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20 artists break the boundaries of genre and medium in a dynamic exhibition at the cutting edge of contemporary art 

 16 February – 21 April 2024         

York Art Gallery will host the Aesthetica Art Prize for the twelfth year this February. The exhibition will feature the work of 20 artists covering a vast range of media, from drawing to large-scale sculpture to digital media. The Aesthetica Prize champions some of the world’s most significant talent in contemporary art and contributes to a global dialogue around creative practice today.  

The ongoing partnership between Aesthetica and York Art Gallery has fostered creativity and supported a strong environment for the appreciation of contemporary art in York. This year’s nominees prompt viewers to consider important questions about the evolving relationship between humans and the natural world, the fluidity of medium, and the power of claiming identity. 

Featured artists include the Sony World Photographer of the Year, Edgar Martins, Heather Agyepong, Foam Talent and Jerwood winner, Yevhen Samuchenko recommended by CNN. Jee Young Lee, whose photography series Stage of Mind plays with scale and surrealist elements, and Margeaux Walter, whose series Don’t Be a Square asks questions about layering and liminal spaces. Film is widely represented, including works by artists Hussina Raja, Kenji Ouellet, and Atonia Luxem. Innovative sculptural works fill the gallery space, including works by Mo H. Zareei and Cinzia Campolese. This year’s presentation brings together global luminaries in an exhibition that blurs the boundaries between digital and analogue media, prompting viewers to think about the overlap between different types of artworks. The display directly confronts life in the 21st century, from beautiful universal human moments to a lack of regulation of internet culture and the destruction of our planet’s oceans. 

Cherie Federico, Director of the Art Prize, says “The Aesthetica Art Prize presents some of the world’s foremost artists and this year we have an exceptional line-up. I am delighted with the shortlist, which taps into themes that resonate so powerfully to us today. We are also pleased that so many works support the city’s UNESCO Media Arts status, placing York Art Gallery on a global stage within the Creative Cities Network. Many of the pieces draw attention to issues such as the climate crisis, the impact of technology, colonial legacies and inequality. These works are active rather than passive, and, together, they create a dialogue that defies existing paradigms and contributes to the progression of the human story. These artists will influence generations to come.” 

Beatrice Bertram, Senior Curator at York Art Gallery, says “We are delighted to welcome the Aesthetica Art Prize back to York Art Gallery. This fruitful partnership allows our audiences to view incredibly innovative artworks by some of the most exciting talent in contemporary art. The show forms part of our larger ‘Season of Drawing’ programme, opening alongside an original commission by Ugonna Hosten and an interactive Drawing Studio, helping to fuel dynamic conversations about medium in contemporary art.’ 

The Aesthetica Art Prize is an annual platform for the world’s best artists. The award’s alumni continue to demonstrate excellence across the globe, from residencies and renowned awards to publications and must-see exhibitions. Prize alumni have achieved further exhibitions at Tate Modern, The Photographers’ Gallery, MoMA PS1, Foam Amsterdam, V&A, Barbican, Guggenheim, Saatchi Gallery, Centre Pompidou and more. They have won, or been nominated for a range of prestigious awards, including the Prix Elysée, FOAM Talent, the Jarman Award, Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, John Moore’s Painting Prize and Sony World Photography Awards. Collectively, they have achieved publication and further recognition in Frieze, Art Review, Vice, Dezeen, Wallpaper, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The New Yorker, Kinfolk, New York Times Magazine amongst others. 

The Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition runs between 16 February and 21 April 2024 at York Art Gallery and is a testament to shared creativity in a time of rapid change. Entry to the exhibition can be booked in advance on the York Art Gallery website. 

The Aesthetica Art Prize Main Prize and Emerging Prize winners will be announced on 15 February 2024. 

Aesthetica and York Museums Trust have been working in partnership for 12 years to deliver the Aesthetica Art Prize as part of their annual programme.