Aesthetica Magazine Issue 117

February / March 2024

Perception is everything. I like to see obstacles as stepping stones and challenges as opportunities. This viewpoint keeps me invigorated and resilient. I’m often asked the question, “where do ideas come from?” For me, it’s about absorbing as many things as possible, going out of my comfort zone and doing things differently. Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places, and, what’s exciting about that is every day you can spark your imagination. As you’re reading this, I’d like you to surprise yourself by trying something new today – maybe it’s walking home via a different route or stopping to help someone (even though you’re busy). There is so much beauty in the everyday, and that is worth celebrating.

This issue recognises agents of change. Throughout history, art has influenced societies, challenged norms, questioned the status quo, raised awareness and prompted new perspectives. The artists in this issue embody this notion. We speak with Tania Franco Klein about her distinct style, which is realised through cinematic photographs. She surveys present-day anxieties and effects of media overstimulation. Meanwhile, Cristóbal Ascencio’s work and research focuses on the relationship between images and memory. He looks at how experience can be appropriated between generations. Kaya & Blank is a photographic duo that explores the way that humans inhabit the world, pushing the boundaries of how reality is presented. Tara Donovan, featured in When Forms Come Alive, opening at the Hayward Gallery, London, this winter, is one of 21 artists in an exhibition that reclaims space in an increasingly digitised world. It spans 60 years of contemporary sculpture and shows works that trigger a physical response.

In photography we traverse continents with an extraordinary range of practitioners, including Derrick O. Boateng, Ibai Acevedo, Jonathan Knowles, Tom Hegen and Neil Burnell. Our cover duo, Tropico Photo, offers pop colours and urban cool. Finally, the Last Words go to Yannis Davy Guibinga.

Cherie Federico

Hidden Structures

Duo Kaya & Blank draw attention to concealed markers of industry across southern California: telephone masts camouflaged as real life trees.

Energetic Innovations

What’s the place of analogue in an increasingly digital world? Jonathan Knowles’ machines are fun, and achieve mundane tasks through play.

A Joyous Destination

Tropico Photo is a studio dedicated to making work transporting us to idyllic locations: places filled with bright painted buildings and clear skies.

Objects Transform

A major London show looks at six decades of contemporary sculptures, spotlighting large works that move, shapeshift and transfigure.

Pictures from Above

Tom Hegen flies us over the Palouse region in the American northwest, producing satisfying aerial shots akin to the folds of moss-coloured fabrics.

Parallel Landscapes

Through bold light and shadow, Ibai Acevedo stages compelling, hyperreal and cinematic scenes that seem to belong to an odd world not quite our own.

Flux in Memories

This year’s Foam Talent spotlights fresh voices and innovators at the cutting edge of lens-based media. Cristóbal Ascencio focuses on remembrance.

Visual Histories

African proverbs are at the heart of Ghanaian photographer Derrick Ofosu Boateng’s work, bursting with bright colours and a sense of joy.

Into the Woodland

Photographs by Neil Burnell trace the sensory experience of being outdoors, capturing hidden vegetation, green thickets and secluded clearings.

Universe of Emotion

Tania Franco Klein holds a mirror up to the various effects of time spent online, such as disconnection, performative stress and media overstimulation.