10 Aug

Konstantin Panassyuk’s Flowing Structures

Konstantin Panassyuk is a passionate photographer from Russia. His works are mostly snapshots of everyday life, showcasing interesting moments of people in mostly urban environments. While not a full time pro of photography, many of Konstantin’s works are extremely promising and are the result of a talented mind.

His compositions are an interplay of empty-full, rigid-fluid, tense-relaxed. Konstantin’s photos feature a weird balance between shapes that are sturdy and shapes that are flowing. Often, it seems that these shapes are meant to morph, moving between a solid state to a liquid state. This way, he conveys a complete image of a moment’s expression, which captures both the steady, the flowy and the in-between.

 

 

Tree

 

I like summer so much!

 

Hard voleyball

 

 

More: flickr.com/photos/127725679@N05

 

 

29 May

Curating the Mind: The Culture of Today and the Politics of Tomorrow

Many people, especially those who grew up in the 70s, 80s and 90s sometimes get a bit nostalgic about old-timey television. Well, not necessarily extremely old-timey, but for the time when television was pretty much at its peak. That world where you would wait for a show, then maybe for the rerun and when television was the source of entertainment and news seems so strange now, even to someone who grew up with it. It’s hard to imagine how it looks like to someone who hasn’t even seen it.

 

 

While it a way better experience to do it as we do it today, where everything is available at all times and you can watch or listen to anything pretty much any time and on multiple devices, there was something interesting about classic television if we can call it that way.

Television, as it was until the boom of online streaming, was curated, and that was part of what made it cool. On the one hand, this had advantages, for example the fact that it was highly curated created a mystique around it and there was a lot of reasoning when it came to it, why it was the way it was. For example, nighttime films were at night for a reason: there was a connection between the life the viewer had and what was on television. There were cartoons in the morning during the weekend, sit-down interviews in the afternoon and epic series in the evening. There were special shows on special days and television seemed to be a mirror of life. Television was molded after what the viewers did. In a way, culture has taken its inspiration a lot from real life, but it often seems that after the late 2000s or so, it goes the other way around: life is taking its inspiration from culture. If we think about it, in the 1980s or 70s, culture makers would look at the streets, at what people did and listened to and shaped their products after what was going on. After the late 2000s, the trickle effect went the other way: culture dictates what is going and people reflect it.

With the expansion of the new technologies (tablets, smartphones, smart TVs), we are seeing some bizarre changes in the ways people consume and create culture. With the World Wide Web, what has happened is that everyone has become a creator and a curator. In the 21st century, people are curating their own lives. What this means is that you select what you want to read, see or listen to. You subscribe to webpages; you get content in your feeds and so on. While this is a good thing, it also has some perverse effects. For example, if someone subscribes to a certain set of ideas, they will only receive information and culture in front of their eyes that serve those ideas. It’s hard to make appreciations that concern value when it comes to these things. In a way, it’s good that you get to only consume content you like, but if you never look outside your bubble, you might miss a whole other world.

The second thing that has a strong connection to curating yourself is credibility. While credibility is strongly connected to cultural influence, it might not be as bad as you’d think. The argument many people make is that in the online world anyone with thousands of followers is a credible source. In other words, any lie said loudly, many times and to a million people can become truth. Which is dangerous, but so is lying in the mainstream media and let’s face it – classic television and print media has too often been a source of manipulation. A big problem that I see with cultural consumerism and the online world is that culturally it can have a bad impact. Who’s to tell what will push us forward and what will keep us back? If bad media products are pushed into everyone’s life then we’re going to go back really badly. And it’s a known fact that culture influences politics, so analyzing the culture of today definitely offers insight in the politics of tomorrow.

The third thing that curating your own life creates, which can be said is the most important is that the quality and taste factors drops significantly. If there are no arbitraries of taste, if “everything goes” as post-modernists would have you believe, real value can get lost quickly. For example, we can often see photos taken by various people that get so much exposure and that are considered of such high value, without actually having an artistic value. What makes them be so appreciated is that they were taken with a certain technology which offers something special, such as a high quality image. In this case, you are basically praising a shell with no content. And, if you only add shells with no content, you won’t have anything to feed off in the future. Figuratively speaking. Basically, if we keep promoting bad art or, better said, art that is not actually art, products with no content, soon many lives won’t have content. We need to make the clear distinction between information, art and technology, which seem to be extremely blurry today – we can even speak of an advent of “infoartainment”. And that would not be a big problem, in the end, art is meant to inform and to entertain, but more often than not, information these days is badly constructed to say the least, a lot of art is not art by any definition (except the anti-art definition given by post-modernism) and entertainment is not very entertaining, it can be said that it is mostly background noise. We seem to have lost the notion of doing something and doing it well.

In a world where the ratio of creators to consumers is pretty much 1:1, where everyone is a creator with pretenses, as well as a consumer – can you have a good discourse on quality?

This is why it can be argued that in order to survive, art should break from itself. We need to separate bad art from good art and to reinforce the strength of qualitative art – we need to make a difference between information and everyone having a voice and almost everyone being an artist. Museums should be real spaces of learning – learning that is, not entertainment; and truly valuable art should be seen as such. Having high standards is the only way to go if we wish to achieve great results as a world culture.

 

21 May

The Museum as a Learning Place

Art has always been a strong tool used to explore the human mind and spirit and the world and to teach others about the ways in which the mechanics of the human experience work.

 

 

Through painting, sculpture, music and other arts, people have made incursions in their own minds, in order to discover the inner elements of their spirits, but also to channel other people’s experiences and to learn from them. In many cases, art is a way of making the things we cannot capture take one form or another. Art, in its every form has also had the role to teach others, and sometimes even to manipulate, about the ways in which the world works, the way in which historical events happened and more. It has even been a tool to discuss divinity and the danger of leading a life with no virtue.

For these reasons, and others, art has always had an important role in society. It was revered and applauded. Bad art was criticized either to be improved or to be eliminated. Great art was celebrated and sometimes it was at the very center of the human existence.

Easily starting with the modernist movement, who noticed that there was a rupture between people and divinity and strongly with post-modernism, which mostly denied the existence of divinity, the depth of a work of art has been lost. Catering to the vision that life is pointless, senseless and why not worthless, the adepts of the post-modernist movement have transformed art into a propaganda of anti-life. Because they had the technical tools to spread easily and because everyone can and, why not, is an artist, these works have spread out and reshaped society so strongly, that art has morphed into a different entity. Of course, adepts and lovers of classic arts, who had a hard time in post-modernist times have continued to work on high art pieces, but the low art has taken the spotlight in the mainstream.

The learning aspect of art in post-modernism has been completely lost. It has been replaced by emotions, which are a stand-in for the teaching aspect, and, more often than not, those emotions are imposed, fake emotions. Take the extremely many examples of objects that have been misplaced in exhibitions or statues that broke before they were exhibited and the positive public and critical acclaim they received as deep works of art. Art has in many instances become entertainment.

To learn about something through art means to be able to extract abstract notions through concrete examples, expressed in a symbolic, yet interpretable manner, with creativity and style.

The fact that humans have created art even in the most hard of conditions is the anthropological proof that art is not a luxury in human life, but a necessity that, along with other elements of culture, accompanies the person as a GPS does when you are out for a drive in your car.

 

 

01 May

Composing Worlds with Nurit David

Nurit David is an Israeli artist whose body of work covers several decades. She has worked with various mediums and composed coherent worlds that are highly intriguing. While most of her works are not collages per se, they have a collage quality, where concepts and ideas, as well as different emotions meets. And this is where the strength of her works lie: Nurit David’s aesthetic is balancing contrasts between the inner worlds of people and their outside expression. Her paintings in particular are characterized by a harmonious tension, where items seem to lie and rely on each other, giving shape to something that is condensed and balanced.

 

Nurit David has authored many single-person exhibitions and has been part of many group exhibitions. She has won numerous awards, including the 2003 Minister of Culture and Education Prize for Art and Design.

Her works can be seen today throughout Israel and the world, including in the The Israel Museum of Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Discover our selection of her works below:

 

Building a Summer House II

 

Nurit David? No, I don’t remember

 

 

Sea for Girls

 

The Wheel

 

Monks Playing in a Garden

 

Gathering Dry Leaves

 

Websites:

nuritdavid.com
www.givonartgallery.com

22 Mar

Who is an Artist?

Throughout history, many philosophers, thinkers and artists have thought of what constitutes an artist. In every society, artists have held an important role, which has often not been recognized. They are the ones who give shape to the inner emotions and mechanisms of the human spirit and mind. Artists make the invisible, visible. They turn something that cannot be perceived with our senses and turn it into something we can all relate to. They turn something that would easily dissolve in time, such as an event and carve it in stone.

 

The Musee Brancusi in Paris, France. Photo from the Liev Vault

But what is the real nature of the artist? Today, as we all have the means or at least access to the means of creative artistic expression, we are all, in one way or another, creators of content. But is this content truly high art? Just because we all have a camera in our pockets and use it to point and shoot, does it mean we’re all artists? Probably not. That would be like saying that every person who plugs in their phone in an outlet is an electrician. Obviously, we are all attached to the things we make, that’s natural and it should be this way. Your private photos will probably have more meaning to you than any fine art photography you will see in a museum. And that’s where we need to make the difference.

True art is something that connects and unites, it’s something we all relate to and that tells a universal story in a sophisticated and subtle way.

Artists have a way of giving something we all do or could do, such as taking a photograph, painting or performing on state, an it-factor, which bridges the soul of the artist with the soul of the consumer and covers the world.

In a way, it’s what we call creativity that feeds our universal and inborn aesthetic need.

In ancient times, the artist was rather freed from his work, which helped him keep his mental state and detach from the high emotions that come with being behind a creative process. It was considered that sometimes, a daemon or spirit of creativity and inspiration would come and place the valuable process in the mind of the artist who would then translate it into a real project. It was only very late, in the 19th century that the concept of the tortured artist appeared, who made art for art’s sake. Once more people started to have access to creating art and art has been democratized, the quality of art has not only reduced, but it has also allowed anyone to be engaged in a creative process they can’t handle.

So then, who is a true artist? There is no one answer to this question. An artist is a master of his craft, he is one who sees things from a distance and can express them through particular cases and he can also be one who gives a high-resolution view of a low-resolution concept. In a way, an artist is the man who walked out of Plato’s cave.

 

In other words, an artist is someone who can convey a maximum of meaning with a minimum of means, as the saying goes, in a sophisticated and complex manner. And that’s not easy.

Artists should re-find their place in society as, in the words of Theodor Adorno, “the task of art today is to bring chaos into order.” Art is educational, we can learn from it and thus make our lives better.

One of the best definitions of art, and hence the artist, was probably given by Leo Tolstoy in his essay “What is Art?”, who said “Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and, above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.”

 

 

 

15 Mar

Going Places with Moyan Brenn

Traveling has always been a major theme in photography. May it be urban photography, landscape photography or portrait photography, the so-called “different” has always fascinated both amateur and professional photographers.

 

Taking travel photos is a quest of capturing not only a place that is different from your everyday surroundings, but also a state of mind, an impression.

Through his highly colorful photographs, Moyan Brenn is evoking that powerful impression the colors of a place leave you with: the sunlight is almost breaking through from the photographs and the depths of the nights unravel their mysteries in clear-cut details.

 

Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA

Old town clock during the 900th anniversary show, Prague, the Czech Republic

Tromso, north of Norway, a view of the famous Artic cathedral near the bridge of the town

Flock of sheep at sunrise during the airborne with their shepherd in the area of Goreme, area of Cappadocia, Turkey

Iceland, and the glacier lagoon of Jokulsarlon seen with the northern lights (aka aurora)..that in foreground is a piece of ice from the glacier

Copenhagen, Denmark, view of the harbour at sunset, on the deck side which takes you to the mermaid

Northern lights in Iceland seen from f-road 326 during my travel, close to Hekla volcano and Steinsholt guesthouse farm

Northern lights in Iceland seen from f-road 326, close to Hekla volcano and Steinsholt guesthouse farm

Earth, an example of whirlpool in the middle of the Bruarfoss waterfalls and river in west Iceland

Meditation, glorious morning in the forest of Campana in Nettuno, Italy

Kyoto (Japan), a typical japanese pagoda, the Yasaka pagoda, seen from a terrace in the district of Higashiyama

Dunnotar castle situated in the Aberdeenshire area of Scotland.

London red bus with a red phone box. In the background there is the St Paul cathedral situated in the very centre of London

Zaanse Schans, The Netherlands

Paris, France sunset panorama from top of Notre Dame cathedral…

Website:

Moyan Brenn, Italy

moyanBrenn.wordpress.com