Aesthetica Magazine Issue 112

April / May 2023

I am fascinated by humanity. Once, I was lucky enough to visit the Cave of Altamira in northern Spain, where you can view paintings from 35,000-11,000 B.C. I was deeply moved by what I saw – pictorial representations of life as they knew it. It was beautiful. It made me feel like I was part of a longer, larger story, one that meanders and continues through the centuries and decades. These are measures of time we can only just comprehend. The constant state of moving forward is what defines us. As humans, we are always looking for something else, and it is this curiosity that makes us create and innovate. It’s the evolution of ideas – how we were driven to have phones where we can see the people we’re talking to, or have 10,000 songs in our pockets. Technology continues to push us to new places. We are moving at a cataclysmic speed. What I don’t want to ever lose sight of are those moments defined by simple pleasures: the joy of new socks, pine forests, grass after it has been cut, or a child asking why.

Inside this issue, we consider identity, relationships and the impact of technology. We discuss the persistence of images and their ability to embed themselves in collective memory in Thomas Demand’s retrospective, The Stutter of History. Refik Anadol speaks to us about the relationship between humans and machines, exploring the influence of art and creativity, as we rely more and more on AI to guide us through our lives. What does the future look like in this new world? Should we embrace it or fear it? Also, I am pleased to bring you an overview of this year’s shortlisted artists for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2023.

In photography, Amy Harrity is this issue’s cover photographer – providing moments of calm to our eyes and memories reminiscent of carefree days. Elsewhere, Gareth Iwan Jones, Niall Staines, Sarah Meyohas, Summer Wagner and Yannis Davy Guibinga bring us new ideas, elaborating on the dynamism of contemporary photography. Finally, Zanele Muholi speaks about being a visual activist.

Deep in the Forest

The works of Norway-born Rune Guneriussen are rooted in a sense of magic. Lamps appear nestled amongst lush green ferns and climb up trees.

Human Curiosity: The April / May Issue

As humans, we are always looking for something else, and it is this curiosity that makes us create. This issue is dedicated to the evolution of ideas.

Memory Investigated

Thomas Demand highlights the fiction beneath attempts to document the truth, questioning the power and responsibility behind art and its maker.

Intimacy and Curiosity

Amy Harrity distils subjects’ personal experiences into compositions that evoke honesty and clarity, capturing the diverse breadth of human emotion.

Glitched Landscapes

Vertical stripes transform serene coastlines into two-dimensional kaleidoscopes in Niall Staines’ natural seascapes, creating new order from chaos.

Devoted to the Screen

Summer Wagner’s “visual poems” depict figures fixed to the light of their phones. Fantasy and reality combine to hold a mirror up to life online.

Narrative Experiment

Vibrant landscapes, mysterious, lively figures and pulsing colour palettes collide in Sanja Marušić’s portraits, debating the body and female identity.

Bold New Mythologies

Yannis Davy Guibinga evokes Gabonese folklore, science fiction and cultural astronomy in portraits rich with narrative and expansive bold backdrops.

Systems of Value

Reflection is a metaphor for cultural and financial value to conceptual artist Sarah Meyohas. Light bounces between mirrors in bright, endless loops.

Natural Reflections

Federica Belli’s minimalist portraits become an effective visual language to communicate and understand questions about humanity’s future.

A Sense of Wonder

Gareth Iwan Jones’ fascination with woodland ecocystems inspired enchanting scenes that document the beauty and mystery of forests.

Creative Partnership

Refik Anadol crafts mesmerising installations with AI and data-driven algorithms, leading to speculations on the future of human-made art.