Reflective Practices

Reflective Practices

Tania Franco-Klein (b. 1990), a photographer shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize in 2017, is interested in documenting social behaviour. Concerned with the dynamics of public space, the artist observes notions of disconnection and isolation, uncovering the darker elements of contemporary culture through an engagement with light, shadow and colour. Drawing on media overstimulation and an obsession with eternal youth, Franco-Klein’s images hold up a mirror to the anxieties inherent in the everyday.

For example, Our Life In The Shadows, a series built upon the American dream gone wrong, was featured in Aesthetica Issue 80.  The body of work occupies the boundary between reality and fiction, engaging with psychological responses to a fast-paced world. Lit only by a dystopian sunset, introspective figures look outwards for solace, set against the backdrop of otherwise empty domestic interiors.

Demonstrating these ideas, the artist notes: “Philosopher Byung-Chul Han once said that we live in an era of exhaustion, caused by an incessant compulsion to perform. We now experience the neuronal era characterised by depression, attention deficit and bipolar disorder. My characters find themselves melting into places – constantly looking for any possibility of escape.”

Since her involvement with the Aesthetica Art Prize, the practitioner has featured in many leading publications, including I-D, The Guardian and British Journal of Photography. She has also been involved in numerous group exhibitions, art fairs and festivals, including the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards at Somerset House, London; Photo Basel and Photofairs San Francisco. This month, her work will be featured at Photo London (17-20 May), and as part of a solo show at Photometría Festival (from 23 May).

The Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition at York Art Gallery (from 18 May) engages with similar themes to Franco-Klein, exploring the wider effects of over-consumption and emotional detatchment. Inviting audiences to be inspired by a wealth of ideas and perspectives, the show calls into question new modes of communication, offering reflection upon the era of post-truth.

Entries are open for the 2018 edition of the Art Prize, which accepts submissions across a range of genres including Photographic & Digital Art; Three Dimensional Design & Sculpture; Painting, Drawing & Mixed Media and Video, Installation & Performance. As a celebration of excellence in art from across the world, it offers both emerging and established artists the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience, with prizes including £5000, publication and a group exhibition at York Art Gallery.

Entries are open until 31 August. The Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition 2018 opens 18 May. Find out more here. 

1. Tania Franco Klein, Silk Memories (Self-Portrait), 2017.