Aesthetica Magazine Issue 111

February / March 2023

Time waits for no one. I think about that phrase often. This issue of Aesthetica marks 20 years since the first issue was published. I have a whole host of emotions: cheer, disbelief, excitement, pride, surprise – the list goes on. Dale Donley and I set up this magazine when we were students. The pillars of this company were – and remain – equality, creativity and diversity. We are passionate about art and culture, and because Dale and I started from the right place with Aesthetica, we’ve had the longevity of 20 years. Everything we do is because we believe in the power of art to make positive changes to contemporary society: it helps us to make sense of the world and times we are living in. I look back and see myself as a younger woman with this unwavering resilience. I am proud of the Magazine, Film Festival, Art Prize, Future Now Symposium and Creative Writing Award. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been worth it.

I want to say thank you, readers, for supporting independent ideas and being part of our community. Inside this issue, we bring you two features about the 20th anniversary, including an article that looks at the magazine’s history. It’s almost mythological now, but it was a defining moment that I’d like to tell you about. We also curate a selection of our favourite images from previous editions. These are photographers who made a step-change for contemporary image-making. Beyond this, we are opening the 2023 Aesthetica Art Prize and Future Now Symposium. You’re all invited. We have selected some amazing practitioners in this issue, including Nadine Ijewere, Cooper & Gorfer – and the venerable Isaac Julien.

In photography, we feature experimental works from Sebastiaan Knot, James Tralie and the atmospheric Maria Lax, as well as the bold colour blocking of Prince Gyasi. Fares Micue returns as our cover photographer. Finally, for the Last Words, we speak to Alex Prager, who discusses her exhibition at Lehmann Maupin in New York. Thank you for being part of Aesthetica, and enjoy this very special issue.

Altered Topography

Approximately 1.75 Earths are needed to sustain current human activity. Edward Burtynsky’s aerial portraits reveal the cost of human progression.

Altering Perceptions

Experiences of forced migration are examined through utopian dreams. Duo Cooper & Gorfer expose the inner and outer realities for women.

Window to Other Places

Dreamscapes is a world of elegant imagination. James Tralie’s digital renders reconstruct natural environments and architecture into serene scenes

Moments of Fantasy

Maria Lax’s spellbinding images utilise innovative camera techniques to transform figures, buildings and plants into cinematic, otherworldly creations.

The Story of Aesthetica

Celebrate the publication’s 20th anniversary as one of the founders discusses how the magazine has become a trusted voice in contemporary art.

Reframed Perspective

Nadine Ijewere’s fashion photography redefines narratives of beauty, encouraging more diverse representation in front of and behind the camera.

Visionary Narratives

Isaac Julien dismantles restrictive boundaries of genre and medium. Now, a landmark exhibition surveys four decades of his experimental practice.

Emotive Colour Play

Prince Gyasi incorporates vibrant palettes into intimate portraits of figures from his hometown, documenting the spectrum of human emotion.

Vibrant Abstraction

Sebastiaan Knot’s geometric compositions are calculated manipulations of light. Shapes in bold colours are crafted through analogue techniques.