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14 March 2019

Exhibition ………І…|….|.ІІІ.||||.|||.І|||І|||ІІ..  at the studio of the Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin Foundation

When does the artist get his or her voice? At what point does he or she find/master his/her artistic language? Do we even need it now? When you ask these questions aloud, there is always a risk of being labelled as incompetent and irrelevant. It may seem that there is no need for this self-reflection these days. Artistic production now looks like corporate operations with a selection of certain ‘cases,’ and working on these cases is the goal of art today. It is as if only young artists are allowed to wonder in the dark looking for their identity. 

With every passing day, wondering about the artist’s agency becomes an increasingly complicated task. As they study in numerous art schools, artists or still students absorb all sorts of discursive and plastic practices. Yet nobody can answer the question about what they are supposed to do with all these tools. If you apply the art knowledge you have been given just like professors have told you, you become an epigone. If you renounce it, you have wasted your time studying. Young artists have to find a balance between the two extremes in an attempt to find their artistic identity. The issue of dualistic nature of art education that was defined by James Elkins is true for all art schools, no matter what country they operate in. Can you learn the contemporary art, and avoid Scylla and Charybdis?

The same dilemma presents itself when you study specific media: what does it mean to learn about painting? Master the language of minimalism or Transavantgarde is not enough to talk easily about paintings. The existing art theory suggests studying all things ‘pictorial’ as a combination of conceptual and practical reflections on the medium and its history. Yet in these circumstances, the true pinnacle of education is exploration of the sought-for topic. Pictorial Arts 2.0 is like a Holy Grail – unreachable yet all-encompassing phenomenon. Learning it does not mean finding an artistic language, but being able to demystify it and expose its structures. Without being tied down by the limits of medium, young artists can freely drift along in the ‘pictorial web’ looking for their identity. It is not that important whether they create a painting, an object or an interactive installation, as long as those are born from the Scientist obsession with all things ‘pictorial.’

Applying your knowledge in actual artistic practice, painting in particular, is only possible through deep self-reflection. Following your professor, supporting the tradition is no longer a productive practice. Unless you blow it up from the inside. 

Curator: Ivan Novikov

Artists: Anna Belousova, Fyodor Dubrovin, Viktor Zhdanov, Dmitry Zhiltsov, Maria Koroleva, Ksenia Kudrina, Aurora Lotton, Olga Mashinets, Bela Pogosyan, Abram Rebrov, Anya Sapozhnikova, Saida Sattarova, Gesha Yu

Media partner: ArtTube

Studio of the Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin Duration: 14.03 – 17.03.2019