Celebrating 20 Years of Aesthetica

“We are 20 years old. It all started on a Sunday in November 2002. I was in the UK studying for my Master’s Degree. At that time in York there wasn’t a magazine to intern with; it didn’t even occur to me to commute to another city. I said to Dale Donley (the reason why I was in the UK in the first place), “let’s start a magazine today.” How on Earth do you do this without social media? The old school way – you make posters (designed on Word) and get on your bike to hang them up around the city.

We did this on a Sunday in late November, having set up an email account (artandwriting@hotmail.com). The posters said “Do you write? Do you draw? If so send us your work. We are starting a new magazine and want to hear from you.” When I think back to that very basic poster, it makes me so sentimental. I wouldn’t have thought that an idea like that would turn into the magazine that you are reading today. It was all very innocent. We were doing this to promote “equality, creativity and diversity.” That was our mission and still is today. We were just two people passionate about arts and culture.” – Cherie Federico, Director and Editor.

Delve into the Aesthetica Archives and read features from two decades of independent publishing. We’ve curated a selection of articles showcasing the best in art, design, fashion architecture and photography. These are changemakers and trailblazers; creatives who are holding up a mirror to our ever-changing world.

Changemakers: Art and Activism

Intimate Portraiture

Zanele Muholi is a visual activist who reclaims the lens, providing a platform for black lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex individuals.

Networks of the World

Contemporary Chinese artists demonstrate a consideration of censorship in the wider industry, offering figurative and metaphorical messages.

A New Conversation

Through bold costume, colours, pageantry and performance, Athi-Patra Ruga asks meaningful questions about how to decolonise the art sector.

The Role of Activism

What does it mean to be an activist? How can we use social media? In the age of Instagram, Houston Center for Photography considers visual identities.

Building the Future

How do designers shape the way we understand the world around us, as we tackle the climate emergency, political tensions and digital ethics?

Towards Preservation

After half of Claudia Andujar’s family were killed in WWII, she dedicated five decades to photographing and raising awareness of the Yanomami people.

Resisting Stereotypes

Lagos-based fashion brand Orange Culture is redefining the role of gender in clothing, with colourful, timeless pieces that defy categorisation.

Socialised Languages

Jenny Holzer brings political and social topics into question, highlighting a globalised and turbulent landscape through the contemporary lens.

Collective Responsibility

Designers from South Africa are looking at new ways to innovate and create awareness about the country’s burgeoning fashion industry.

Liberating Constructions

An exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum explored the boom in modernist architecture in Africa following independence.

Fashion, Art and Culture

Sculpted Expressions

The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, explores Viktor&Rolf’s notion of wearable art through a selection of their most iconic works.

Custom Evolution

Can fashion create a better future? A new show surveys the inspiring possibilities that emerge when creativity and technology join forces.

Beyond Expectations

The legendary agency, Magnum Photos, is breaking the boundaries of genre, taking fashion out of the studio and into the real world.

Inspiring Minimalism

Emerging brands Gayeon Lee and Matter Matters address the rising levels of consumption with bespoke garments inspired by wider culture.

Immersive Technology

Interactive garments transform our relationship with fashion and the environment as sustainability is linked with the individual experience.

Embracing Modification

Promoting customer-led fashion through customisation, innovation and sustainability, Unmade present a new, flexible model for retail.

Organic Reformation

Experienced in architecture, fashion and design, Julia Körner combines formulae from the natural landscape with technological advancements.

Seizing Innovation

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s costume institute invites viewers to question the fashion world’s accepted opposition of hand versus machine.

Tailored Innovation

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag presents a sumptuous celebration of Dutch fashion, exploring the cultural context that fostered enterprising designs.

Unrivalled Iconography

Renowned for impeccable tailoring with unexpected elements lurking beneath each perfect cut, Paul Smith rose from a single, tiny shop in Nottingham.

Immersive Landscapes: Sculpture and Installation

Shifting Perceptions

Olafur Eliasson connects art, architecture, installation and design,  dismantling the presence of physical and cultural barriers in the process.

Perceptions of Light

A major three part retrospective of artist James Turrell displays his pioneering explorations of light, space and time.

Art for Connectivity

Artist and innovator Doug Aitken is at the forefront of 21st century communication, presenting a space between the physical and virtual.

Changing Definitions

Sculpture’s new talents consider the boundaries of the medium and its environmental impact, working with data and electricity, metal and sound.

Figurative Illumination

Iván Navarro opens a new exhibition in New York in which layers of social and political depth are identified through sculpted silence.

Cultural Sensibility

A major exhibition opens at Tate Modern, creating a conversation between the dangers of domesticity and the depths of identity today.

Scientific Interventions

Man, machine and science: MUDAM Luxembourg presents a reappraisal of the continuing relationship between the arts and science.

Inclusive Practice

Martin Creed’s first ever retrospective opens at the Hayward Gallery, London, this spring, exposing the large body of work of the genre-defying artist.

Enlightened Spaces

A survey of light art from the 1960s to the present day at The Hayward Gallery considers the way in which we think about architectural space.

Transgressing Boundaries

Kunsthalle Mannheim celebrates Bruce Nauman’s 70th birthday with a retrospective examining the artist’s fascinating body of work.

Building our World: Contemporary Architecture

Future Museums

Charting an evolution in form and function from traditional architecture to buildings that are radically transforming today’s built environment.

Composed Architecture

Frank Gehry, an architect responsible for some of the world’s most visually and technically outstanding constructions, is celebrated.

Reflective Architecture

Minimalism is timeless. It offers simplicity and stripped-back aesthetics; new buildings draw attention to design as a blank page full of possibility.

Liminal Exploration

Both universal landscapes and personal experiences are represented in a new publication that considers the wider effects of architectural tourism.

Illusory Silhouettes

Ricardo Bofill’s La Muralla Roja in Alicante pays homage to the Arab Mediterranean, in particular to the adobe towers of North Africa.

Material Immateriality

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, explores ideas of community as an intrinsic part of the aesthetics of contemporary Japanese architects.

State of the Art

A showcase of over 100 international innovators in spatial design, in the extraordinary city which forged the world’s first skyscraper.

Alpine Constructs

Set against an Alpine backdrop of mountain peaks and lakes, New Swiss Architecture surveys a new generation of architectural practitioners.

Amplified Architecture

This mid-career survey explores one of architecture’s youngest and most prolific innovators, who has set the bar for construction worldwide.

Design Innovation

MoMA’s Latin America in Construction explores how revolutionary approaches allowed the continent to create a breed of Modernism entirely of its own.

Art for the Climate: Sustainability in Focus

Taking Responsibility

A non-profit organisation takes charge of ocean health through major collaborations with artists, promoting plastic-free lifestyles.

Shifting Philosophies

Weaving sustainability with multi-functionality, Mode in Flux presents a vision for fashion’s future within an unstable environmental landscape.

Symbols from Nature

In the context of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, Maïmouna Guerresi addresses the importance of humans connecting with the organic world.

Digitised Landscapes

Following a UN report on the effects of a 1.5°C increase, Google Arts & Culture’s Heartbeat of the Earth series makes sense of the key conclusions.

Tapping into Nature

Humanity’s interactions with nature are swiftly being rewritten. Makoto Azuma investigates this idea through large-scale botanical installations.

Limitless Imagination

Installations that clear the air, light waves that reflect upon rising sea levels, a net that cleans up space junk: this is the work of Daan Roosegaarde.

Intricate Customisation

Computer-aided designs break the material-making mould, steering the creation of increasingly responsible, adaptable and sustainable architecture.

Towards Sustainability

A Berlin-based studio brings bioplastic into the fashion industry by experimenting with plant-based processes to address the issue of waste.

Ecological Consideration

The 31st edition of the fair highlights the increasing responsibility we feel for our surroundings, leading to a revival of craft and zero waste.

Expanding Environments

Olafur Eliasson’s immersive installation, Riverbed, takes over and transforms the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, in the museum’s first solo show.

Trailblazing Women Artists

Design as Resolution

How can architecture create a more inclusive and connected world? Lina Bo Bardi offers vital lessons about how to rebuild and repurpose.

Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present is the first major retrospective of the groundbreaking performance artist, which opened in spring 2010 at MoMA.

Cultural Examination

Alia Ali’s photographs use cloth and fabric to hide identities, asking questions about how we define and separate what we can or can’t see.

Organic Architecture

Design is systematic and methodical; it is creative and collaborative. Studio Gang considers the kinds of buildings we need for the near-future.

Deserted Locations

How do we define the notion of home? What happens when a house is left behind? Gohar Dashti’s images reveal the true power of nature.

Beyond Borderlands

Shirin Neshat studies individual and cultural gestures, representing some of the most unstable, charged and conflicted moments of recent history.

Cinematic Storytelling

Translating personal experiences into hyperreal images, the renowned photographer Alex Prager is celebrated through a mid-career survey.

Challenging Normality

A solo exhibition of new and recent work by Barbara Kruger opens at Modern Art Oxford this summer, investigating power in popular culture.

Feminism & Humanism

A new exhibition of colour photography by Dorothy Bohm at The Museum of London celebrates women and challenges representation.

Maximum Identity Flux

A major Cindy Sherman retrospective opens at MoMA, probing gender and identity politics from all angles. The artist is in front of and behind the lens.

Designing the Future

United Progression

Combining unprecedented technologies with traditional techniques, Lucy Johnston navigates the future of design.

Luminous Construction

Lighting transforms the spaces we inhabit, and as technology makes our homes ever more responsive, a new book takes stock of the possibilities.

Reflective Environments

Six N. Five is a design studio that specialises in still life visuals and videos with a clean and modern aesthetic inspired by Edward Hopper.

Dynamic Technologies

A new publication provides a diverse overview of well-known designers and the innovative solutions produced for domestic and urban life.

Designing Functionality

Centre Pompidou launches a retrospective of the still influential French designer whose craft, power and pragmatism set his work apart.

Bauhaus Redesigned

A survey at the Vitra Design Museum rethinks the iconic Bauhaus School, examining the influence of the past on contemporary design practice.

Exquisite Refinement

What is Luxury?, a new visually stimulating exhibition at the V&A explores the concept and craftsmanship of luxury, and the meaning of this.

The Story of British Design

The first comprehensive exhibition to examine how UK artists and designers have produced acclaimed works, from post-war to the present day.

A Survey of the Postmodern

With 20 years hindsight, the V&A’s autumn blockbuster is the first major show to survey the visual products from the postmodern era.

Contemporary Makers

Challenging the traditional notions of craft through design intervention, the new wave of DIY raises the bar for contemporary making.

Ground-breaking Photography

Cultural Dimensions

A major retrospective offers audiences an unprecedented understanding of an artist whose vision has been shaped by accelerating worlds.

Form and Photography

Light, form and shadow: Barbara Kasten’s experimental photography and cinematic installations are dynamically exposed to audiences at the ICA.

Playing with Tradition

Hassan Hajjaj blends North African culture with western iconographies. Framed images subvert and democratise fashion logos and brands.

More to the Picture

Portraits reveal truths about the human condition – how we present ourselves to the world. Bey explores the dialogue between sitter and subject.

Spatial Recognition

James Casebere devises table-top models, creating thought-provoking and visually deceptive images that have accrued international acclaim.

Cultural Anonymity

Michael Wolf documents the vernacular culture of the modern metropolis. Architecture of Density is a collection of colossal structures.

Dismantling Documentary

An exhibition of women photographers from Iran and the Arab world offers insight into the complex identities of a region that is often misunderstood.

Stylised Innovation

Starting out as Man Ray’s protégé in the 1950s, Guy Bourdin’s influential 40-year career was founded on a unique approach to 20th century fashion.

Life Through the Lens

Full of flamboyant personality, Garry Winogrand was famed for his street shots of everybody from businessmen to hippies, animals and celebrities.

A Question of Colour

Henri Cartier-Bresson worked by the ethos of “the decisive moment”, whereby he aimed to seize something the very moment it happened.

Interview Spotlight

Layers of Complexity

Data plays a huge role in our lives today. Emmanuelle Moureaux creates an immersive installation that assesses how numbers are related to memory.

Growing Awareness

A new series and collaborative project highlights the effects of the anthropocene, a geological age defined by humanity’s impact on the planet.

Striking Composition

Jackie Black reproduces last meals of those who have been subjected to capital punishment. The photographer draws attention to social injustice.

Powerful Storytelling

A groundbreaking photography series depicts one of the world’s most important ecological locations as well as its diverse cultural narratives.

Cornelia Parker

Cornelia Parker is a British sculptor and installation artist who is interested in the potential of materials. In 2013, we spoke to the artist.

Julie Cockburn

Julie Cockburn transforms second-hand objects and images to produce entirely new pieces, injecting new life into mundane and forgotten items.

Juno Calypso

In 60th edition of Aesthetica we celebrated emerging photographers from LCC, highlighting those shaping the future of lens-based practice.

Richard Deacon

A leading British sculptor, Richard Deacon’s work was on display at Tate Britain in a large chronological survey featuring around 40 individual pieces..

Beyond Fashion

Rankin is refreshingly free of pretensions, “for me it’s always been really important not to call myself an artist, but a photographer.”

Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Zephaniah is one of the UK’s most renowned novelists, playwrights, poets and activists, and has contributed to literature for over 30 years.

Editors’ Pick

Radical Transformation

Antwaun Sargent’s bold publication addresses a history of exclusion, provoking dialogues about representation, sexuality, gender and identity.

Imagined Scenarios

Face in the Crowd is the new series of work from Alex Prager, who creates fascinating scenes utilising bright palettes and constructed settings.

Towards Remembrance

Phaidon’s Editor-in-Chief Spencer Bailey asks questions about the art of the memorial in an age defined by division, disconnect and isolation.

Vivid Depiction

Yannis Davy Guibinga’s pronounced photographs are part of an expansive conversation about the representation of Africa and its wider diaspora.

Everyday Symbolism

Focusing on tropical motifs and idealistic landscapes, Adrienne Raquel’s works are playful and vibrant, communicating a sense of nostalgia.

Challenging Categorisation

Having graduated just nine years ago, Dutch designer Iris van Herpen has already achieved the impossible when it comes to 3D printing.

Solitary Anticipation

Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf presents the immeasurable tension of waiting in his recent series, located in the space between hope and regret.

Fashion Abstraction

Viviane Sassen’s vibrant colours combine with abstract shapes and contorted lighting to create a surreal landscape where nothing is as it seems.

Luminous Transformation

An exhibition at the Design Museum Gent showcases the greatest lighting design of the last century and anticipates creative possibilities.

Aesthetic Language

MoMA ignores the stereotypes surrounding Japanese art as it takes a look at the burgeoning contemporary art scene during the 20th Century.

Bringing Aesthetica to Life: Covers Through the Years