Aesthetica Magazine Issue 75

February/March 2017

I recently attended the launch of a new screen school in the UK and the speaker said something fabulous that he picked up from a calligrapher in Baghdad: “Poetry is around us everywhere, it’s just waiting to be written.” That is one of the most profound notions that I’ve come across in a while. It’s simple but true. The world is full of possibility and it’s not so much about looking but more about seeing. Today’s society is complex, and it’s a certainty that each generation has its intricacies, but we are moving at an unprecedented rate into a new type of contemporary existence. On the one hand it’s exciting but on the other it seems to be terrifying. Careful negotiation of the boundaries becomes essential for survival. My advice would be to slow down sometimes, or stop and pay attention to the world around us.

This issue focuses on the beauty of pausing for a while. We take a trip to Scandinavia to uncover why Swedish, Danish and Norwegian design is so appealing, from big exports to new designers; we are looking at what makes Nordic culture so attractive. A new publication from Phaidon, Elemental Living, considers the environment and both its invasive and responsive constructions: the built world can find balance within its natural counterpart. This is so important, not just for the charming gîte in the countryside but how we can transfer this concept into urban planning for life in the 21st century and beyond. London-based collective United Visual Artists reveal a commission at MONA, Australia, which looks at the value of art. This is a big theme – one that must be discussed and debated considering the current state of affairs worldwide. This exhibition reminds us that we must be cautious in order to safeguard the future.

In photography, JUCO returns to Aesthetica to bring stylised cool and pop sensationalism whilst Aaron Feaver captures the essence of youth. Anna Di Prospero uses her body to mirror architectural shapes, meanwhile Brooke Didonato, J Bennett Fitts, Reginald Van de Velde and Ricardo Bofill contemplate external and internal spaces. This issue reminds us to find the epic in the everyday.

Utopian Geographies

J Bennett Fitts’ images display contrasts between urbanity and nature; saturated blues are placed against the muted palettes of utopian structures.

Altruistic Collaboration

Wayne McGregor, Olafur Eliasson and Jamie xx transform Jonathan Safran Foer’s book into an event that transcends individual disciplines.

Illusory Silhouettes

Ricardo Bofill’s La Muralla Roja in Alicante pays homage to the Arab Mediterranean, in particular to the adobe towers of North Africa.

Prismatic Compositions

Innovative photographic duo JUCO’s material provides an explosion of energy and blurs the lines between fine art and commercial assignments.

Visual Sanctuaries

Reginald Van de Velde’s photographs provide an oasis for reflection on the passage of time, offering a new perspective on abandoned settings.

Integral Topographies

A new publication from Phaidon highlights the shifting relationship between architecture and natural forms, taking the land as inspiration.

Gestural Frameworks

In Anna Di Prospero’s Urban self-portrait series angles of contemporary cities reach an intriguing equilibrium with expressive bodily contortions.

Youthful Effervescence

Aaron Feaver’s infectious oeuvre snapshots youth with optimism and compositional air. Bold, indulgent palettes reflect the lifestyles within the frames.

Cultural Illumination

In the hidden depths of Australia’s most extraordinary museum, United Visual Artists uncover the lineage of creative expression.

Universal Reflections

Three major international fairs not only showcase new innovations in design but demonstrate the changing dynamic of art and commerce.

Dynamic Imagination

From established to couture brands, Scandinavian designers are gearing traditional ideas of timelessness and practicality towards sustainability.