The Aesthetica Art Prize returns with 18 shortlisted artists whose works explore themes of disconnection in today’s world, inviting audiences to discover and engage with new ideas.

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19 February 2019

The Aesthetica Art Prize returns with 18 shortlisted artists whose works explore themes of disconnection in today’s world, inviting audiences to discover and engage with new ideas.

The 2019 edition (8 March – 14 July, York Art Gallery) covers a range of themes from technology, urbanisation and digitisation to population growth and ecological destruction and climate change.

The artworks presented draw on both personal and universal narratives. In the age of globalisation, culture is becoming homogenised and identity is fluid. What does this mean for the individual?

The shortlisted artists include:

Alec Von Bargen (New York); Nicolas Bernier (Canada); Ludivine Large-Bessette (France); Mark Bloomfield (UK); Sebastian Kite (UK); Yunhan Liu (China); Daniel Mullen (UK); Jenn Nkiru (UK); May Parlar (USA); María Molina Peiró (Netherlands); Rebecca Reeve (USA); Giulio Di Sturco (UK); Noriyuki Suzuki (Germany); Maryam Tafakory (UK); Jane & Louise Wilson (UK); Teppei Yamada (Japan); Sim Chi Yin (Singapore); Christiane Zschlommer (UK).

Highlights from the show include:

  • Teppei Yamada’s installation Apart and/or Together comprises 10 different heartbeats, which are reminders of the real human lives rendered invisible in discussions around citizenship and migration.
  • Giulio Di Sturco’s photographic series Aerotropolis, The Way We Will Live Next considers how landscapes centred around airports shape urban development in the 21st century as much as highways did in the 20th century, railroads in the 19th century and seaports in the 18th century.
  • Christiane Zschlommer’s Beyond Orwell Series focuses on familial experiences under totalitarianism in East Germany, photographing objects using found secret government statistics and discussing surveillance culture.
  • Turner-Prize nominees Jane & Louise Wilson depict the relationship between the Houses of Parliament, Trinity House in Newcastle, and the abandoned coastal fortifications on Governors Island, Manhattan with Suspended Island. The artists’ film discusses the perception of an island at this time, during Brexit negotiations.
  • Noriyuki Suzuki’s installation Oh My ( ) is one of the pieces expanding upon changing modes of communication. The work monitors the Twitter feed in real time, sounding out the phrase “oh my (god)” in one of 48 languages every time the word “god” is tweeted. The artwork considers the complexities and intangibility of religion in the digitised world.

Running concurrently is the Future Now Symposium (7-8 March, York St John University), a two-day event bringing together key institutions, galleries and publications for discussion surrounding today’s most pressing issues including The Politics of Representation; How Are Exhibitions Programmed?; The Business of Art; and Arts Journalism in the Digital Age.

The 2019 edition also introduces headline speakers Alex Majoli (Magnum Photos) and Shawn Waldron (Curator, Getty Images Gallery). A range of delegates from leading arts organisations are in attendance including Foam Amsterdam, V&A, Royal Academy, RIBA, London Art Fair, The Design Museum, Michael Hoppen and Huxley-Parlour.

Cherie Federico, Director, notes: “There have been considerable shifts in civilisation in the Information Age – resulting in a change in the way we communicate, engage with and interact with each other. The shortlisted works investigate this concept through a wide range of styles and techniques. Similarly, the Future Now Symposium looks at how the creative industries are changing, asking vital questions about current trends and developments across art, design and technology.”