Hostages of Void: Aesthetics of Empty Space in Russian Art during 19th-21st Centuries

Hostages of Void: Aesthetics of Empty Space in Russian Art during 19th-21st Centuries
Library Shelf Location 15.RUSV
Publication Date 2011
Description The art of the 20th century is dominated by the concept of Void. Fear of and craving for the Void were equally appealing for artists active in the 20th century, causing critics to reach the conclusion that «empty space» or «nothingness» was perceived as a typical environment or habitat of modern man, no matter how much it was «stuffed» by mass media content. The predominance of the concept of Void can be explained in several ways: 1. Absence of a genuine mythology, resulting in «absolute negativity» (G. Bataille); 2. Iconoclastic attitudes of contemporary artists as a response to the industrial-scale approach to production of artistic images and a panacea for the spectacle-like nature of mass culture; 3. Loss of the referent, triggered by expansion of mass-media techniques; and 4. A crisis of representation stemming from the criticism of «pure visuality». Nevertheless, with growing interest in empty spaces and a suspicion of vision, 20th century artists still worked to unveil empty space in order to actualize the moment of visual apprehension and make visible the process of contemplating the art object. This is how the Void was «canonized» to become the sine qua non of driving the viewer’s reflection and self-reflection. The concept of the Void in Russian art of the 20th century also built around literary heritage works such as Chaadayev’s «Philosophical Letters» and the writings of Sologub and Kharms. The purpose of the project is to explore origins and trace the history of empty spaces in Russian art of the 20th century (post-Suprematism) until modern art of the noughties, and to study the inner structure of empty spaces and their evolution as they occur in both traditional and new media, contrasting pictorial and graphic shapes against installations and videos.
Quantity 1
Pages 176
Editor Kirill Svetlyakov
Format Exhibition Catalogue
Publisher The State Tretyakov Gallery
Category Art from a specific country
Keywords Interiors, Landscapes (representations), Space (area), Architecture (subject)
Related Country/Global Region Russia
Artist's Nationality Russian
Language English

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