The role of big names in the art world has been a point of contention for some time; in particular how the process of engaging with art is affected by us knowing who is behind it. Explorations into this thorny issue have been particularly prevalent at London’s Royal College of Art through both the Secret Postcard show and now, the welcome return of Monika magazine.
Initially launched as an experiment at the RCA graduate show in 2009, Monika describes itself as “the anonymous journal of art and culture” and turned quite a few heads with both its first and second issue (released the following year). Then it disappeared but now Monika is back with a new issue themed around wildlife, examined through essays, interviews, artworks and illustrations.
It retains its original mission; to be “a challenge inspired by a contemporary art scene that tends to put too much weight on a name” and those behind it are well aware that their approach may split opinion, admitting that: “Some might say Monika’s premise is annoying, some find it refreshing.”
Wherever you stand on the starting point it’s undoubtedly a fine-looking object, designed with a clarity and skill that anchors it well away from self indulgent pretentiousness. Welcome back Monika.