Aesthetica Magazine Issue 105

February / March 2022

Perspective changes everything. Seeing and looking are two completely different acts. How we understand the world around us depends on our experiences and willingness to be open to new ideas. This creates a free flow of concepts, and in turn, this leads to innovation. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about early humans, and there is something so completely wonderful about the first time homo habilis used a stone, turning it into an axe. It’s this continuous quest for knowledge and an insatiable appetite that asks, “I wonder what’s beyond that hill?” which keeps us creating. I find the human story awe- inspiring, but with a developing sense of curiosity we’ve let our guard down with respect to our social and environmental duties. It’s such a ubiquitous conversation, but I wonder if we will ever adapt and change?

This issue is about idea generation and a developing a greater sense of perspective. In As We Rise, a new collection of Black photography, we take a look at images that celebrate the lives and stories of Black people through the careful curation of Kenneth Montague. He recounts a transformative trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts at the age of 10, seeing James Van Der Zee’s The Couple in Raccoon Coats, Harlem (1932): “They were in front of their home, a Harlem brownstone in the 1930s, and they were just impossibly sophisticated. I just had never seen African Americans depicted like that. It changed my life.” Next, we speak with Mandy Barker about her photography of plastics. The works are extraordinarily beautiful until you realise the atrocity behind them. Barker communicates the extent of the waste age.

In photography, we bring you inspiring images across fine art, photomontage, portraiture and digital rendering, with practitioners such as Ellen Jantzen, Thomas Jordan and Zhang Ahuei. Our cover photographers, Laura Perrucci and Matteo De Santis, play with intervention in image-making. Finally, the last words go to the new Yorkshire Sculpture Park Director Clare Lilley about a Robert Indiana exhibition.

Cherie Federico

Images to Decode

Laura Perrucci and Matteo De Santis demonstrate a fresh take on collage. Bubble wrap and printed words lie over cloudless blue skies.

Visual Manipulation

Ellen Jantzen stretches, cuts and pastes an array of organic samples, drawing attention to the vast editing processes that define 21st century media.

History and Allegory

Diasporic legacies, historical figures, baroque designs and contemporary fashion unite in a series of studio portraits by Omar Victor Diop.

Facing up to Pollution

Plastic is one of the world’s most ubiquitous and damaging substances. Mandy Barker’s disquieting images demonstrate the extent of the emergency.

Building New Worlds

Tobias Schnorpfeil is a German engineer and tech founder whose compelling digital renders utilise data sets to build up colour, texture and material.

Shades of Twilight

Thomas Jordan’s Instant Honey series offers a glimpse of the Midwest at sunset. Lilacs blend seamlessly into burnt oranges and inky blues.

Style Redefined

Zhang Ahuei’s compositions include unexpected elements that are both unsettling and alluring, blending the real and surreal; fashion and fine art.

Vivid Metropolis

Glenn Homann explores the developments of iPhone cameras, producing abstract snapshots that turn Brisbane into a saturated wonderland.

The Rise of Post-Truth

Sprengel Museum, Hannover, probes 40 years of image-making in North America and Canada, alongside the concepts of veracity and narrative.

A Global Community

A new collection of Black photography spans the Atlantic Ocean, highlighting neither protest nor celebration, but intimate documentation.