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Technê: Contemporary Art in Dialogue with Science
Technê: Contemporary Art in Dialogue with Science
Moscow Museum of Modern Art display at the «Open Innovations» International Forum
Date: 31 October — 3 November 2012
Venue: Central Exhibition Complex «Expocentre» on Krasnaya Presnya

Curators: Andrey Egorov, Anna Arutyunyan

Artists: Marina Alexeeva, Elizaveta Berezovskaya, Blue Noses Group, BlueSoup Group, Philipp Dontsov, Vladislav Efimov and Aristarkh Chernyshev, Aladdin Garunov, Dmitry Gutov, Konstantin Khudyakov, Yuliya Merzlikina, Molitor & Kuzmin, Nikola Ovchinnikov, Vitaly Pushnitsky, Aidan Salakhova

One knows well that the term «progress» is hardly applicable to art. Cultural artefacts tend to resist the efforts of learned men to accommodate them into the rigid framework of a linear, purposeful development. That being said, the evolution of science and technology has always exerted direct influence on the universe of the artist — and vice versa. Throughout critical periods in the history of science artists were not, as we might think, passively utilizing and «reflecting» rational knowledge about the world and the human being, but were instead actively engaged in the very process of its accumulation and elaboration. We need only to mention the legendary inventor and architect Daedalus, the artist-scientist Leonardo da Vinci and the scientist-artist Galileo, the pleiad of Russian constructivists.

Science and art, two autonomous spheres of human activity in the modern world, share the same genealogy. Thus, in the word «technology» there is enrooted the Ancient Greek concept of «technê» (τέχνη), which has been employed in ancient philosophy to describe the inseparability of artistic, handicraft and theoretical modes of action. In other words, it denoted the dynamic combination of intellectual knowledge, practical skill and creative act.

Contemporary artists, not unlike their predecessors, enthusiastically embrace state-of-the-art materials and technologies, turning them into means of individual artistic expression — their own «new media». Today these media range from video and photography to digital technologies to various synthetic materials. They help in giving birth to tenacious, intriguing, sometimes bizarre images that persuasively respond to challenges and contradictions of today.

In the three halls of our display we exhibit the works of contemporary Russian artists from the collection of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. In one way or another all of these works feature technology as their content. And it is not by chance that the main expressive instrument, as well as the leading metaphor of the whole display, is light — streaming from the lamps, monitors and projectors, reflecting from surfaces and transfixing them — the light that can pull out from the gloom all that is interesting and curious, promising unexpected insights. For the works exhibited are the fruits of a free game of mind and imagination, which is the single immutable condition not only for the existence of art, but also of science.

 
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