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
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.
While working on The Sequences of Conditions, I was inspired by two works of fundamental research: a book by Martin Gardner entitled Penrose Tiles to Trapdoor Ciphers and Barnett Newman’s manifesto The Plasmic Image.
I have always been fascinated by the problems involved in creating a universal artistic element that could be developed endlessly, interacting with different spaces. By way of example, fractal is such an element in mathematics. In my project the fractal medium is a square that has no proportions. Two images constructed from such elements bear an extremely approximate resemblance to the familiar world that we know (“forest”space and “atmosphere” space).
Atmosphere is a combination of chemical elements. By analogy, the atmosphere of the picture is created thanks to the interaction of minerals bonded by resins, oils and varnishes. In my project I set myself the figurative objective of combining two spaces in one work so smoothly that spectators would not be able to perceive the transition. As is the case, for example, in ambient music popularly termed atmospheric.
The sequence of the condition of the work arises thanks to the colour dynamics in its fragments. This approach is closer to a Chinese scroll than a North European still life, which compels us to come closer and closer to the work. And this is how it is disclosed, demonstrating yet another quality — the microcosm of the details. Works on scrolls exceeding 10 metres in length motivate us to look for the great in large-scale works,
which cannot be appropriately viewed in a single glance. In my installation each separate fragment represents a frame of the conditions. The Sequences of Conditions may be developed in different physical directions, unleashing the hidden potential of degrees of freedom of the work, while simultaneously immersed in its own lack of freedom. This growth process in the infinite work can be stopped once I receive answers to most of the questions that I have raised regarding painting, methodology and motivation.
RENUNCIATION OF FIGURATIVE ART
The impact of the work is not attributable to the form, but instead to the elusive magnetism surrounding the space of the work. Such magnetism in Newman’s works was expressed in a series of plasmic paintings. I was enthralled by this idea. I worked on the composition of space, using the technique of consecutive simplification, abstracting as much as possible away from figurative art.
The audio video installation consists of 12 LCD screens, where one character singsthe vowel sounds, of which there are naturally six in Russian. Each scene and sound isplayed on a separate screen. The screens are specifically not synchronised with each other at the launch of the video, while the sound is intentionally expanded with a reverberator,
thereby acquiring a volumetric and slightly otherworldly sound. In the 1950s Igor Stravinsky started using serial compositional techniques, which involves a specific concept for writing music, namely: a technique of musical composition whereby a series (row) of non-recurrent sounds serve as the pitch. It was introduced into musical practice in the works of Arnold Schoenberg and Аnton Webern. Threni: id est Lamentationes Jeremiae Prophetae from 1958 was the first completely serial composition, where Stravinsky rejected tonality as such. Working on the “chorus”, I adhered to the serial technique and intentionally selected the vowel sounds of the composer’s native language, which can be sung and combined
in a polyphonic structure.
The project is about communication and relationships.
“With the world on a string”
Dear friends, I ask you to send me the segment of the thread of any length and color.
Location – in a personal message.
The group project “Intertext” explores the question of text and image interpenetration.
The exhibition brings together both Moscow conceptualists (Dmitriy Prigov, Yuri Albert, Andrey Filippov) and contemporary european and russian artists working within the raised problematics.
Some artists, such as Leonid Tishkov, Nikita Alexeev, Victor Umnov, and Babi Badalov, can be equally considered writers, since their visual images complement their textual creatures.
Contemporary text in the form of digital or figure poetry is often created using computer technologies. Generating an image by various digital codes, the media poets and video artists Natalia Fedorova, Anna Tolkacheva, and Charles Sandison partially delegate their role to the machine.
A part of the exhibition, presented by works of Tania Mouraud, Victor Panov, Maxim Ksuta, EvgeniyDobrovinskiy and Ilya Grishaev, is dedicated to the symbolic image as a graphic element, automatic writing and calligraphic practice. Not only the signs, but also the gaps between them, the intentional concealment or understatement become a means of artistic expression.
Such artists as Semen Motolyanets, Georgyi Ostretsov, and Valery Chtak use texts as slogans, tags or symbols associated with popular culture, politics and social intercourse. The text slogans mark the very nature of social communication, based on the same sign system.
Each text, featured at the exhibition, is not a separate statement, but only a fragment of the universe verbal-textual structure. The texts, presented by the artists in various forms, don’t always require reading; very often they just serve a reminder or a link to the other texts outside the exhibition space. The exposition does not imply an immediate and consistent reading; it rather serves a starting point for numerous narrations. Intertextuality becomes not just a research vector, but the practice itself.
Participants: Nikita Alexeev, Uriy Albert, Nadezhda Anfalova, Babi Badalov, Evgeniy Dobrovinskiy, Ilyia Grishaev, Ludmila Konsatntinova, Olya Kroytor, Maxim Ksuta, Georgiy Litichevsky, Semen Motolianets, Denis Patrakeev, Sergei Pakhomov, Dmitriy Prigov, Tania Mouraud, Georgyi Ostretsov, Charles Sandison, Marina Smorodinova, Leonid Tishkov, Anna Tolkacheva, Andrey Filippov, Alexandr Tsikarishvili, Victor Umnov, Natalia Fedorova, Dmitriy Shagin, Kristina Yatkovskaya.
Curator of the exhibition — Elizaveta Shagina.