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CONTRA MATER

 
CONTRA MATER

event site and dates

Exhibition Hall of MGHPA named after S.G. Stroganov
1 october 2011 — 22 october 2011

Curators: Egor Koshelev, Alexei Sokolov 

Coordinator: Kirill Gavrilin

Artists:
  • Ivan Gorshkov
  • Pavel Grishin
  • Nikita Kadan
  • Timofey Caraffa-Korbut
  • Egor Koshelev
  • Vlad Kulkov
  • Diana Machulina
  • Ivan Plusch
  • Ilya Romanov
  • Alexei Sokolov
  • Rostan Tavasiev
  • Valentine Tkach

One of the most frequently discussed subjects in the Russian artistic community today is the relationship between academic education and the actual artistic process. Among the opinions presented there’s a radical negation of the need to maintain stagnant academic dogma opposed with the ultra-conservative apologetics tradition, sanctified by centuries of experience. Also there should be mentioned the constant will of the academic circles to derive a local model of the "third way". It is clear, however, that the lingering doubts in the strategies of education practiced before do not get meaningful solution for at least two decades. Nevertheless, marked with all the conflicts and contradictions of the academic system the new artists emerge - alas, not so much - you need to have some courage, not to fold before the financial difficulties and do not turn into more lucrative areas of design and commercial art - but these few are enough to demonstrate the polemical clashes of "school" and free creative spirit which grow more and more dramatic. The «CONTRA MATER» project brings together the representatives of this particular type of artists. All of them share complex nature of perception of the traditional "heritage", being marked by the painful stigmas of archaic educational methods, expressing the love-hate mix for the academic "basics". 

Surely there is a strong temptation to exaggerate - yet the younger generation often comes (sometimes even eager to join) in confrontation with social structures and cultural institutions, and the creative process tends to ruin all existing dogmas. And, nevertheless, there remains an open question - how can be explained the fact that all the best in our art has been created in spite of the existing system? What arguments can bring the academic education to its favor, if already in the process of teaching the young artist is imbued to mistrust it, and then tries to forget the past lessons. The Peredvizhniki, the members of the World of Art movement, the Futurists gave a huge part of their energy to struggle with academism. In the Soviet system we can recall the experience of the Severe style, nonconformists of the 60-ies., Conceptualists. The question of the relation of artist to his academic past has never lost relevance - today it is extremely sharpened. It is unlikely that we face a similar problem in European or American schools, where contemporary art and the academic education stand in close cooperation and working studios also function as kind of intellectual laboratories. Specific part of the biography of a young artist in post-Soviet space is the conscious liberation of the academic relapse, which may take several years - is it not the most spectacular symptom of local opposition of creativity and the school& 

The «CONTRA MATER» project explores the painful and uncomfortable relations between the artist and his "second mother" - an area, which some people may consider offensive to invade, but which is truly dangerous to ignore. Conditions given to the artists suggest that, along with one of their mature works the authors expose the work, not intended for wider exposure - academic studies, sketches- everything that supposedly is " academic routine», but also has a quality of an intimate document - here the artist reveals himself in the face of his «ALMA MATER», avoiding thoughts about the possible presence of strangers. Thus - by the hard collision of two contexts, the two paradigms of value within which creative personality develops - exhibition project embodies the lingering conflict of the academic orthodoxy with the artistic reality, leading common viewers and professionals to critical reflection of the existing status quo.







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