SUPERMAN - IGNORAMUS
Olga Kisseleva's solo show
September 5 - November 10, 2019
Olga Kisseleva is one of the key figures in international science art, a form of art whose prime medium is scientific know-how and cutting-edge technology. In her work, the artist turns to exact sciences such as the latest developments in biology and physics as well as political and social research. Working in close cooperation with the Sorbonne's research centers, Kisseleva's studio laboratory carries out experiments to back up her artistic hypothesis while never failing to reverently adhere to scientific methods used in relevant fields of knowledge.
The project on display at the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation is titled SUPERMAN - IGNORAMUS. The phrase was coined by the prominent futurist and philosopher and one of the pioneers of Russian cosmism, Nikolai Fyodorov. This was the title of one of his essays analyzing Friedrich Nietzsche's ideas. But the present exhibition is not about Nietzsche. Identifying oneself as a superman, reevaluating your own capabilities and significance is something people have been thinking about for centuries but, as of late, the issue has been taking on increasingly bizarre forms and alarming proportions. Humanity today consider themselves to be the omnipotent rulers of the world who are seemingly capable of regulating not only the processes developing within the human civilization (which in fact we still have not learnt to handle) but also those happening in the Earth's nature and even in space. This is exactly why the present-day man, heavily equipped with all sorts of smartphones, sensors, gauges and gadgets, feels like a kind of superman while still being an ignoramus as compared with the Supreme Intelligence as manifested in the nature, the space and philosophy.
In her work, Olga Kisseleva addresses themes that Fyodorov defined as Copernican architecture, phantom autonomy and ideographic script through experiments with perception of time and space, territorial dynamics, with outlining alternative forms of intellect by way of studying and restoring ancient futurist knowledge. The results of this research are presented at the exhibition in the form of several installations created in situ and materials documenting some of the large-scale projects the artist staged at various cultural and research institutions across the world.
The exhibition opens with a video installation, titled How Are You?, where various people answer the eponymous question at various locations around the world, including the gala opening of the Venice Biennale, a Buddhist monastery in Tibet and the Silicon Valley in California; and materials on the Post Oil Utopia performance, a multimedia project about global depletion of oil reserves and a possible model of a future world that can function without an indispensable dependence on a single type of natural resources.
The dynamics of space takes center stage in the installation Conquistadors Kisseleva made for the documenta exhibition in Kassel, Germany. Here, the artist scrutinizes the growth of major corporations that have been exerting their influence over increasingly more spheres of life and territories.
Phantom autonomy and doctoring images, or rather, information became central themes in Olga Kisseleva's works based on biointerfaces and neuroscience such as video installations Your Self Portrait and Imagemakers and the project held at the Bauhaus Archive - the interactive sculpture Custom Made.
It's Time is a video of the artist's installation at the Louvre, a clock showing the so-called objective time, that is, the actual state of the local community.
Also on display at the Foundation is a panoramic video of the performance Contre-Temps staged by the artist at the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art in July 2019. This performance was concerned with the ideographic script as the artist looked to capture the never-ending development of the cultural heritage of industrial production, which is seen as the modern-day means of connection with the immortality of natural materiality.
Digital tags is another paramount theme in Kisseleva's oeuvre. The installation CrossWorlds deals with the subject of political, economic and cultural truth, of censorship and propaganda. Tags lead the visitors through an uncharted labyrinth highlighting the importance of thinking about the information they contain, which emerges when a tag is read by a device. This theme was further developed and climaxed in the installation Vice Box, where Olga Kisseleva compiles a portrait of the present-day society, with all of its vices and flaws.
The exhibition also features the series Revisiting the Issue of Two Types of Intelligence, made by the artist as part of the Perfume Organ project for the Louis Vuitton Foundation. Created in close cooperation with psychologists, neurologists and olfactologists, this project explores the sensual and sensory world of perception of invisible substances. The artist is particularly interested in the media and materials of tomorrow such as olfactive instruments and electromagnetic and sound waves. Olga Kisseleva has managed to create a true maze of feelings and sensations with a few objects and their visual interpretations.
Just like in all of her earlier projects, Kisseleva acts both as an artist and a researcher at the exhibition hosted by the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation. Despite having a large proportion of science and technology in them, each of Kisseleva's artworks boasts sensual aesthetics while her artistic statements remain conceptual, which is quite a rare occurrence in technological and science art.
Olga Kisseleva graduated from Mukhina Saint Petersburg School of Art and Design. Studied at the University of California and Columbia University in the City of New York, where she focused on video art and multimedia; was awarded a PhD in video and digital arts. In 1998, was invited to lecture at the Sorbonne, where she has been holding the office of a professor and director of the International Institute of Art and Science since 2007. Is a member of the Sorbonne's Academic Council and the founder of the Art&Science Laboratory, as well as a visiting professor for the Art&Science program at ITMO University in Saint Petersburg. Olga Kisseleva's works have been shown at MusÐ “©e d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina SofÐ “a in Madrid, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Kiasma contemporary art museum in Helsinki, MOMA in New York City, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Russia's National Center for Contemporary Arts in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, the State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg, as well as multiple international exhibitions and biennales.