Aesthetica Magazine Issue 98

December / January 2021

Here we are, at the end of one year and the start of a new one. We’ve all changed a lot: there’s so much we’ve been through and learned together. Technology has become further integrated into daily lives – and we use it for pretty much everything – mostly because we do not have a choice. Fear has also played a big role in 2020. Back in March, the idea of being in lockdown was alarming, even frightening. It’s a bizarre cultural shift to be nervous to touch a door handle in a public place or to brush past someone on the street. I am nostalgic for the days before the pandemic, and I want them back. However, we must remember: we are nearing a vaccine. Beyond this, there is a huge amount of relief and joy to be found knowing Trump will be gone from the White House. It’s enough to end an incredibly tough year and tie it with a bow, starting 2021 with hope. That is a wonderful feeling.

Inside this issue we look at NGV Triennial in Melbourne. It’s a large-scale exhibition of international contemporary art, design, fashion and architecture. Featuring more than 100 practitioners from more than 30 countries, this year’s presentation asks us to consider the world as we know it, but then think carefully about what we’d like it to be in terms of representation and inclusivity. This is a crucial moment of change and opportunity. We also speak with Hassan Hajjaj – known as “the Andy Warhol of Mar- rakech” – about identity politics. Through his wonderfully detailed images, we are able to reframe im- portant narratives. Suzanne Moxhay, an Aesthetica Art Prize finalist, speaks to us about blurring the lines between interior and exterior; nature and technology. These images grapple with idealism and dystopia.

In photography, Alia Ali, Kate Theo, Eugenia Falqui, Markus Guschelbauer, Ismail Zaidy and Natasha Wilson question our relationships with both the natural and manmade world – and by extension – our perceptions of each other. There is so much to learn here. Finally, the Last Words go to Magda Keaney, Curator at the National Portrait Gallery, to discuss this year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

Surreal Presentation

Fine Art. Surrealism. Fantasy. These are the pillars of Kate Theo’s practice, featuring graphic yellow suns, black crescent moons and folded curtains.

Archive and Montage

Suzanne Moxhay’s photography is reminiscent of empty sets, uniting the exterior and the interior, drawing from collected material and ambiguity.

Focusing on the Detail

Eugenia Falqui breaks away from TripAdvisor- worthy compositions of Bangkok, shooting the surreal and often humorous sides of the city.

Searching for Intimacy

Ismail Zaidy’s alluring compositions play with proximity and distance, featuring siblings as symbols of both connection and estrangement.

Altering the Blueprint

Today’s architects aren’t just designing buildings. They’re working across multiple disciplines to tackle ecological responsibility and social justice.

Dynamic Framework

Los Angeles fashion photographer Natasha Wilson has a passion for art and travel; she taps into the culture of locations whilst shooting.

Playing with Tradition

Hassan Hajjaj blends North African culture with western iconographies. Framed images subvert and democratise fashion logos and brands.

Organic Assemblage

Markus Guschelbauer creates pastel-coloured installations that represent our desire to organise and control our interactions with nature.

Modes of Representation

The 2020 NGV Triennial explores portraiture
as a vehicle for expressing both personal and global identities across continents and cultures.

Cultural Examination

Alia Ali’s photographs use cloth and fabric to hide identities, asking questions about how we define and separate through what we can or can’t see