Group exhibition in Kovcheg gallery, Moscow
Print on canvases
Tretyakov State Gallery, jointly with the Manege Central Exhibition Hall (St. Petersburg), ROSIZO State Museum and Exhibition Center, Triumph gallery and with the support of TransSoyuz Charitable Foundation, presents Future Lab. Kinetic Art in Russia. The project showcases one of the most impactful, yet underresearched art movements in the second half of the 20th century. Featuring about 400 exhibits, the project covers a broad swathe in the development of the kinetic art in the 1960s–70s, tracing its links to the avant-garde experimentation earlier in the century and to modern art practices.
The Future Lab is the largest contemporary art exhibition to ever occupy the Gallery’s West Wing, where the institution hosts exciting interdisciplinary projects aimed at discovering current meanings and forms in contemporary art as emerging through novel plastic media. This project is also in keeping with the tradition of displaying timely snapshots of creative life. The location’s architecture allows for an exposition with more large-scale objects and installations, dedicated video screening areas, a larger roster of featured artists. Kinetic art as a new movement and the design of the exhibition building on Krymsky Val St. almost exactly coincided in time, which produces an additional, deeply historic and aesthetic connection.
The foundation of kinetic art is transformation, both of the artistic form and the workings of perception. Mobility, fluidity, instability are central in dynamic artworks that are subjected to transformation by virtue of mechanical forces or visual effects. Emerging simultaneously in different parts of the world, kineticism was closely related to the idea of rehabilitating the progress of technology and building the information society.
As rightful peers to the scientific cutting-edge, kinetic artists invented optical data transmission systems, explored visual thinking, experimented with advanced technologies and materials. Top of the creative agenda at the time were such subjects as polysensory perception, algorithmization of the artistic process, procedural thinking, interactivity, virtuality. In addition to seeking new ways to embody their concepts, the artists ventured into design, architecture, urban and spatial planning. This made kineticism more than just another art movement, it had become a laboratory for the artists to generate alternate versions of reality, as well as of the future which we inhabit today. What was once viewed as an artistic experiment is now part and parcel of our everyday lives.
The exposition at the New Tretyakov Gallery incorporates different forms and genres of kinetic art: mobiles, tensile structures, transformer sculptures, optical paintings, drawings, collages, photography, video projections, audial and light installations, interactive objects. It features works by prominent kinetic artists who were most prolific in the 1960s–70s, supplemented by their predecessors—key figures in the Russian avant-garde of the early 20th century—as well as present-day authors.
The exhibition splits into four sections, each foregrounding certain prominent features of kineticism and outlining the formation of its main ideas. In the layout, however, the curators wanted to avoid a siloed, rigid separation of sections and leveraged the architecture of the exhibition space to make the sections interpermeable.
The Vision Lab explores our visual perception and covers artistic experiments that expanded its capabilities. The Art Metrics Lab presents works that prioritize precise calculation and rational objectivation of the creative process. The Environment Lab comprises different projects aimed at reorganizing the space in architecture, design, and theater. The Synesthesia Lab shows projects that employ the multisensory approach and pursue the idea of a “total artwork.”
Curator: Julia Aksyonova
Co-curators: Anna Koleichuk, Andrey Smirnov, Natalia Sidorova (State Tretyakov Gallery)
Exhibition Architecture: Ksenia Lukyanova
Consulting: Lyubov’ Pcheolkina (State Tretyakov Gallery)
Graphic Design: Andrey Shelyutto / Irina Chekmareva
Photo by Vladimir Peysikov
Imagine you’re dreaming, and in your dream you pick a flower in heaven, and then you wake up with the flower in your hand. Ah, what then? (Max Richter. From Natalie Johns’ Max Richter’s Sleep, 2019)
Where do we go every night when we close our eyes and drift to sleep? To the realm of misty dreams? Walk the winding roads of our unconscious? Do we see the future or the past? Or the present existing in parallel to here and now? What if dreams are a different reality that coexists with the one we know? And how can a third part of life, although passive, be deemed insignificant?
Sleeping is as important part of life as wakefulness. It affects our perception of reality and the phantom line between objective truth and the surreal world of visions and fantasies. Dreams and their nature still raise numerous questions and researching them is filled with various hypotheses that are yet to be scientifically confirmed or disproved. Dreaming and its many aspects is turned into a subject of artistic reflection in the exhibition narrative.
A Wave of Dreams unites works by 32 artists. Referring to the ancient tradition of dream interpretation, some participants find in them warnings and prophecies. Others explore the borderline state between dream and reality as a paranoid feeling of losing touch with reality. In some cases, the memories of the past switch places with dreams, as if emerging from each other; in others the visions of the future bleed through like recurring stress dreams. Sometimes metaphysical images come up like accidental visions. The artists turn to memory archives, feelings of déjà vu and dream journals. Through the works we invite the viewers to enter an extraordinary world of fantastical images, nightmares and drifting dreams. A Wave of Dreams will become the border zone between wakefulness and dreaming in which objective reality is no longer dominant, giving way to illusion.
Lao rosewood, billiard ball, carving. 2020
2012-2013, Steel, wood, 24.5x53x25.5cm
Work of Labor is an object that can be interpreted as a tuning fork. It helps the viewer to calibrate attention to a certain emotional wawe of perception, unburdened by the taxing philosophical references of footnotes. The artist took several months to methodically saw in half a crowbar, then polish it to a mirror shine, and finally rejoin the two pieces. Resulting from unsophisticated but laborious effort is an object that has lost its primary function as a working implement, and has become a “work of labor” and also a work of art.
The events of the first months of 2020 showed us that the world is changing right in front of our eyes and these changes are happening so rapidly that it is sometimes impossible to predict them. The “ State of Emergency” exhibition is an attempt of observing the current situation, reacting to it and forecasting scenarios of a possible future. The exposition combines five sections, each of which offers analysis and observation of new and familiar sociocultural processes that have transformed under the onset of the pandemic.
The declared epidemiological threat led to an undeclared state of emergency – sanitary restrictions were imposed on almost all inhabited territories, which changed the usual order of things. The “Anti / Structure” section provides an artistic reflection and illustration of the effects that events like pandemics have on everyday life and society.
The works in the sections “Landmarks in Space” and “Present Time” offer observations of physical parameters of human existence.
The section “Landmarks in space” is considered from the side of mental pressure on the material model. The “Present Time” section addresses the genre of an art diary as a way to capture and fixate the moment.
Discovering themselves in unnatural conditions of utter isolation, artists once again seek a way out to the creative impulse, plunging deeper into the world of fantasies, transitional states and visions. The section “Border Syndrome” is devoted to this condition. Here are the works that exist on the border of various states, worlds even – virtual and material, fantasy and hallucination, sleep and reality, spiritual and physical.
Eras of grand changes are always a catalyst for the emergence of new predictions and myths, and the current situation was no exception. The section “Truths and Fiction” is devoted to the desire to look into the unknown, to find out how it all began, and to imagine how it will end. Using various mediums and with varying degrees of fantasticness, artists offer their own scenarios for a future that has still yet to come.
The “Your screen time has expired” section presents works that appeal to digital culture and its emotional and social aspects. During self-isolation, public and private communication was completely transferred to an online medium, turning apartments and houses into centers of consumption, content creation and observation of the current agenda. Now that the media services have proven themselves as additional means of mandatory control, it may be worth revising one’s digital relationships.