This Is The Place:
Aesthetica Art Prize Shortlist 2024

This Is The Place: <br>Aesthetica Art Prize Shortlist 2024

The Aesthetica Art Prize is delighted to present 21 shortlisted artists, from across the world, who offer creativity as a form of expression. These works are active, not passive. They tap into poignant emotions and motivate us to act in response to challenges facing society: from the evolving relationship between humans and the natural world, to the fluidity of medium and the power of claiming identity. The shortlisted pieces are on display at York Art Gallery from 16 February, and available to view in a new online gallery.

JeeYoung Lee | Whereas traditional photographers convey extracts of reality, South Korean artist Lee offers excerpts from her dreams, heart and memory. Stage of Mind began with self-reflection; she asked: “where am I in my mind?” The series allows Lee to question identity and contemplate existence.

Yevhen Samuchenko | Ukraine-based photographer Samuchenko’s work primarily focuses on nature and studies the shifting relationship between humankind and the environment. He says: “The first time you see the pink salt lakes of the Kherson region in Ukraine, it feels as though you are looking at another planet.

Kriss Munsya | Munsya was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and moved to Belgium at the age of two. Like many people who have experienced similar emigrations, he carries generational guilt and confusion. His work creates a dissonance between what viewers see and what they really feel inside.

Margeaux Walter | In Don’t Be a Square, fine- art photographer Walter staged site-specific interventions in the landscape that, when viewed through a camera lens, disrupted the scenery. She sees the Anthropocene as a fleeting moment in the timeline of life which has caused such disproportionate havoc.

Alexej Sachov | Sachov is a Ukrainian-German artist and diver. His work merges photography and painting to spotlight the beauty and fragility of the seas. His distinctive style transforms underwater photography into compelling contemporary art, bridging the gap between the terrestrial and aquatic realms.

Antonia Luxem | Luxem creates works transport viewers to new mental spaces. On Falling is a meditative odyssey that plays with the Greek myth of Sisyphus from the perspective of a lesbian falling slowly through a dark sky. The film makes visible what it looks and feels like to be denied an identity and existence.

Kenji Ouellet | Ouellet’s work is experimental, often sceptical, and deliberately ambiguous. It exposes questions without simple answers, metaphors and contradictions whilst pushing against dominant narratives. Contrapunctus V (5) shows simultaneous events and multilayered architectural structures.

Brigitte Amarger | In La Chute, a waterfall of bodies cascades from cut out of X-rays and paper, evoking human fragility toppling into an infinite fall. Amarger asks: “how can we talk about humankind without talking about the environment, the Anthropocene and the imbalance caused by reckless destruction?”

Mo H. Zareei | Zareei’s practice builds on an exploration of Brutalism through audiovisual media Material Sequencer is an electromechanical sound sculpture, designed to emphasise the unseen materiality behind sound production. The USB-powered step-sequencer investigates the tools of electronic music production.

Hussina Raja | Roots questions what it means to be British, surveying experiences of immigrants who have adapted their identities to fit in with cultural norms of a new society. It considers the process that migrants go through to be accepted, and questions at what stage an immigrant becomes fully integrated.

Almudena Torró | Torró’s sculptures are manifestations of lived experiences. The É – Panta rei series is the result of a journey through other bodies of work she has made in recent years – Trails and Jumble. These very personal artworks depict universal moments that we all share, and which therefore unite us.

Heather Agyepong | D is for… is from Agyepong’s series ego death, and is inspired by psychiatrist Carl Jung’s concept of “the Shadow.” Jung defined this as “negative” aspects of one’s personality, which may have been repressed during childhood and adolescence by family, education, social norms and other external factors.

Thomas Jenkins | Jenkins works with different processes to explore colour and abstraction, and to question what the contemporary definition of a picture is. The images are not intended to be understood but to be felt and experienced. They are an indulgence into colour – a form of visual communication.

Caroline Jane Harris | London- based Harris responds to universal experiences of nature, capturing visual phenomena found in all levels of existence across time and cultures. A Stopped World derives from online videos featuring volcanic eruptions that were screen-captured, enlarged, printed and cut out in pixelation.

Ayrton ‘SAM’ Mendes | Mendez explores the intersections of race, sexuality and gender. Ayaba – Rainha – Queen is an experimental video that disrupts stereotypes and advocates for Black women’s experiences. The film illustrates the intersections they face due to their race and gender with emotion and empathy.

Gala Hernández López | In 2018, an incel (involuntary celibate) posted a suicide letter on Reddit entitled ‘America is responsible for my death.’ The Mechanics of Fluids attempts to find answers to his words. It is a virtual drift through the internet in search of his digital trace, and an exploration of isolation and solitude.

Maryam Tafakory | Nazarbazi [the play of glances] is a film about love and desire in Iranian cinema, where depictions of intimacy between women and men are prohibited. Her work observes regulatory forces maintaining the cinematic codes in post-revolution Iranian cinema, and their relationship to state violence.

Sigita Silina | Silina is a visual artist with a focus on socio-cultural nuances. Liminal Potential surveys the profound implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its effects on humanity. Through AI-generated poetry and commentary, the work explores the balance between an individual’s intellect and AI’s potential.

Edgar Martins | I’m Still Here is a research projects developed with prisons, medicine institutes and human rights organisations based in conflict zones. The geometric shapes are inspired by triangular suicide notes written on postits and researched at the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences.

Donna Mclean | Mclean is interested in polarity and paradox. For Atomic, she watched hours of archive film. She felt uneasy about getting aesthetic pleasure from so much horror. Her project is a dual symbol of humankind’s capacity to inflict destruction and suffering, and its ability to create something astonishing.

Cinzia Campolese | Campolese explores the perception of space in virtual and real-life environments. This work comments on how people document every moment in their life. Humankind has become a group of observers who are more concerned with producing images than in paying attention to the moment.

These artists will feature in the Aesthetica Art Prize 2024 Exhibition at York Art Gallery from 16 February – 21 April. Plus, meet over 250 longlisted international artists in our new online gallery.

Want to get involved? The next edition of the Prize is open for entries. Submit your work by 31 August. Win £10,000, exhibition and publication. Find out more here.

Image credits:

1. Kriss Munsya, Dysfunctional Intentions (2022). From the series Genetic Bomb. C-type print.

2. JeeYoung Lee, Loveseek, (2014). From the series Stage of Mind (2007 – ongoing)

3. Yevhen Samuchenko, At the Pink Planet (2019- 2020), From the series At the Pink Planet. C-type print.

4.&5. Kriss Munsya, From the series Genetic Bomb. C-type print.

6. Margeaux Walter, Checkout (2021). From the series Don’t Be a Square (2021-2023).

7.&8. Alexej Sachov, From the series Chronicles of an Emerging Diversity. C-type print.

9. Antonia Luxem. Still from On Falling ( 2023). Single channel digital video

10. Kenji Ouellet. Still from Contrapunctus V (2022).Single channel digital video

11. Brigitte Amarger, La Chute (2021), Recovered X-rays, paper, tracingpaper, Nylon thread.

12. Mo H. Zareei, Material Sequencer (2021). Aluminium, brass, copper, concrete, steel. wood.

13. Hussina Raja. Still from ROOTS ( 2020). Single channel digital video.

14. Almudena Torró, É – Panta rei series (2022). Stainless steel metal mesh and wood.

15. &16. Heather Agyepong, D is For…(2022), From the series: Ego Death. Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl triptych. Commissioned through Jerwood/Photoworks Award 2022.

17. Thomas Jenkins, Chasing Colour (2022). C-type print.

18. Caroline Jane Harris, A Stopped World (2020).

19. Ayrton ‘Sam’ Mendes. Still from Ayaba – Rainha – Queen (2023). Single channel digital video

20. Gala Hernández López. Still from The Mechanics of Fluids (2022). Single channel digital video

21. Maryam Tafakory. Still from Nazarbazi ( 2022). Single channel digital video

22. Sigita Silina. Still from Liminal Potential (2023). Single channel digital video

23.&24. Edgar Martins, from I’m Still Here (2023). Mixed media: Paper on C-print.

25. Donna Mclean, Atomic (2021). Oil on board.

26. Cinzia Campolese, Could You Take a Picture (2022). Modified LCD screens, Electronics