is overflowing with impersonal products and expedited relationships, but Touzani's first feature film since debut drama Adam (2019) is an assuring sentiment for the future of Moroccan cinema. The Blue Caftan is not a love story, but it is certainly a story about love.

3STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie

The first word encountered in Davis Guggenheim's documentary about actor Michael J. Fox is the most important one. "Still" can refer to a frame that captures a moment. Or, in the case of Fox – the bright, effervescent 1980s star of Family Ties and Back to the Future, it feels deeply ironic. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, aged 29, a long-term degenerative disorder that causes the body to shake uncontrollably. Stillness, then, is clearly not a state the actor can frequently experience.

Yet, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie is anything but a maudlin look at an man whose career was curtailed. There is a great deal of humour and hope in the film. The lack of self-pity is evident; when Guggenheim asks if he's in pain, Fox shrugs off the question. Of course, there is constant discomfort, but he sees no point in raising this. Pain is just something he deals with in his everyday life.

Guggenheim previously delivered the climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth (2006). This piece is very different, a personal portrait of Fox that features interviews and recreations. The film begins with Fox waking in a hotel room with a slight tremor in his hand. Was it the consequence of heavy partying the night before? It would take time for Fox to realise what was wrong, and seven years to go public with the diagnosis. It works well enough as a personal journey through the Canadian's career, from his days of struggle to Family Ties fame, Back to the Future stardom and his Emmy-winning turn on Spin City. At times, the timeline is somewhat ragged, but it's a thoroughly heartfelt and moving experience. It is seeing Fox interacting with his family or physiotherapist, and his determined approach to his life, that makes Guggenheim's film a joyful watch.

Words Michael Piantini

New Wave Films

Words James Mottram Apple TV+

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film reviews

Alpha Test 4 is the third album from intergalactic progravers HENGE, following albums Attention Earth! (2018) and ExoKosm (2020). This latest release is produced with Jim Spencer (New Order, Black Grape) and impeccably mastered by Frank Arkwright (Arcade Fire, Joy Division) at Abbey Road. It's a unique collection of adventurous sounds the group refer to "Cosmic Dross," a space-age hybrid of rave and progressive rock, spreading a message of hope that manages to be both uplifting and amusing. The concept band transform into fictional characters Goo, Grok, Nom and Zpor, resulting in consistently engaging performances. Get A Wriggle On, which calls for immediate action to tackle the climate crisis, is both playful and subversive with childlike electronica battling pulverising guitars. The vocal on Self Repair Protocol –a song about malfunctioning robots – sits between the

past, present and future, a styling reminiscent of Sparks and The Buggles. Elsewhere, the marching beats of Wanderlust brings to mind The Specials and Madness. The electro funk DNA delivers thought-provoking lyrics explaining the role of the organic chemical in passing on genetic instruction, whilst First Encounter diverges into multiple directions akin to the journey of life, evolving with a flourishing, rousing outro. The album closes with psychedelic Asteroid, a poetic contemplation on the "lonesome asteroid" – an ironic twist to the genre of space rock. The listener is metaphorically left out in space, as the minor planet hurtles into darkness and fades out. Any sense of melancholy across the album is overridden by a feeling of subversiveness. It is characterised by cosmic melody and extra-terrestrial sounds, with the band effectively acting as aliens observing human life.

2Shapes That Are Different

The ambitious debut album from Hugh Sheehan, Shapes That Are Different, expresses a journey of self-discovery. The Birmingham-born artist renders the experience of coming to terms with one's sexuality across 10 richlyproduced tracks. There is a confluence of influences that builds throughout the record. The music bares similarities to the acoustics of Finnish folk groups, from Sheehan's time living in Helsinki, whilst standout tracks intertwine with the characteristics of traditional Irish song-writing. The Right Kind of Tears is the most lyrically affective, a song that testifies to the importance of emotional vulnerability when working through grief. He reminisces over a past breakup – "relics of our time together, memories bruised" – to the brushing of a dry drum kit. Exhale is a heavily synthesised track that recalls Bon Iver's minimalist project, 22, A Million, and viscerally

enacts the relinquishment Sheehan felt after coming out. The album is also an exploration of shame, which the queer artist suggests arises naturally from the experience of sexual marginalisation, an emotion "universal and ubiquitous, but also individual and isolating." However, he testifies to the liberating potential of performative utterances: the relief of bringing one's true self into existence by speaking it out. Snippets of dialogue embedded in lyrical abstraction emphatically render the feeling of coming to understand his identity. Beyond What You Know evidences this with an ambient soundscape and the definite language of self-expression. Shapes That Are Different is a loosely conceptual album that sets itself the difficult task of articulating the politics of queerness. It is an emotive, personal narrative that communicates best when it embraces its simple lyricism.

3Yarn The Hours Away


Foyer Red couldn't have produced a stronger or more nostalgic album for their debut release. Each song has been pined and pained over by vocalist and clarinetist Elana Riordan, who takes the helm as lead singer. There is such intricate variation from this Brooklyn ensemble; repeated listening leaves you adrift in a collage of fantastical, chaotic sounds. Each fits perfectly together, despite the sudden manoeuvres from one to the next. It is clear from the smacking chords of opener Plumbers Unite! that the record is a joyous, offbeat and original ride. The track is beautifully messy, with delayed vocal harmonies and an authentic aesthetic that sounds like it was recorded in a garage. The music industry has become obsessed with clean and loud recordings at the loss of the experimentation, weirdness and soul of the DIY 1990s rock era that undoubtedly inspired Foyer Red.

Wetland Walk feels somehow familiar, with discordant vocals and glitchy instrumentation, knocking against the listener's ears in a comfortable sway. The song writing glows across the album, with secret smatterings of melancholy and darkness that join the fuzzy aura reminiscent of jolly schoolyard days. Pocket brings out an element of punk, with a vocal production that echoes that of Tune-Yards. The drums beg for a live performance, alongside a sound that would fit within the shaky camera classic MTV2 backdrop. Drummer Marco Ocampo maintains an intricate understanding of the multi-genre swing that is both commendable and a thing of wonder. On Unwaxed Flavored Floss, for example, the uniting of percussion and fevered lyrics feels viscerally primal. This is a brilliant record that deserves every second of whimsical listening, whilst emanating gloss and vitality.

Words Eitan Orenstein

Hugh Sheehan

Words Kyle Bryony

Carpark Records

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Matt Swain Henge Music
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Fact and fiction are often “two sides of the same coin” writes Munira Al Sayegh, Founder of Dirwaza Curatorial Lab in the UAE. Al Sayegh has programmed exhibitions for Art Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s Guggenheim. Her most recent multidisciplinary project, Evaporating Suns, is both a book and show, and is on view now at Kulturstiftung Basel H.Geiger (KBH.G). Thirteen regional artists present oral traditions specific to the Arabian Gulf, unpacking the tensions between historic fables and present-day reality.

Confronted with myth, “anyone in the western world will think immediately of tales from One Thousand and One Nights, conjuring up images both mysterious and fascinating.” The reality is far more complex, Director of KBH.G, Raphael Suter, explains. Folklore is both unifying and restrictive. Stories are revered and challenged.

Bahraini artist Mashael Alsaie (b. 1994) illustrates

2T he Artist’s Books

“I’m nothing if not stubborn,” wrote American photographer Francesca Woodman (1958-1981). The sentiment was shared with a friend when her books, brimming with monochrome square self-portraits, were relegated to the fringes of the art world. But now, at long last, we’re recognising Woodman’s deserved place in the canon. This latest collection, The Artist’s Books, is the most extensive look at her revolutionary work to date. Woodman first took photographs of herself aged 13. Even then, it was possible to see her sharp curiosity. Throughout her youth, studying at Rhode Island School of Design and then a year in Italy, she continued to capture her body and private life. Woodman then pasted her images and scribbled thoughts in tattered 19th and early 20th century journals, which she found at bookshops and flea markets in Rome during the 1970s.

3Eye Mama


Motherhood has long been idealised within western visual culture. It’s a mode of representation that privileges perfection and self-sacrifice, which traces a line from today’s “mumfluencers” with their perfect broods, who are clean and immaculately attired, right back to the depictions of the Virgin Mary with her sacred newborn. In recent years, a more expansive view of what it means to raise children has come to the fore, thanks to projects such as Eye Mama, which started life in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is an Instagram account where filmmaker Karni Arieli (b. 1974) started reposting images by fellow parents. Lockdown turned everyone’s gaze inwards. Suddenly the home, a place previously considered private, became a site where history was unfolding, drawing attention to the experience of parents. To solicit images for this book, Arieli put out an open

Ain Adhari, a historic freshwater pool thought to have emerged from a weeping woman’s tears. Sculptural installation Barren Spring (2022) contains two recordings – the site's white noise and Alsaie’s grandmother retelling the story. Here, art functions as a touchstone for ecology and ancestry. Elsewhere, Fatima Uzdenova (b.1978) reinvents tales of the Crone – an old woman often characterised as a disagreeable enchantress. Pleated white, red and black fabric sourced from her wardrobe forms a large-scale installation. Fatema Al Fardan (b. 1987) and Zuhoor Al Sayegh (b. 1997) repurpose the archetype, envisioning the witch figure as a constructed date tree, rooted in feminine strength, texture and agency. Narratives ebb and flow in Evaporating Suns. The project raises crucial questions about the role myths play in present contexts, and the stories that we tell ourselves.

Words Chloe Elliott

Hatje Cantz

This latest photography-meets-art book includes the well-known Some Disordered Interior Geometries (1981), as well as two never before seen publications, which are brought to light for the first time. The collection is intimate, cryptic and gritty. At times it is almost surreal: bodies become ephemeral and dissolve through the use of a slow shutter speed. If you had to find the origins of where the visual aesthetic of Tumblr layouts or Instagram carousel posts came from, you might look to Woodman. These pages ask: who owns what? Am I a sexualised body? Or something else? However, it seems that definitive answers are not the goal here. She is navigating her place in the world as an artist. Woodman notes under one image: “I made this.” In this monograph, we begin to find the ideas and thoughts that spurred on one of the 20th century’s most influential women photographers.

Words Charlotte Rickards


call. The final edit features more than 200 photos from creators such as Krissima Poba Ngouma, Lisa Sorgini and Valeria Sigal. Structured around the day – from early dawn to the witching hour – to reflect the 24/7 nature of maternal care, Eye Mama shows the highs and lows, but also the unpredictability and joy of life with children. These female and non-binary artists are not the first to turn their lens on this subject. Famously, 19th century pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron photographed her family, as did Sally Mann and Elinor Carucci, who was on the selection jury for this project. However, there is something refreshing about this take. It’s authentic, beautiful, inclusive, tender and visceral. Not everyone has children, but we all are someone’s child. Finally, the complex, personal experience of motherhood is explored, examined and celebrated in all its rich nuance.

Words Rachel Segal Hamilton


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Ilina Mustafina is a multidisciplinary artist, designer and photographer based in New York. Her work has an organic, authentic and spontaneous focus. Each piece is softly compelling – offering an innate understanding of light, colour, shadow and structure, as well as composition of the human form. Mustafina is currently working on residential projects and commissioned wall paintings. I Instagram: @mustafinagallery

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Anastasia Yanchuk aka Nati is an artist of Ukrainian-Russian roots. Upon graduating with a degree in Interior Design and Architecture from the International Academy of Business and Management in Moscow, she moved to Italy and is based in Alba. Nati uses bold colours and techniques to depict strong, intriguing and sensual women. She notes the works are a reminder that women are a symbol of life, and as their potential is limitless, she explores a variety of mediums – each one allows for a unique expression of an artwork. I Instagram: @ anastasia_nati


Daohua Lou is a Chinese artist based in Stockholm. She specialises in figurative acrylic painting and ink drawing – inspiration comes from an inner world brimming with images from the subconscious. The figures are complex, reflecting emotions and experiences that play a role in forming who we are. Each one is genderless, as the artist believes that inner conflicts and the struggles they represent are universal. Lou’s work has been exhibited widely; upcoming shows include the Affordable Art Fair Stockholm and the CICA Museum, Gyeonggi-do. I Instagram: @dh.lou.lou

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For submission enquiries regarding the Artists’ Directory, contact Katherine Smira on


York-based fine artist Emma James is inspired by local landscapes, which she uses to explore the ever-changing lines, forms and colours. These are then recorded as fragments of memory and translated to canvas using depth of texture. James notes: “I seek out the stories of those who once lived and sheltered on the land, to discover the relationship we once had to the wilderness. My paintings move, as I do, through wild spaces.”

I Instagram: @emmajamespaintings

Rieko Whitfield is a Japanese-American artist whose experimental pop music has been making waves in the London art scene. As a current artist in residence at the Tate Modern and a recent graduate of the Royal College of Art, she has been gaining a cult following through is part of a larger world-building project that centres on life, death, rebirth and the power of community in embodying alternative futures. It will be available to stream on all platforms in October. Image: Deividas Vytautas.

I Instagram: @riekowhitfield


Beijing-based artist Xujun Han holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She uses visual means to explore the potential of space, texture, light and colour. A wide vocabulary of natural elements are used – trees, mountains and water – in both observational compositions and imaginary spaces to blend the real world and an ideal world. Han says: “These elements are embodied in both eastern and western cultures and can be seen throughout my paintings, which are at the core of my creative practice.”

I Instagram: @ xujun_han

140 Aesthetica artists’ directory

Aliaksei Ovsyannikov

Oil painter Aliaksei Ovsyannikov lives in Minsk, where he explores selfidentity. Bold, colour-rich brushstrokes show a depth of personal emotions and memories. Ovsyannikov notes: “I, like a transformer, pass the outside world through my internal perceptions and express the picture that I depict. It’s important to express yourself, your feelings and sensations, which belong only to you.”

clare Marie Bailey

Photographer and filmmaker Clare Marie Bailey is based in Wales. She uses self-portraiture to explore a variety of female characters via the staging of images – revealing cinematic and dreamlike narratives. This allows the artist to ruminate on the hidden and the unknown, as well as feelings of loneliness, longing and an ambivalent sense of disconnection in her "parallel lives". I IG: @claremariebailey

eric wiles

California-based Eric Wiles' fine art and landscape photography reveals dynamic images of natural beauty. His goal is to bring awareness to the variety of wondrous places in the world, in the hope that we will be inspired to contribute to global conservation efforts. He emphasises: "In showing the magnificence of our home, we can recognise that every day is Earth day." I I IG:

Leili Khabiri

Leili Khabiri is a British-Iranian artist specialising in handwoven textiles. Symbolism behind a process is of primary interest – how a work possesses energy through the making rather than from the choice of visuals. Khabiri avoids exerting conceptual or emotional ideas upon the viewer, as her aim is to create pieces that are quiet in nature.

keith Josiah

Keith Josiah is a painter, musician and poet based in Memphis, where he is continually inspired by the city's deep-rooted music scene. Series include The Crown Collection alongside an exploration of love and its myriad dimensions. Josiah notes: "I use art as a way to personify figurative language and concepts and depict the conversations that I have with myself." I Instagram: @josiahwithlove

maya Schenk

Berlin-based Maya Schenk is a Swiss and German artist of Transylvanian heritage. She works with oil and charcoal on canvas to explore dichotomies. Locating herself in liminal spaces – between the inner and the outer, ephemerality and transcendence, strength and powerlessness, acceptance and defiance – there is an assuredness of uncertainty in her work. I Instagram: @maya.schenk

Aesthetica 141 For submission enquiries regarding the Artists’ Directory, contact Katherine Smira on

Natalia Lewandowska

London-based artist and designer Natalia Lewandowska holds an MA from the Royal College of Art. In her multidisciplinary practice she frequently blends historical research and contemporary art – capturing the idea of life without stereotypes. Her work has been displayed at the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, the V&A and The Other Art Fair London. I IG:

rebecca jonas

Rebecca Jonas is an award-winning fine art photographer based in New York. She specialises in black and white photography, using powerful subject matter that is carefully selected for its symbolism. Jonas harnesses raw emotion to build thought-provoking narratives within her images. The work shown here is entitled Relativity I Instagram: @rebeccajonasphotography

Piotr Pszulkowski

Award-winning Polish artist Piotr Szulkowski is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw. His flora and fauna prints invite the viewer to explore the joyous world of nature and convey humanity's speed, strength and precision. Imaginary landscapes are filled with delicate and soft shapes, frequently sharing space with strong geometric formations and lines.

Robert van de Graaf

Robert van de Graaf is a Dutch painter interested in the connections and relationships between the mystical world, the spiritual world and the soul. The works express a complex interplay of visual impressions combined with emotional and spiritual reflection. Each piece gives substance to the artist's ongoing personal journey to seek meaning in life.

sara Campaci

Italian artist Sara Campaci studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, and is currently based in Berlin. She uses collage to explore the perception of ourselves and the ambiguous relationship we have with reality. Campaci notes that the complexity of a personality is like a collage – made up of different layers – the origin of which we sometimes cannot even trace.

YE Komod, reflects a passion for their craft and fuels their practice, which includes widely-exhibited photography as well as collaborations with organisations such as On Running, Adidas, H&M and Mammut. I Instagram: @elitsa.dobreva @yanaadobreva @ye_komod

142 Aesthetica artists’ directory

carlos abraham

Carlos Abraham is an awardwinning artist based in Mexico, where he studied architecture and photography. A current focus is to examine and highlight the beauty of the human body through images. His work has appeared in various publications and he has participated in exhibitions in Central and South America. Abraham's images are part of the permanent collection in the Mediateca INAH, Mexico City.

dylan garcia

Dylan Garcia is a lens-based artist living in the UK. His latest project Brythonic examines deep time, climate change and a landscape which is both real and mythological. Garcia notes: "As the British Isles heat up, they will return to their tropical past, leading to our fears of living in a drowned land." As such, the work deals with past and future civilisations and the balance between nature and humanity.

Ilya Yod

Rising artist Ilya Yod is based in France and Estonia, where he runs two studio spaces. He is known for works featuring figures composed of cube-shaped elements. The paintings explore historical and contemporary notions of representation and use a complex variety of vibrant hues. Yod notes: "My art challenges traditional representations of humans and our understanding of ourselves."

ivan Kanchev

Sofia-based artist Ivan Kanchev uses his practice to examine and explore questions of a philosophical and social nature. He says: "In a search for innovation, I continue to develop the ancient techniques of black pottery and black sculpture – which come from prehistory and Thracian art in the Bulgarian lands – as paintings, using a combination of mosaic and the structure of a wall panel".

claudia pombo

Brazilian-Dutch painter Claudia Pombo offers an adapted view of nature and human situations. Her expressions include Amazonian mythology, metaphysical art, as well as landscapes. The work shown Icebreak. An interplay between the multiple meanings of a word and an image, the piece reflects upon experiences: the broken, the unbroken and human presence within nature.

hui long

Chinese photographer and creative director Hui Long lives in London where she gained an MA in Photography. Her portraits explore narrative structures using a variety of film and digital techniques. Light, colour, setting and a sense of movement underpin the images, which have been featured in magazines and exhibitions. Long also works with clients such as Sony.

Instagram: @whuilong_

Isaac Erhabor Emokpae

Isaac Erhabor Emokpae is a multifaceted visual artist whose approach is based upon duality. Selective about work, he divides his time between painting and photography projects. They form part of a wideranging portfolio that includes work for clients such as Deutsche Bank, LEAP Africa and Virgin. Emokpae has held and participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide.

Instagram: @isaacemokpaeart

jen ting

Taiwanese artist Jen Ting lives in London. A fascination with the subconscious and personal dreams drives her art practice. The resulting compositions express emotions and energy, serving as a bridge between the conscious and the subconscious; the viewer is invited to reflect upon their own psyche. Ting's most recent exhibition was held in April at The Holy Art Gallery, London.

Instagram: @peizzz__

Aesthetica 143 For submission enquiries regarding the Artists’ Directory, contact Katherine Smira on

karen Hammat

Australian artist Karen Hammat creates vibrant abstracts which allude to the elemental energies that lie within all things. A love of mark making combines with a strong sense of colour – resulting in works that are both dynamic and harmonious. Hammat's works have been purchased by collectors throughout Europe and Australia.

Instagram: @yankalillayarns

Petra Štefanková

Petra Štefanková studied graphic design as well as film and TV graphics in Bratislava, Prague and London. Her varied career includes work on global advertising, editorial, animation, publishing and fine art projects. Štefanková's numerous accolades include Channel 4's 4Talent Award and the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic Award. Štefanková is a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London.

Tessa Teixeira

Johannesburg-based Tessa Teixeira uses her art practice to explore existential philosophy, reflecting and responding to climate and ecology narratives; she does so via installation, mixed media, painting and printmaking. Teixeira is inspired by biologist David George Haskell, who says: "We’re all – trees, humans, insects, birds, bacteria –pluralities. Life is embodied network."

Instagram: @tessateixeira.artpractice

wowser ng

Chinese artist Wowser Ng is based in London where he graduated with an MA from University of the Arts London. Brightly-coloured digital paintings provide new possibilities for Asian queer depiction in abstract and figurative works. Ng challenges pop culture by appropriating fashion products to form visual narratives and uses stylised abstract images in his research.

Instagram: @wowser_ng

Peijun cao

Shanghai-born Peijun Cao arrived in London as a portrait artist before embarking on Fashion Design studies at Middlesex University and then Innovative Pattern Cutting at UAL: Central Saint Martins. Inspired by this background, she uses digital media to create surreal images from photographs. York-based Cao notes that the striking works can be viewed as both strong and fragile.

Instagram: @peijunfashion_art

richard Herring

California-based painter Richard Herring uses bright colours and simple shapes to create lively, sometimes humorous works. A traditional painting background has given him space to evolve a style that enables this playful commentary on life. The works are

explore questions surrounding technology, climate change and space exploration. Events and anecdotal myths from childhood memories are used to sculpt a hierarchy of human society, along with a landscape of dystopia from a scientific perspective.

Tianxing Xu is a visual artist born in Shanghai and currently studying for an MFA in Painting at the Savannah creates clean and soft compositions, with an aim to construct chaos with absolute order. Xu notes: "It's just like a private story without a reading order, or a removed page from a diary from a stranger's childhood."

144 Aesthetica artists’ directory
Aesthetica 145 For submission enquiries regarding the Artists’ Directory, contact Katherine Smira on 12 months from £24.95 + p&p. Available in both print and digital formats. Subscribe & Save 40% The Destination for Art and Culture

“Humanity is on a mass-migration from the natural to the digital world. Without awareness, the enticing bait of smart devices will pull us further from our environments. The fate of humanity is at risk. A Species Between Worlds: Our Nature, Our Screens combines Duratrans, lightbox installations and an AR app that juxtaposes natural sanctuaries with their virtual counterparts. It is an interactive experience that prompts individuals to self-reflect and consider steps forward. The rise of virtual worlds and AI is calling us to face the digital mirror and contemplate what it means to be human. Ultimately, it comes down to choice: heads down in devices or heads up in awareness?" A boutique version of A Species Between Worlds is in the USA Pavilion at London Design Biennale, Somerset House, London, 1 - 25 June.

146 Aesthetica last words
John Mack, Rio Grande, Big Bend National Park, USA (2017) from the exhibition A Species Between Worlds: Our Nature, Our Screens
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