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Aesthetica Magazine Issue 116 (Digital Version)

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December / January 2024

Power of Experimentation

I like those serendipitous moments in life. It’s the recognition of cause and effect – what you set out to do can be very different to where you end up. It’s that idea of the journey being more important than the destination. It has been a big year for Aesthetica, as the magazine celebrated 20 years of independent publishing. We founded it with three pillars: equality, creativity and diversity, and they're still true today.

I was 22 when I set up this organisation and so, in many ways, I grew up with it. I find it rather emotional because I look back and see all the time, hard work and determination that it took to make this happen. We've made a contribution to visual culture and curation with events like the Aesthetica Film Festival. I am honoured to spend each and every day with innovators, makers and creators. It keeps me invigorated.

Inside this issue we are spotlighting artists who demonstrate the power of creative thinking. John Gerrard is known for works that are taking an active stand to bring the climate crisis to our attention. He is one of 100 artists who are exhibiting at this year’s NGV Triennial in Melbourne. Then we speak with Es Devlin who is renowned for large-scale installations and sculptures across theatre, architecture and activism. An Atlas of Es Devlin is the first major monographic museum show, surveying how she shapes stories and alternative points of view. We are also pleased to catch up with Reuben Wu on his process of making mesmerising work using drones and new technologies. Moreover, Julie Cockburn discusses the importance of memory and her instantly recognisable technique of embroidering found vintage prints.

In photography, Jonas Daley, Tom Leighton, Jooeun Bae, Polina Washington and Morgan Otagburuagu present new ways of seeing through experimental works. Our cover photographer Andrea Torres Balaguer uses surrealism, rich colour palettes and magical realism to explore the subconscious. Finally, the last words go to curator James Wylie and the exhibition Tartan, which is on now at V&A Dundee.