Aesthetica selects five must-see exhibitions around the world – opening online and in galleries. September’s shows reflect on migration, identity and place through powerful photography, installation and film.
William Eggleston (b. 1939) pioneered colour photography in the 1970s – he is part of the reason it is such a popular art form today. The images in this show capture storefronts, restaurants, homes, cars and people across America, revealing a sense of intrigue within the everyday. Each shot is rich in saturated tones, bright contrasts and warm light. Luminous neon restaurant signs glow in reds and greens, whilst parked cars and gas pumps combine to make interesting visual compositions. Many of these images have never been exhibited before. Each one transforms the ordinary into something poetic. From 10 September.
Artistic duo Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer make symbolic portraits based on the stories and lives of the women they portray. Rich in colour and detail, they capture a young generation of women who have been impacted by forced migration and a need for a new place to live. “These are adolescents on the cusp of adulthood who have experienced what it means to uproot their reality and sense of self,” the duo explain. The exhibition reflects on identity, feminism and heritage, exploring the idea of “utopia” in today’s world. Now open until February 2021.
Chiharu Shiota’s (b. 1972) works are available to see online with Inner Universe. Through Templon’s viewing rooms, access a series of the artist’s signature sculptures in red, white and black threads. A collection of mysterious boxes deconstruct our conception of the body through suspended clothes, anatomy books and personal belongings. Meanwhile, two in-situ installations invite audiences on a poetic journey to finding and interpreting the idea of an eternal consciousness; layers of tangled threads exemplify the boundlessness of the universe. Until 20 September.
Taken from Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery collection, Eye to I highlights how American artists have portrayed themselves through painting, drawing, photography and video since the beginning of the 20th century. Practitioners approach self-representation in myriad ways – from realistic renderings to conceptual alter-egos that reveal or conceal inner lives. The featured image here depicts María Magdalena Campos-Pons (b. 1959) – a Cuban-born artist who examines issues of belonging, identity and wider cultural assimilation. Until 20 September.
Imran Perretta’s new moving-image work, The Destructors, reflects on the period following 9/11 – a time marked by the War on Terror and Islamophobia. The film, set within the Bangladeshi community of Tower Hamlets, East London, centres around young Muslim men living in the UK. The Destructors’ script is informed by conversations between these individuals – highlighting the issues that continue to affect them. Perretta also draws on personal experiences of marginalisation and oppression in this powerful work, commenting on the impact of state power and biopolitics. Now open.
Lead image: Image by Cooper & Gorfer, from Between These Folded Walls, Utopia.
1. Image: William Eggleston, Untitled, c. 1973–1978 (detail)
2 & 3. Images by Cooper & Gorfer, from Between These Folded Walls, Utopia.
4. Exhibition view of Inner Universe by Chiharu Shiota at Galerie Templon, 28 rue Grenier-Saint Lazare, Paris. Artwork shown: Out of my body, 2020 – installation of seven pieces of cowhide and goat leather. Varying dimensions. Image by Photos © Bertrand Huet (Tutti Images)
5. Untitled from the series When I am not Here, Estoy alla. Artist: María Magdalena Campos-Pons. Dye diffusion transfer print 1996. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Julia P. and Horacio Herzberg © María M. Campos-Pons
6. Imran Perretta, the destructors, 2019. Production still, two-channel video installation. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Max McClure. the destructors is produced by Chisenhale Gallery and Spike Island, Bristol, and commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery; Spike Island; the Whitworth, The University of Manchester; and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead.