THE Aesthetica Art Prize shortlist has been chosen for the March 8 to July 14 exhibition at York Art Gallery.

The work by the 18 international artists explores “themes of disconnection in today’s world, inviting audiences to discover and engage with new ideas”.

Covering a range of themes from technology, urbanisation and digitisation to population growth and ecological destruction and climate change, the artworks presented in the 2019 edition of this annual prize 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?” ponders Aesthetica director Cherie Federico.

The shortlist comprises: Alec Von Bargen, from Italy; Nicolas Bernier, from Canada; Ludivine Large-Bessette, from France; Yunhan Liu, from China; May Parlar and Rebecca Reeve, from the United States; Molina Peiró, from the Netherlands; Noriyuki Suzuki and Christiane Zschlommer, from Germany; Teppei Yamada, from Japan, and Sim Chi Yin, from Singapore.

Great Britain will be represented by Mark Bloomfield; Sebastian Kite; Daniel Mullen; Jenn Nkiru; Giulio Di Sturco; Maryam Tafakory and Jane and Louise Wilson.

Many of the works focus on individuality in today’s expanding world. Teppei Yamada’s installation Apart and/or Together consists of ten different heartbeats, which are reminders of the real human lives rendered invisible in discussions around national identity, citizenship, multiculturalism and migration.

York Press:

May Parlar's Aesthetica Art Prize entry Collective Solitude (2018)

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.

Personal and collective histories are also key to the 2019 prize entries. Christiane Zschlommer’s Beyond Orwell Series focuses on familial experiences under totalitarianism, photographing objects using found secret government statistics. Meanwhile, Alec Von Bargen’s Under The Blue Skies Of Agok images capture profoundly intimate moments of displaced peoples in South Sudan.

In Suspended Island, Turner Prize nominees Jane and Louise Wilson depict the relationship between the Houses of Parliament, Trinity House in Newcastle, and the abandoned coastal fortifications on Governors Island, Manhattan. 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 on changing modes of communication. This 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.

The prize is run by the York publication Aesthetica Magazine, which also will be hosting the Future Now Symposium at York St John University on March 7 and 8. This two-day event will bring together key institutions, galleries and publications for discussion surrounding such issues as The Politics of Representation; How Are Exhibitions Programmed?; The Business of Art; and Arts Journalism in the Digital Age. The 2019 edition will introduces headline speakers Alex Majoli, from Magnum Photos, and Shawn Waldron, curator of the Getty Images Gallery.

Delegates will be in attendance from such arts organisations as Foam Amsterdam, the V&A, Royal Academy, RIBA, London Art Fair, The Design Museum, Creative Review and Yorkshire Sculpture International.

Summing up the two events, Cherie says: 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.”