26.05.2016 – 30.09.2016

Prince Golitsyn Family Estate

Memory / Learning through Images

Today’s art invites the viewer to experience its transience and integrity, merging optical, mental, and tactile images and creating valuable experiences.

The interest in the inner world of a person, the appeal to the Eastern tradition, the ability to see the eternity in a split second unites the masters of the early 20th century with artists exploring the effect of media on our perception. Today, video artists interweave time into the video narration, where it becomes both a medium and a narrative.


Natalya Smolyanskaya

Art Event: between a Document and an Image

In the second half of the 20th century, the concept of ‘artwork’ is reinvented, as the emergence of ‘contemporary’ art violated the boundaries between theory and practice, between form that is being created and the one that has already been created: the eventfulness of art was brought to the forefront by the desire to stop the time, to snatch the moment out of the life stream. The concept of ‘art event’ (which we will use following Jean-Marie Schaeffer) is based on contextual analysis, since ‘to be an event’ means ‘to be an event for someone.’ Such analysis allows us to get away from pre-imposed interpretation and to identify the ‘modes of existence’ of art.

Since 1960s, the need for fixation of artistic events due to their temporary, impermanent, procedural nature is combined with a desire to ‘seize’ the present, to go beyond the autonomy of art. In this sense, the slogan of Guy Debord's ‘Suppression of art’ becomes symptomatic for the new generation, which brought new means of expression of their own.

This time, we will focus on the way documentation becomes work of art. Thus, we will explore some of the symptoms of modernity in the activity and works of Situationists, particularly focusing on ciné-tracts, anonymous short experimental films created by a group of friends following the idea of Chris Marker under the impression of events (and on the basis of documentary photographs) of May 1968 in Paris.

The desire to go into the ‘real life’ was, of course, based on the way the artists imagined that life. The important role in that process was played by the work of Harold Zeeman and his exhibition ‘When Relationships Become Shapes’ (Bern, 1969) and Documenta 5 (Kassel, 1972).

Finally, we will talk about ‘indistinguishability’ of aesthetic and documentary fact. We turn to the analysis of the problem of the indistinguishability carried out by Arthur Danto (‘Artworld,’ 1964), and the way some conceptual artists (Lawrence Weiner, Joseph Kosuth) work with that problem, relying mainly on the context, in which they endow the text with the original status of the document.

Natalya Smolyanskaya. Artist and theorist. Candidate of Philosophy (2005), Ph.D. in philosophy (University of Paris VIII, France) with the thesis on the ‘Destruction of Conceptual Frameworks. Art and Language,’ Associate Professor at Russian State University for Humanities with the thesis on the ‘Symbolic Paradigm: Nelson Goodman and Contemporary French Philosophy.’ Member of the European network of researchers of the avant-garde and Modernism. Head of research program at the International College of Philosophy (Paris) (2007–2013): ‘Destruction of Conceptual Frameworks: Thinking of ‘Languages of Art.’ Avant-garde and the Destruction of Conceptual Frameworks’ (Crise du cadre: penser les ‘langages de l'art’ Les avant-gardes et la crise du cadre).

Alexandra Danilova

Persistence of Memory

The reluctance to remember or the impossibility to forget? Personal experiences and collective memory? All of these topics were discussed by the artists of the second half of the 20th century. The subject of memory was associated with the traumatic European past, but it also gave strength to face the future. Gerhard Richter, Christian Boltanski, Hans Haacke, Anselm Kiefer, and other famous masters interpreted those topics in different ways: memory as a myth, memory as an archive, memory as a place, memory as an experience.

Alexandra Danilova. Art historian, curator. The author of numerous articles on the history of Russian and foreign art of the 20th century. Alexandra teaches Art History at various institutions of higher education, curates exhibition projects dedicated to the art of Moscow Conceptualism, such as ‘Interpretation of an Object’ in the framework of the 3rd Moscow Biennale, ‘Field of action’ at the Ekaterina cultural Foundation (2010). Nowadays she is Deputy Head of the Department of European and American Art of 19–20th century at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (Moscow). 

Kirill Razlogov

Chantal Akerman the environment of Cinema and in Media Art

Chantal Akerman is one of the most daring visionaries of the cinema of the last quarter of the 20th century. Her approach originates from an aesthetic and very personal method of formation of visual forms, through which she explores geography and identity, time and place, sexuality and religion. Her artistic language was influenced by the tructuralist cinema. She exhibited her works together with Michael Snow, Andy Warhol, Yvonne Rainer, and others. Chantal Akerman explores visual landscape and moves freely between documentary and fiction. The hybrid space of the screen produced by Ackerman creates a sense of place ‘experienced’ by the artist on the mental level. Long shots of cities, lands and houses convey the essence of life, especially the life of women, as well as the passage of time and memory.

Chantal Akerman’s solo exhibitions were held at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Museums of Contemporary Art of Antwerp and Tel Aviv, MIT, the Art Museum of Princeton University. She participated in the Venice Biennale (2001) and Documenta 9 (2002). She was a member of the jury at the Venice and Berlin film festivals. Commander of the Order of Leopold I (2004) – Belgium’s highest state award.

Kirill Razlogov is going to analyze Chantal Akerman’s art and will try to define the border between cinema and Media Art.

Kirill Razlogov. Russian film critic and cultural researcher. President of the Russian Guild of Film Critics (since March 2015). He was the Director of the Russian Institute for Cultural Research (1989–2013). He is the author and the host of Cult Cinema, a program on the Russia-K TV channel. He has published 14 books and about 600 scientific papers on the History of Art and Cinema and on different cultural issues. He teaches History of World Cinema at the High Courses for Scriptwriters and Film Directors since 1972, he works in the All-Russian State University of Cinematography since 1988. In 1989, he became the Head of the Russian Institute of Culturology. He is the Program Director of the Moscow International Film Festival since 1999 (with a break in 2006–2008).

Alexey Artamonov

Jonas Mekas: Diary Films between Memory and Image

In his diary films, Jonas Mekas is fully focused on the personal, the private, making ‘the intensity of a real moment’ the basic material of his works. However, his ‘Self’ is always simultaneously present in the film and absent from it. The flow of life in Mekas's works is not the subjectivity, but rather the image in the process of becoming, a pulsating point of the possibility of the emerging of the image somewhere between what is depicted and the one who depicts it. That pulsating point is the point of fracture between a lost memory during shooting and the memory of that memory. The discrepancy between the resulting image and the image that was being searched for becomes even more prominent and dramatic in his movies: the gap between the illusion of total capture of reality using video and simultaneously its emptiness and melancholy is in itself a metaphor of the insurmountable distance between memory and image.

Alexey Artamonov. Curator of cinema programs and film critic. He writes about music and cinema for different media (‘Séance,’ ‘Art of Cinema,’ ‘Afisha,’ ‘Interview Russia,’ Look At Me, W-O-S, Colta.ru, Kinote). He was editor of the cinema section for ‘Theory and Practice.’ He was one of the curators of the cinema program of the ‘Media Forum’ at the XXXV and the XXXVII Moscow International Film Festival (the ‘Talking Cinema’ program). He curated the ‘Found Footage. A Mirror in Movement’ program at the XXIV International Film Festival ‘Message to Man.’ He was moderated master-classes at the Saint-Petersburg festival ‘Beginning.’ He used to be press secretary of the State Central Film Museum and International Film Festival ‘Message to Man.’ 

Constantine Bokhorov

Memory Policy and Contemporary Art

Modernity has overcome the classical concept of memory. Theoretically, the memory in postmodernism is defined not as something inborn and original, which is the basis of identity, but as a necessary structure implanted or induced artificially. Cinema gives numerous examples of that practice: ‘Blade Runner’ (1982) by Ridley Scott or ‘Johnny Mnemonic’ (1995) Robert Longo and more.

Critical approach: In the article ‘Farewell to an Identity’ (‘Artforum,’ December 2012), Benjamin Buchloh argues that in contemporary art the visualization of the modernist concept of memory acquires theatrical forms, turns into a spectacle, fetishize the history and aesthetic practices.

Examples of works of contemporary artists working with the memory can be associated with Christian Boltanski, Douglas Gordon, Pierre Huyghe, Thomas Hirschhorn and others.

According to Buchloh, only James Coleman working with breaches of perception and cognitive gaps in the semiotic structures manages to overcome a contradiction when an artistic psychoanalysis simultaneously becomes a factor that imposes the artificial structure of identity.

We will focus on the legal basis for such issue and the ability to access memory only aesthetically, not getting involved in the fetishization of the culture, nor in the spectacle.

How should radical artistic practices operate, when, according to Buchloh, they can only be made possible while working with these problems? In his opinion, these practices imply ‘the creation of a new cultural identity through the coverage of the classes and the people, the spaces and the landscapes that the history has traditionally ignored and that do not have their images or names.’

Constantine Bokhorov. Curator and art critic. Graduated from Saint-Petersburgh State Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. His works are published in the ‘Art Magazine,’ ‘Dialogue of Arts’ and others. He organized exhibitions of contemporary Russian art at the Venice Biennale (1996–1999), the Istanbul Biennale (1997), the Sao Paulo Biennale (1997). He was Russian counselor at the Documenta 12 (2007). He curated the exhibitions ‘Subject and Power’ (2001), ‘Let’s go! From the Labs of Free Art of Russia’ (2002), ‘To Video Islands’ (2005), ‘Doorkeepers of the New’ (2006), ‘Erwin Wurm: Keep a Cool Head’ (2008), ‘Second Dialogue’ (2009), ‘Aesthetics vs Information’ (2010), ‘Is It the Sixth Sense?’ (2014). He teaches Art History, Theory of Contemporary Art and Theatre at the Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, British Higher School of Design, ‘Base’ and UNIK institutes. Candidate of culturology. Member of MAU, AICA.

Special event in the framework of the educational program for the exhibition ‘House of Impressions. Classic and Contemporary Media Art’

Time: 7 p. m. June 29th 2016
Venue: the Prince Golitsyn’s Family Estate (14 bld. 5, Volkhonka Str.)

Free entrance. Preliminary registration is required.

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