Aesthetica Magazine Issue 110

December / January 2023

Art is about storytelling, and we all tell stories. There are the stories we tell about ourselves and the ones we tell about each other. There are the moments that sit between memory, fact and fiction. It’s how we present reality and remember the past. Sometimes, you tell yourself the same story so many times it becomes true. How the present is retold is subjective, and no person experiences it in the same way.

There are instances of joy and euphoria coupled with pain and loss. This is all part of the human experience. If there is one thing that binds us together, it’s that no matter who or where you are, we all are here right now on planet Earth. This is our time in history. It’s hard to picture the future – say 500 years from now – or to imagine how our existence could impact it. What will it be like? Dare to dream, I suppose.

This issue is dedicated to weaving narratives. Liam Wong highlights the beauty of the night and the intersection between reality, technology and science fiction. His latest book, After Dark, investigates global cities at night. Wong says: “I want to take real moments and transform them into something surreal to make the viewer question the reality depicted in each photograph.” We speak to Tyler Mitchell about the fluidity of fine art and fashion photography, as he seamlessly traverses both worlds, alongside the impact of being the first Black photographer to shoot a cover for Vogue. Mária Švarbová’s swimming pools and brightly coloured caps follow a tradition from Seurat and Hockney, but by using architecture and light, she tells stories and memories of spaces where we can all find glimpses of serendipity.

In photography, we bring you works from Alexis Pichot, Henri Prestes, Miguel Vallinas Prieto, Priscilla Ong and Mónica Alcázar-Duarte. Each photographer takes an instant in time and turns it into a moment of introspection. Our cover artists Elsa & Johanna experiment with portraiture by reconstructing family memories. Finally, Last Words go to Doug Aitken, where he discusses his new book, Works 1992-2022.

Composed Minimalism

Swimming pool geometry translates into desolate landscapes reflecting human vulnerabilities in the work of acclaimed photographer Mária Švarbová.

Immersive Landscapes

Darkness is a constant presence in Liam Wong’s neon-noir photographs, which expose the quiet solitude of global nightlife and question reality.

Radical New Ground

Tyler Mitchell has pushed the boundary of fashion photography. His visions of Black utopia provide everyday moments of beauty and contemplation.

Into the Small Hours

Henri Prestes investigates the calm yet ominous presence of the twilight hours in remote locations, producing cinematic and considered landscapes.

World of Imagination

Suppen is a series of limitless creativity. Miguel Vallinas Prieto’s surreal compositions transform ordinary table settings into something magical.

Seamless Horizons

Alexis Pichot’s ethereal archipelagos provide a moment of reflection amidst the constant influx of digital news, images and information.

Crafting a Narrative

Duo Elsa Parra and Johanna Benaïnous blur the distinctions between the photographer and subject in reconstructions of family memories.

Surrealist Assemblage

Priscilla Ong uses assemblage in bold, colourful and often humorous displays of inanimate items, crafting new narratives from mundane materials.

The Future Reimagined

David Uzochukwu’s speculative portraits reflect human identities. He is one of 75 artists invited to examine complex Afrodiasporic experiences.

Visualising the Algorithm

Mónica Alcázar-Duarte exposes the derogatory stereotypes Mexican women are subjected to in real-world and online spaces in Second Nature.