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The 2023 Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition, a celebration of international contemporary art, returns to York Art Gallery between 24 March and 4 June 2023. The 11th edition brings together 21 talented artists in a show that offers creativity as a form of expression, with projects spanning the boundaries of genre – from painting, photography and sculpture to installation, mixed-media and video. These works survey the ethics of representation, mass digitisation, globalisation, diaspora and the fragility of our planet.

2 Becky Probert Hycean 2021

2. Becky Probert, Hycean (2021). Dimensions variable.

This year’s shortlist of international artists takes the temperature of today’s world and offers a new set of solutions as a tonic to life in the 21st century. For example, Lavinia Keller’s NFMe discloses the invisible impact of technology with a sensitivity that invites viewers to rethink ownership and identity. Her work sits between analogue and digital spaces. It is dedicated to capturing the audience’s emotions, which outlast the rapid pace of contemporary media culture.

Larry Achiampong’s Wayfinder dissects ideas surrounding class, gender, cross-cultural and digital identity. The film examines his communal and personal heritage – in particular, the intersection between popular culture and the residues of colonialism. These investigations survey constructions of “the self” through the activity of splicing the audible and visual materials of personal and interpersonal archives, offering multiple perspectives that reveal the deeply entrenched inequalities in society.

For the first time the exhibition will also incorporate part of the Artist’s Garden behind York Art Gallery with The Red Bags by Scotland-based artist Bea Last. The eye-catching installation is both a reaction to and a statement of issues affecting society at large, such as war, displacement and the climate crisis. There is a contrast between the fragility and strength, asking - what does it mean to be human.

Cherie Federico, Director of the Art Prize, notes: "Art is a way to convene and make sense of the here and now at this critical juncture in history. The impact that art has on society is profound. It’s transformational and invites conversations that challenge the status-quo. Art offers hope and solutions to problems that are bigger than any one individual or country. The artists in the Aesthetica Art Prize 2023 demonstrate the power of art to present reality and question how the past is remembered. I am thrilled to bring you this year's nominees."

Morgan Feely, Senior Curator of York Art Gallery, says: "The Aesthetica Art Prize will bring together a range of exciting art to York Art Gallery. The themes covered within the exhibition are complex, thought-provoking and inspiring. We look forward to welcoming visitors to see for themselves the huge range of talent in this show."

3 The Red Bags 2022 Repurposed Canvas Bamboo Bullet Holes Size Variable According To Location

3. Bea Last, The Red Bags, (2022). Repurposed canvas / bamboo / bullet holes.

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. Their work has been shown at major international institutions, include Centre Pompidou, Foam Amsterdam, MOMA PS1, Tate Modern and V&A. They have won, or been nominated for a range of prestigious awards, including the Jarman Award, John Moore’s Painting Prize, Sony World Photography Awards and Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. Collectively, they have achieved publication and further recognition in Frieze, Art Review, The Guardian, The New Times and Vice. Most recently, shortlisted artist Jenn Nkiru won a Grammy, Terrance Musekiwa has exhibited at the 2022 Venice Biennale, and Reuben Wu was commissioned for the cover of National Geographic.

The Aesthetica Art Prize Main Prize and Emerging Prize winners will be announced on 23 March 2023. Learn more about the shortlist:

The £10,000 Aesthetica Art Prize is open for entries. Part of the next edition and win exhibition and publication. Submit your work by 31 May:

The exhibition runs from 24 March - 4 June at York Art Gallery. York Art Gallery Opening Times: Wednesday – Sunday 10am-4pm in March and 10 am – 5pm from April and on Bank Holiday Mondays during May. Entry is free and can be booked in advance on the York Art Gallery website:

Image Credits:

1. Larry Achiampong, Still from Wayfinder, (2022). Single channel. 4K colour film. 83 min. Courtesy the artist and Copperfield London.

2. Becky Probert, Hycean (2021). Dimensions variable.

3. Bea Last, The Red Bags, (2022). Repurposed canvas / bamboo / bullet holes.

Dimensions variable.

Promotional blog written by Aesthetica

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