Geometric Paradise by Sergey Kiryuschenko

by Sergey Shabohin

Sergey Kiryuschenko‘s works have been gathering attention for well over four decades now while the artist himself has been adjusting the direction his practice takes every five to seven years. Although he sees himself as a painter, he, nonetheless, constantly keeps turning to other media such as sculpture and serigraphy, photography and video, land art and public art, neon art and textual works. Looking at the changes within his works from the perspective of the development of art across the world, it becomes clear that in his attempt to break the self-isolating pathos of Belarusian culture he managed to successfully appropriate and systematically examine some of the key approaches of the Western school of art. Thus, from expressionist-realist and post-cubist landscape

painting Kiryuschenko moved on to non-figurative painting, only to then return back to figurative art through the study of the Archaic, and then, once again, this time through the synthesis of land art and

conceptual art practices, to come back to geometric abstractionism. Nowdays, the artist synthesizes by repeating over and over again the paradigm of concrete art with theory of urbanism and the concepts of public art.

Despite this cyclical change of artistic strategies, Sergey Kiryuschenko almost always studies the common for his art theme: the relationship between real and abstract spaces. The category of space

is ever-present in his work, be it work with real landscape and architectural environment, metaphysical and mythological concepts, or be it immersion in textual experiments. And yet he is primarily interested in the problem of abstract art: after all, the end goal of his incessant returns to the real is to find new artistic approaches towards the understanding of the abstract.

Starting from 1963 Kiryuschenko studied in the art studio of Siarhiej Katkou. In 1972 he was admitted to the department of Interior Design of the Belarusian State Institute of Theatre and Arts. The Department of Painting declined his application, something he today remembers with

a sense of relief. He warmly recalls his teachers, Mironova Lenina Nikolaevna and Hadyka

Oleg Vladimirovich, who taught the basics of composition relying on the theory of change of styles in the history of art. And that time period, too, as the artist notes, was dynamic, each passing year bringing even more freedom: there were weekly trips to Vilnius, Moscow and Leningrad

(where in 1970 in a private apartment the very first exhibition of Sergey Kiryuschenko’s works took place), the shifting cultural principles, and the discovery of other, different art.

As many other Belarusian artists of that period, Kiryuschenko initially painted landscapes and still life, but his enthusiastic dedication to postimpressionist and modernist experiments gradually rid his art of all figurativism. Upon joining the Belarusian Union of Artists in 1983, he and his colleagues were awarded a studio where later the first prominent exhibition of their works would take place. With time it’s occupants came to be referred to as the Nemiga-17 group, after the name of the street

and the floor number the studio was situated at. Though the group’s membership constantly fluctuated, its members conducted a total of more than ten major exhibitions and only ceased their activity as late as 2003 with a final project in the Tretyakov Gallery. Over the years of the group’s existence, Sergey Kiryuschenko also conducted a series of largescale personal exhibitions in the Palace of Arts that serve as a perfect illustration of one author’s progress in his pictorial research.

Kiryuschenko admits that literary studies have had a greater impact on his artistic philosophy than art theory has. At the same time he also declares that reaching new artistic levels is something that

is accomplished through formalist painterly practice and not through pre-established ideas. One can sense a certain coyness in this claim, since all this time he has never stopped arguing against the abstractionist theory, often criticizing and ironizing it, especially when it comes to the turesque most orthodox (or so he says) of the abstractionist movements — that of concrete art. He does not try to follow the canons of abstract art, instead using its theory and know-how he seeks to create new conventions of abstract painting and discover its previously unknown potentials.

Studying Sergey Kiryuschenko’s oeuvre brings about the realization that he is not interested in the practices of dematerialization of art and always remains a staunch «formalist». And while all of the representational elements in 20th century painting have been systematically fought and rejected, a process which often resulted in a vacuum of sorts, Kiryuschenko, rather to the contrary, undertakes the process of contributing towards the experience of the avant-garde the very things that modernists

sought to deny it: unification of space, narrative, kitsch, colour and other elements. And if we tried to assign the artist’s practice to any one of the most recent tendencies in art, that is, to describe his work using already existing terminology, then the most fitting term we could find would be abstract mannerism. Despite the vagueness of this definition, Kiryuschenko’s proximity to abstract mannerists not only explains his choice of conceptual and aesthetic methods, but also admits him to the ranks of such contemporary artists as Frank Stella, Imi Knoebel, Peter Halley, Tomma Abts. Not only do they all work with form in a very distinct way, they also seek to develop a particular attitude towards abstractionism by saturating the style and synthesizing the theory of abstract painting with various phenomena of modern life: newest architecture, conceptual art, streams of information, new technologies, sociology, and even consumerism. On the one hand, mannerism in abstract art heralds

a decline of style and the impossibility of «grand gestures», but on the other hand it is also regarded as a purely «speculative period» in art, as it implies the synthesis of heterogeneous elements, spatial and optical play, irony and freedom that is, perhaps, even more productive than during the so-call «pure» periods of the development of style. Sergey Kiryuschenko can also be deemed a positivist of painting, that is, be considered as one of the artists who critique painting via its own means.

But then he has, once and again, transgressed the positivist postulates in the instances when the methods of painting become its content, inevitably returning to nature and the real.

Let us consider the example of the grid, one of the most common plastic elements of his painting. The artist has been working with this element, which has been introduced into the visual arts via the experience of the avant-garde, over the last fifteen years. According to Rosalind Krauss, for the avant-gardists, the grid — static and devoid of hierarchy, center or diversity — expresses silence, it is «impervious to language». Kiryushchenko has also came to the grid in 1999, through the real landscape in one hand, and through the bars of the Catholic confessional in other hand, sharing at a specific point of architectural space «the earthly world» and «the heavenly world». Initially he would superimpose it on top of other, pictorial layers. Later, in 2005, he would «accidently re-discover» the grid after having worked with village architecture and experimented with land art. His third encounter

with the grid will be in 2009 while working with urban exhibition space and architecture. He does not find the grid within art nor does he use it to imitate art, as the modernist have: he comes upon this element through assimilating the real by the means of art and in order to interact with the visible surrounding reality. And while the grids described by Rosalind Krauss are «impervious to language», Kiryuschenko’s grids can easily be influenced by linguistic intervention. If in abstractionism the

grid is a rejection of literature and originality, something which blocks literary interpretation of pictorial space and underscores the flatness of pictorial surfaces, in Kiryuschenko’s works it demonstrates the depth and optical destruction of the canvas and the pictorial surface, a rupture

that is both speculative and verbal.

At the beginning of the 1980s the artist Peter Halley theorized the nature of a contemporary movement in abstract art of the post-modern era using his own works as an example and arrived at the term neo-

Geo, short for neo-Geometric Conceptualism. In their works the representatives of the movement would recreate different schemes of the works, modernist abstraction within the context of late capitalism, laying bare the fictitiousness of its social space as well as the graphs and scientific

paradigms of contemporary society. Thus, Kiryuschenko’s geometric grids represent more than just the artist’s unconscious or desire to work with form, but rather in a fairly straightforward way remind the viewer of the physical urban space in Minsk and it’s social grid, networks and societal units, allowing us to significantly expand the interpretation of his works. It is difficult to evaluate an artist’s body of work by only looking at the individual paintings. It is better to introduce him through the series of works and exhibitions.

1986 / The First Exhibition of the Nemiga-17 Group

A group of young artists whose bid to showcase some of their works at the Union exhibition in the Palace of the Arts was unsuccessful decided to present them in their studio instead. The exhibition, the documentation of which was mostly lost, had an unexpected for the artists outcome

as it received acclaim among viewers, artistic intellectuals and representatives from the official circles alike.
It is perhaps due to the new and more liberal atmosphere in the society as well as the viewers’ desire for «other» art that within the shortest time the studio was being visited by interested masses. A year later the exhibition was presented in the Palace of Arts as co-authored by the Nemiga-17 group. Its members were Nikolai Bushchyk, Sergey Kiryuschenko, Anatoliy Kuznetsov, Algerd Maliszewski, Oleg Matievich, Aleksandr Metlitski, Tamara Sokolova, Leonid Khobotov. Some of the members

would later leave the group and be replaced by the newcomers Galina Gorovaya and Zoya Litvinova.

1994 / Exhibition «Space of the Blue»

This is the first large-scale exhibition of the artist’s works where his new approaches to painting become apparent. Working with expressionist techniques, Kiryuschenko started moving away from figurativism. Still later he felt the necessity to return to figurativism due to his engagement

with the Archaic (an idea that was popular among the members of the art scene at the time). According to Kiryuschenko himself, it is important to revisit the heritage and the techniques of the archaic period, to «return to zero», symbolically speaking, and at the time, the «return» indeed turned out to be highly fruitful for art. The exhibition «Space of the Blue» was created in collaboration with the sculptor Tamara Sokolova, who was also working  in this period with the «archaic» as expressed in her sculptures made of ceramic color saturated cobalt, of course it is not inherent in either Archaic or Cubism.

1996 / Exhibition «Escaping Land»

Soon after «Blue» followed another solo exhibition «Escaping Land». All of the rather large paintings presented at the exhibition were done in a record time of seven months under the influence of Kiryuschenko’s many years long stay at the Rzhavka village (Orlovskaya region). There the endless chernozem landscapes and the contrasts of green, black and yellow left an impression on him and he took it upon himself to recreate the perspective of a total landscape within the space of the Palace of

Arts. With those wide planes, colour effects and dynamics the exhibition became a document of the artist’s inaugural study of the interaction between real and abstract space.

2001 / Exhibition «The Temptation of Space»

Shortly before work on the exhibition started, the artist had a rush of creative ideas that would impact his future experiments. Understandably, they also influenced the preparation of the upcoming exhibition at the Palace of Arts, created, once again, in collaboration with Tamara Sokolova. Sergey Kiryuschenko continued his work with spatial categories, turning real landscape into an abstract surface. Between some of the figurative layers the artist for the first time uses the element of the grid (the work in question is «The Death of Bobo», 1999), which he, in evocation of modernist practices, superimposes over other surfaces. Rosalind Krauss writes: «Waves of abstract artists ‘discover’ the grid; part of its structure one could say is that in its revelatory character it is always a new, a unique discovery». For Sergey Kiryuschenko, the discovery of the grid will remain a key moment of his artistic development and even become his trademark.

2002–2005 / Spatial Meditations

The artist’s discovery of abstract painting has initiated a highly productive period of work exploring the possibilities of pictorial space within the abstractionist framework. Kiryuschenko himself refers to this period as «spatial meditations» (after one of the series developed during this time). Despite these years’ fruitful work, he refuses to participate in any exhibitions and fully concentrates on working in his studio. This time, according to the artist, is a perfect illustration of Donald Karshan’s saying that stepping away from the purity of Malevich’s square and discovering the higher dimension that lies beyond it is akin to finding gerometric paradise. Kiryuschenko was able to enter the Geometric Paradise whilst attempting to endow a pure, flat and geometric painting with spatial attributes: depth, aerial and lineal perspective and rhythm.

2006–2009 / Project «High Time to Get Down to Down to Earth Art»

Following his own already well-established tradition, the artist once again returns from the dialectics of abstractionism to the real. This return is manifested in the title of the resulting project: «High Time to Get Down to Down to Earth Art». This three year period best exemplifies the methodology of the artist’s work: He appeals to the real in order to overcome its figurativism with geometrization, utilizing the principles of metaphysics and conceptualism.

Sergey Kiryuschenko again returns to the countryside, where after the recent exercises in geometric abstractionism he is no longer drawn to the landscape but rather to the village architecture with its rhythms and «kabbalistic» numbers (the special marks left on the cabin logs that had served as instructions for its assembly). The artist started by covering the buildings in the village of Uroda, where he works in the summer, with abstract patterns and manifests (in English) and then proceeded to plough up the ground around the painted buildings in a labyrinth-like manner (both the process and the end result were documented on photo and video). As Olga Shparaga notes in her review of the exhibition, «the text is written in English, a language alien to the realities of the Belarusian village, thus underscoring the tension between the log house and the text it displays, and conjuring the idea of the complexity of the relationship between text and context». The photo documentation would later serve as the basis for a series of stylized silk-screen prints showing a gradual simplification of the original motifs until the latter are but abstract patterns. The picturesque polyptychs are thus eventually deprived of any recognizable figurativism and represent what can be best described as a naked skeleton consisting only of a few of their remaining graphic features: a space for text, a rhythm of energy flows, multidimensionality. This way the artist, as previously suggested, returns to abstractionism. Sergey Kiryuschenko himself posits the project as «a desire to oppose

death and decay with art».

2009–2012 / The Metabolism of Pictorial Space

The studio that was the setting of the first Nemiga-17 exhibition now

belongs to Sergey Kiryuschenko alone and it is located on the 17th floor. It’s window opens up to a panoramic view of the city with its network of streets and a range of architectural styles that seems to have impacted these latest series of the artist’s works,in which in which urban spirit and architecture are palpable. After the completion of the «High Time to Get Down to Down to Earth Art» project,

Kiryuschenko became interested in the grid, which has appeared in so many of his works. In her latest book Rosalind Krauss also writes about the grid: «The rules of cubist practice produced the grid, which pointed three ways at once: first to the flatness of the canvas the way grap hpaper creates a net everywhere taut and seamless; second to the edges of this flatness with each tessera miming the picture’s frame; third to the microfiber of the canvas, so as to «figure forth» the very tissue of the

canvas weave».

The grid which the artist repeatedly paints in this most recent period no longer has that multilayered structure which was characteristic of his previous works. Under its dynamic design we can no longer see other layers, just the local, homogenous background. Yet, the fragments of the endless grids, cut off by the frame of the painting, are positioned in the pictorial space at different angles to each other, breaking down the plane of the canvas and subjugating the exhibition space to other dimensional

properties. Creating analogous, purely pictorial volumes, the artist is trying to avoid the impression of personal presence, methodically endowing the canvases with a technogenic appearance. Still, the image is not printed on the canvas by any technological means, but painted. And the colour palette itself has changed from green-yellow-black of the «Escaping Land» project to the contemporary synthetic colours, the most popular of which are toxic lime, silver, black and white. Work with form

and the chosen technique allow the artist to achieve a degree of purity, to realize his ideas without diluting them and to create a vibrant image which itself is an object with a pointedly clean structure, clear composition and distinct colours.

In 2012 the large exhibition project «The Metabolism of the Pictorial space» presented the early stages of Kiryuschenko’s art (gallery «Ў») and the works of Belarusian artists which are somehow correlated with the artworks  of Sergey Kiryuschenko. Also there on the screen was a live broadcast  process of the wall-painting in the urban space (on the Oktyabrskaya str.). At the main exhibition space in the Republican Gallery of Union of Artists’ in addition to 20 paintings were presented two videos, a sculpture and a kinetic object.

2006 / Video «Portrait of a Curator» / in co-authorship with Slava

Inozemtsev, Aleksey Ivanov and Oleg Yushko.

In the end, it is important to note that Sergey Kiryuschenko’s influence and participation leave an impact upon contemporary Belarusian art. He never stops caring about the development and formation of Belarusian cultural politics. «Portrait of a Curator», a rare video work in his oeuvre, reflects the artist’s dismay at the petrified, comatose state of the contemporary Belarusian art.

Today Sergey Kiryuschenko is both an active participant and an outspoken critic of the current cultural landscape. By taking part in the creation of new artistic resources, events and institutions he also helps budding artists to become a part of the Belarusian art world. To overcome the current cultural situation, in 2014 he became the co-founder of the research platform for contemporary Belarusian art kalektar.org.

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Landscape-in-Transformation: from a real object

to the imagining of the visible and backwards

Olga Shparaga

The focus of this text is the new art project «High Time to Get Down to Down to Earth Art» by the Belarusian artist Sergey Kiryuschenko. Sergey Kiryuschenko started the implementation of his project in the summer of 2006 in the village of Uroda in Liepiel district. Such artists as Anatoly Kuznetsov, Anatoly Zhuravlev and Boris Ivanov also took part in the project with Anna Sokolova and Oleg Yushko producing photo and video reports. During the first stage of the project the group of artists painted dilapidating village buildings or sometimes their separate parts, registering these processes in photos and videos. During the next stage that is still going on, Sergey Kiryuschenko has been transforming these photographs into a series of serigraphy compositions and videos.The first exposition of finished project was in 2009 (gallery «Ў»). And in 2012  a part of the project was included in the solo exhibition «The Metabolism of Pictorial Space» in the  Republican Gallery of Union of Artists’.

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Can an artist transform a landscape? An artist in possession of tools and materials meant primarily for imaginary rather than actual experiments with the visible, to be exact? And if he or she can, what would such transformations mean for other landscape inhabitants and for the landscape itself, should we try to ascribe it with such subjectivity?

Such questions arise around the project by the Belarusian artist Sergey Kiryuschenko «High Time to Get Down to Down to Earth Art». It is quite apparent that this project further develops the ideas that started shaping the artist’s creative work in the 1990s, which he himself sees as work with «saturated colour and closed but dynamic surfaces».1 This period of his life is presented as a part of exhibition series «Space of the Blue» (1994), «Escaping Land» (1996) and «Temptation of Space» (2001) and oil paintings of compositions of forms and colours of varying size, ranging from small to very large ones. The author himself sees them as a way of «mastering and experiencing» neoplasticism and concrete art by Piet Mondrian, Max Bill, Josef Albers and American minimalist artists Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt.

If we try to address these three series relying on our own deliberations and Kiryuschenko’s texts as well as the texts produced by the interpreters of his works, we might be able to discover that one of their central semantic issues is the relationship between the dynamics of colour and form. More often than not, this dynamics will unfold in a non-linear fashion, which according to one of the critics, a young Belarusian artist Andrei Dureika, resembles a play on words rather than a descriptive combination of sentences.2 Furthermore, according to the creator of the series himself, this dynamics also expresses the relationship between the visible and the imaginary (the relationship which, one might note, somehow lies on the surface of the visible itself). Thus, for example, maps of subway lines or trolleybus routes are a reflection of «the expressive image of city life», a symbol «which has absorbed a lot of different meanings and connotations».3 Finally, this dynamics has a tendency to incessantly overcome its own spatial and temporal boundaries, which is enabled by the artist’s own reflective attitude that he seeks to relay onto the viewer. The «geometric paradise» that the artist tries to make tangible at the very borders of the visible should serve as a gateway to the adventure of the visible, an adventure every artist embarks on, and understanding the trajectory of which becomes every motivated viewer’s task.4 So what happens to the experience of vision described above in Sergey Kiryuschenko’s new project «High Time to Get Down to Down to Earth Art»?

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To start with, this project is formally more complex than the artist’s previous works and includes a whole range of new methods of artistic practice. Besides serigraphy we can name the elements of land art, the found object and media art. The initial objects of application of all these techniques are elements of a country landscape: dilapidated and rotten rural houses and buildings destined for demolition and/or their fragments. The artist himself says he works primarily with the log house constructions, whose linear history (from a living tree to its transformations and destruction as a part of a former residential home) is unfolded in a non-linear manner which unites within a single space the horizontal history of its natural life and the vertical, or perpendicular, history of civilization. The artist views the peculiarity of the relationship between these two histories as a problem and as a particularly Belarusian one: the vertical history in our context is not cluttered with memory and thus constantly strives for completion and exhaustion which the artist tries to capture. One of his key ideas deals with the fact that the real decay and disintegration can be experienced only within the human world, which has been created to resist this decay. In this context the artistic practice can be seen as a recording of the existing status quo — the destruction of a farmhouse as a space for living — and, simultaneously, as an attempt to combat it by assigning dilapidating house a new aesthetic functionality by using purely artistic means.

It is not accidental that the artist turned to these particular objects because in doing so he focuses our attention on the actual and total destruction of the entire infrastructure of rural collective life in Belarus as it slowly but inevitably gives way to nature; with his project he hopes to give it a new life or a rebirth. For these purposes the elements of the rural landscape elements undergo a number of transformations: from painting and recording on photo and video to transfering of the results through the use of serigraphy and video art into the area of free experiment with the visible, with form and colour. The use of these new technologies and techniques adds a new dimension and depth to Kiryuschenko’s work with abstract shapes and colours while at the same time allowing it to retain its significance.

Once more the artist wants to check whether «the moment when form as a carrier of the real becomes an art (form) will be able to see itself, and not in the mental activity but in a physical gesture». In other words, how can the abstract form presented via serigraphy turn out as the culmination of absolutely material practices of mastering and transforming the elements of a country landscape. If we try to re-create the artistic space of this project in its entirety (the way it should appear in front of the audience in the exhibition hall) it will appear in front of us as a linear maze of the log cabin construction made in silkscreen with two vertical triptych inserts. These works can be placed on the walls, with an abstract painting (a two-sided polyptych) in the centre of the room. The composition of the painting would be based on the formalized elements of a real log (stripes, numbers, and arrows) or, in the artist’s own words, «on the one hand, the reality that has become art in its purest form, on the other hand, behind its conventionality arises the image of information field. However, this information field can also be seen in the real log with notes for assembly [written on it]».  Here, in the centre of exhibiton hall you can see the monitor which is demonstrating the slide-show of artistic metamorphosis of the real logs.

Along with spatial organization that emphasizes the constructivist or even deconstructivist nature of the project (after all, we are offered a model for both the log’s disassembly and assembly), the colour concept can be seen as its second most significant component. The red acts as the constructing dominant besides the blue elements incorporated against the background of various achromatic colours, which offer a reading that implies not just the decomposition of the colour spectrum, but that of the reality itself.

As a result, although the relations between form and colour remain crucial for Sergey Kiryuschenko, in the new project they seem to discover their own live genesis: vertical red beams of the houses contrast with the blue of the sky (in the photographs), thus revealing the link between the

work of art and nature and, vice versa, establishing the nature as the most natural background for the artwork. Another relation, the one between the red beams and the blue tiles of the house, allows one to see the primary elements of the visible (life) and the invisible (destruction) and at the same time to take part in the creation and destruction (serigraphy),as it were. Surrounding triptychs on both sides of the log’s «trenches» — the red stripes on the grey background (serigraphy) — almost return us back to earth, which, however, in the artist’s interpretation is not only able to absorb (grey), but also to radiate life (red light), revealing the most powerful dynamics of the cycle of life and death.

Thus, Sergey Kiryuschenko’s new project demonstrates how new technologies, or «new media» that began their integration into art in the second half of the twentieth century, bring a new dimension into the works of art, allowing us to see what is usually left out of sight. That which ultimately moves a conceptual artist to experiment with artistic forms and means is not the given reality, but the reality in transformation, regardless of the fact whether it is recorded on film or has been subjected to the artist’s intervention. Both are unthinkable without the artistic vision which the news media and other reports in their claim to objectivity seek to avoid.

In this case, the project is, on the one hand, a continuation of the artist’s experiments with space, and with rural space in particular. On the other hand, it takes this experiment to a whole new level as it allows us to make a journey from the ordinary rural landscape into the resonant pictorial space on our own. Following the canons of concrete art, «which does not represent anything that is not itself»,5 this space does not depict or idolize something actually existing but rather in front of our very eyes, on its own, constructs the reality of the visible, involving us, the spectators, in it. «The project’s task is to remind us once more about the origin of any art, however conditional it may be. When the reality continues to shine through convention, their interaction gives rise to a new artistic effect».

In front of our eyes or together with us, the artist solves a double task, performs a double transformation. Having once been functional, the rural objects acquire a new, this time artistic function (that we see in the pictures), only to partially lose it again in the game of shape and colour, thus inviting the viewer into the artistic act. However, it is fundamental that this operation also has a reverse effect which is achieved via the simultaneous presence of all of the elements in the exhibition which can then be viewed in any order. In other words, having followed the artist on the journey through the labyrinths of imagination of space (serigraphy), we then can return to the point where the artist started from, into the real space (photographs of the urban or rural areas themselves), to view it from a brand new perspective and therefore to be able to transform it. This interpretation is echoed by the name of the name of the project: «High Time to Get Down to Down to Earth Art» suggests we quite literally get down to earth, that is, start with the land. But we do so whilst armedwith the tools of spatial imagination, so that «down to earth» also means we hover over the ground viewing it from various perspectives.

In other words, «a completely down to earth art» (or «land art») here fulfils the function of a paradox, communicating to us that only those who are able to hover over the ground can really get down to it. That is, someone whom landing does not deprive of the ability to rise up again, in this case, by imagining such a flight. We can assume that this is exactly how the landscape’s memory (of this very log cabin or of this area) is formed: through the alternation of vertical and horizontal histories mediated by the artwork and its tools; or through the process of decoding of one history into another — a process invented by the work of art and its tools, a process that is hardly possible without it or outside of it. (I suppose, the thesis arguing that every «long history» is made up of a number of shorter ones that, however, must find the means and ways to record themselves hardly needs any proof).

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Thus, the project «High Time to Get Down to Down to Earth Art» deals with something new to both Sergey Kiryuschenko’s oeuvre and to the artistic tradition it relates to. If, for example, Newman, whom the artist mentions, formulated his goal as «enabling to live the experience that went beyond any ordinary experience»,6 then, judging by the name of the project, the task Kiryuschenko sets for himself is its diametrically opposite. He aims to immerse himself into a totally ordinary mundane routine that is literally rooted in land. However, since the artist actually suggests not a simple recording but rather a multifaceted transformation of this experience, he discovers landing as a preparation for flight (over the roof of the house that has been by the painter or over the landscape as a whole), as in a game with visual signs and relations. Thus, without going beyond the ordinary experience, we can remodel it with new means so we can undergo this experience from a new, unexpected perspective and with a new and unexpected power. As a result, this familiar and therefore invisible landscape opens itself up to our vision. It even activates and provokes our vision as such, not just enabling us to see differently but to learn to see at all.

Returning to the questions formulated at the beginning of the text where we asked ourselves to what extent can an artist transform a landscape and what will such transformation mean for the landscape itself, we can try to answer them in the following way. Nowadays, the artist transforms the landscape to the extent to which or she is able to involve any of us into this transformation, demonstrating the force of transformation inherent both to the landscape and to ourselves. The origin of these powers lies in our sensual presence in the world, and, being armed with artistic means and contemporary media, this presence can discover its own real and imaginary becoming and transformation, both for itself and others. Today, to become an artist of one’s own life means no more and no less than to discover the transformation of one’s own landscape and make it available to others; to feel the elasticity of its ground; that is, to be ready to freely leap into the sky.

    1. С. Кирющенко. Пространство медитации. 20.12.2005 (манускрипт) (S. Kiryuschenko. Space Meditations. 20 December, 2005 (manuscript).
    1. Дурейко А. Предисловие к каталогу // Кирющенко С. Бегущая земля. Мн.: Республиканская художественная галерея белорусского союза художников, 1996. (A. Dureiko Foreword to the catalogue in Kiryuschenko. Escaping Land. Minsk: National Art Gallery of the Belarusian Union of Artists, 1996).
    1. Немига-17 (Бущик / Горовая / Литвинова / Кирющенко / Кузнецов / Соколова / Хоботов). Издание к выставке в Государственной Третьяковской галерее в ноябре–декабре 2002. С. 72. (Nemiga-17 (Bushchyk / Gorovaya / Litvinova / Kiryuschenko / Kuznetsov / Sokolova / Khobotov). Edition of the exhibition at the State Tretyakov Gallery in November–December 2002). P. 72.
    1. Compare with S. Kiryuschenko Op.
    1. Имдаль М. Опыт другого видения (Искусство десяти веков глазами современности). Киев, 2005. С. 429. (Imdahl М. Other Vision Experience (Ten centuries of art through the eyes of a contemporary). Kiev, 2005). P. 429.
  1. Ibid. P. 397.

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Sergey Kiryuschenko’s Metabolism of Pictorial Space

An Attempt at Art Historic Localization

The belief that every (great) artist is obliged to invent if not a language of his or her own then at least their own vocabulary and not just to master the already existing languages is deeply ingrained into the twentieth century’s understanding of art. However, a century later this belief is gradually becoming obsolete. Following his own «do as you must» while also staying exceptionally sensitive to the essential aspirations of his time, the great artist Sergey Kiryuschenko has never strived towards novelty in this generally speaking rather primitive and not at all universal sense. In his works (we can only guess what an angry listener of his lectures would say about them) he has accumulated several art trends of the twentieth century, turning them into an instrument of articulation of his own absolutely consistent and easily recognizable artistic will.

A monochrome local surface, which testifies to an exceptional discipline in the application of paint and a three-dimensional grid, constructed in accordance with the laws of perspective, creating an illusion of space — with the exception of a few recent works,1 all Sergey Kiryuschenko’s paintings created in the years 2009-2013 and united into a series entitled «Structure» are built upon the combination of these two elements. Here, the word «combination» is understood quite literally: the artist does not paint giant canvases but rather (hardly with a mere purpose of transportation convenience in mind) constructs them from individual components painted on separate canvases.

In a «chemically bound» form these two elements — the pure monochrome surface and the three-dimensional grid — already were present in the artist’s paintings from around the turn of the century, but it is only towards the end of the following decade that they gained in independence and self-worth. Thus, the artist’s new works became an embodiment of the ultimate formal reduction, which — an experience well-known in the 20th century art — in no way limited his creative freedom but rather came to be its prerequisite. And so, as if testing the strength of the newly invented syntactic rule, he managed to produce an entire variety of artistic solutions.

Thus, in the painting «Structures-3» (2009, 200Å~520 cm)Ç a vertical pink stripe located on the left and slightly off the golden mean separates the two grids painted on a grey background, creating an illusion of a concave corner. In contrast, in the picture «Structures-2» (2010, 200Å~480 cm) a narrow black stripe located on the left separates two yellow grids and together they «make up» a convex corner3. In the diptych «Striving to Black» (2010, 180Å~187, 180Å~187 cm) the grids are located in the centre and are framed at the edges by two identical planes. Finally, in the painting «The Structure» (2011, 220Å~535 cm) the grids form a perforating perspective system and are intersected by dotted vertical red planes placed in parallel and at equal distances from each other; in this environment, however, they are perceived as if they were positioned at an angle. Based on the definitions given by the artist we could name concrete art as the original source of the artistic concept realized in the «Structure» series.

The history of the concept that underlies this phenomenon dates back to the eponymous manifesto «The Basis of Concrete Art», which in 1930 was written by the Dutch painter Theo van Doesburg (1883–1931) and other members of Art Concret group, founded in the same year. The artists who belonged to the group produced only nonfigurative art. Meanwhile, challenging the already established tradition of the word use, they called their works «concrete» (as opposed to abstract) since their elements, and, respectively, the whole paintings «did not abstract natural phenomena» and had no significance other than «themselves», while at the same time also representing a kind of «spiritual diagram», as the full version of the first thesis of the manifesto makes clear: «We speak of concrete and not abstract paintingbecause nothing is more concrete, more real than a line, a colour, a surface. A woman, Mea tree, a cow; are these concrete elements in a painting? No. A woman, a tree and a cow are concrete only in nature; in painting they are abstract, illusionistic, vague and speculative. However, a plane is a plane, a line is a line and no more or no less than that».

At the same time Art Concret artists insisted that pictures should be constructed «entirely from purely plastic elements»,5) that is planes and colour. Thus, the evocation of the feeling of space by the means of colour was the only form of spatial illusion they allowed for in their consequentially anti-illusionist art. (This is shown in the extended wording of the fourth thesis of the manifesto: «The construction which relates to the surface of the picture or space created by colour, should be simple and visually controllable».6) Several elements of the above-mentioned works by Sergey Kiryuschenko can be connected with concrete art as theorized by Theo van Doesburg or Max Bill, namely his treatment of geometric forms easily defined as such (here: the grid); the simplicity and lucidity (availability for rational perception and visual inspection) of the rules of their location on canvas; and, finally, the emphasized anonymity of painting, which does not allow for «any trace of human weakness: no trembling, no inaccuracy, no indecisiveness».7 (Another version of the manifesto, which can be freely used to describe the Belarusian painter’s works, insists that the technique «should be mechanical, that is, precise and anti-impressionistic ».8)

However, Kiryuschenko’s painting can be seen as a turning point in the history of concrete art. According to his own words, he is interested in the phenomenon of the birth of figurativism at the limits of non-figurative art (cf. «Complete abstraction, with space being conceivable but not visible, started being projected on the objective world»9) as well as in the phenomenon of the birth of space at the limits of pictorial surface: it is not a coincidence that one of the possible titles of his exhibition was «Limits of the Visible». Most fully the processes mentioned above were implemented in the project «High Time to Come Down to Down to Earth Art» (2006–2009), where a textual work performed on the walls of a wooden shed is one of the media channels used, along with the models of iconic buildings in Minsk which were presented at the exhibition «Metabolism of Pictorial Space» under the title «Channelings» and transformed through the use of Kiryuschenko’s typical grating. (For the artist it seems to be a sign as immediately identifiable as, for example, Josef Albers’ squares or Daniel Buren’s strips.)

At the same time the phenomenon of the birth of an object on the verge of abstract art is demonstrated by the artist’s actual paintings which he himself connects with various items such as cells of living organisms, a divider of a Catholic confessional, the Tabernacle of the Covenant separated by a veil, and so forth. Here we might quote the unpublished notes of the artist’s own explanation: «Mastering space, a person defines it as own–foreign (as someone else’s space which becomes his own). It is a space of foreign thought which one cannot enter. A private space where others are unwelcome.

[…] Finally, the space of the Old and New Testaments. The Tabernacle represents this opposition. It is divided into two parts by a veil. One of the parts is entered by a high priest carrying gifts, the other remains inaccessible; one is only allowed to enter it once a year. This veil in the Tabernacle of Moses represents the present, which hides the perspective of the eternal, miraculous, unseen and purely speculative Golden City, a sanctuary, devoid of form, a personal heaven. And only geometry is able to generate the visible sign of this Golden City. […] The element of the veil of the Tabernacle, of this obstacle, this separation of space imagined and real is a geometric grid: a spatial element which, being repeated and multiplied to infinity, is a symbol of the division of space into the heavenly and the ordinary».

«Geometric grid as a symbol of division of space into the heavenly and the ordinary» is a definition which can easily be interpreted in the sense that the artist’s work marks a radical break with the tradition of concrete art. After all, it clearly contradicts the intentions of concrete art ideologists who insist on the need to avoid «lyricism, drama, symbolism, etc».10 Meanwhile, upon testing, this contradiction reveals itself to be an imaginary one. Because even the viewer who associates the geometric shapes of Kiryuschenko’s works with certain objects (cells of living organisms, a divider of a Catholic confessional, the veil of the Tabernacle, the horizon, a skyscraper, glazed tiles, prison bars, and so on) still, at the same time and above all, perceives them for what they are, that is, geometric forms. In other words, the signifier is not dissolved in the signified, as it was the case with traditional painting, but co-exists with it.

This fact indicates that the works of the Belarusian artist are a model for further productive development of the concrete art experiment, and not just an example of its complete denial, or — as critics like to note — it’s productive misunderstanding. Similar things can be said about the space that is rediscovered in the works of the «Metabolism of Pictorial Space» series. In contrast to the paintings of Theo van Doesburg or those of Max Bill, a spatial illusion here is created not through the use of colours, which reveal the inherent to them spatial energy thanks to the special conditions of their presentation, but through the traditional means of straight, linear perspective.

(To be more exact, here one can see the surface sign of topicality of Kiryuschenko’s new works — the artist uses a version of linear perspective which is commonly applied in 3D constructions). Meanwhile, he cites the laws of linear perspective only in separate elements of his paintings: those interleaved by planes, resulting in their co-presence in the perception of the whole (the significance of this phenomenon could become a subject of an entire study of its own) the same way the geometric forms co-exist with the perception of objects they might be associated with.

Thus, here the linear perspective does not level the plane but rather sets it off and problematizes it. It should also be noted that the use of laws of linear perspective in Sergey Kiryuschenko’s new works demonstrates a very remarkable feature: the artists usually places the vanishing point of the perspective lines not on the canvas but far beyond its edge. As a result, his vast paintings are perceived as fragments of a whole which significantly surpasses them in size. This, in turn, balances out, converts and somehow extends the space in which they are viewed, as the latter also begins to be seen as a fragment of a whole going far beyond its actual limits. (The use of the word «metabolism» in the series’ title actually points to this ability of the paintings to transform the surrounding space: in Greek this term is usually used to refer to a number of chemical reactions that occur in living organisms and is literally translated as «transformation» or «change».)

Another prototype of the artistic concept implemented by Sergey Kiryuschenko in the «Structure» series in a variety of ways are paintings by the American artist Barnett Newman (1905–1970). Kiryuschenko explicitly pointed to this link by naming one of the paintings «Who’s Afraid of Grey», a paraphrase of the title of the famous Newman series «Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue». (The series consists of four paintings done between 1966 and 1970). Meanwhile, other paintings from «Meatabolism» also show the link to Newman, and what is at stake here are not only the analogies between the two artists’ formal vocabulary (Newman also painted giant canvases with monochromatic planes and stripes that acted as their indispensable components), but also the parallels observed at the level of aesthetic principle.

Similar to the large group of the late twentieth century American artists, on whose behalf he sometimes spoke, Newman formed his own critical concept that would differentiate his art from European painting and, to be more exact, from the Greek ideal of beauty, which, in his opinion, over the course of the centuries remained «a terrifying ghost of European art and its aesthetically-centred philosophy». Thus, Newman considered the «sublime» to be the ultimate purpose of art, with his own art dealing with «the reality of transcendental experience».11) This is how his intention was interpreted by the German art historian Max Imdahl: he argued that Newman’s goal was to «make it possible to experience the experience that goes beyond any ordinary experience».12) The artist also described his art as that of «providing freedom», «denying the dogmatic principle» and «any dogmatic life at all».13)

Judging by the paintings which implemented these intentions, the socalled «customary practices» beyond which Newman wanted to bring his audience referred to the long-cultivated experience of a distanced relationship to the artwork as a whole, rationally comprehensible, and therefore easily «mastered» object— a correlative to a widespread attitude towards the Other and the world (in the philosophical language it is called the subject-object dichotomy), which consequentially affects subjects themselves, ultimately leading to their alienation and objectification.

Seeking to transcend this widespread setup (which found its paradigmatic implementation in direct linear perspective, among other things), Newman used several strategies simultaneously. First, he categorically insisted his paintings be viewed from a close distance which in itself would not allow for them to be perceived as a whole. Secondly, he abandoned the composition as a «form of harmonization of the opposites», that is, the phenomenon which is a powerful facilitator of the simultaneous visibility of a canvas: in his works the artist did not combine stripes of various directions and generally did not connect the horizontal to the vertical.

Finally, Newman preferred arrangements of stripes on a canvas that were haphazard and not defined by any logical numerical relationship and made use of the mechanism of the problematized citation of easel painting the composition norm. The latter was capable of drawing the viewer into a fundamentally endless process of searching for a (central) location from which the painting would open up to him or her as a kind of rationally structured harmonious whole.14) Thereby, the perception of Newman’s works, which deliberately refuse their unequivocal and final rationalization, provides the viewer with an experience of problematisation of his or her conventional subject-object attitude towards a piece of art and the world, and exactly in this sense constitutes «the experience of freedom».

Such typically Newman-esque principles Sergey Kiryuschenko cited, almost literally, in his painting «Structure-1» (2009, 200Å~532 cm), which marked the beginning of his «Metabolism of Pictorial Space» series. The entire field of the painting is occupied by a wall-like yellow plane, which is completely haphazardly intersected by black and grey stripes of different width with the asymmetric grating on them organised with different perception perspectives in mind. (Comparing them to Newman’s conception it is particularly important to note that the system of perspectives in these and many other grating structures in Sergey Kiryuschenko‘s work focuses on the point of view of the observer located in ultimate proximity to the canvas. This proximity, once requested by Newman, almost seems to be prescribed to the observer by the painting itself). In his later works the artist turned away from such a detailed, intentionally disproportionate placement of elements. Nevertheless, in relation to these works one also can speak of their impossibility to be fully rationalized by the viewer, which the artist, however, achieves through different strategies. First of all, the majority of these paintings are centred on different points of view of the observer which all seem to be competing with each other. (In relation to the painting «Structures» this phenomenon was very accurately described by Olga Shparaga, who pointed out that the space in this painting «immediately presents itself as seen from several perspectives: the identical columns need to be viewed from the front, whereas the lattice space between them prompts the viewer to move to the left — the only perspective that can somehow justify the distortion of space between the columns»). Secondly, the artist uses an optical irritation effect which, however, is disclosed only to those viewers who, not being happy enough with a superficial acquaintance with the artist’s paintings, stop to give them a closer look. A few minutes later, after a careful examination, they will discover that the units of lattice structures, which seemed concave a moment ago, suddenly appear convex and vice versa. This introduces an element of dynamics and irrationality into the static painting15) (caught between clearly drawn energetic lines, the microstructure of Sergey Kiryuschenko’s paintings thus demonstrates exceptional internal mobility — another aspect of the same spatial metabolism the interest in which is stressed by the artist in the title of these works). Thus, the painter problematizes and thereby brings to the audience’s mind the same desire for rational domination over the painting (thematised by Newman, too) that is made possible due to the fragmented use of the principles of linear perspective in his paintings.

The aforementioned work «Who’s Afraid of Grey», one of the more Newman-esque paintings from the «Structures» series, was done by Sergey Kiryuschenko under the influence of the Newman series «Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue». From Max Imdahl’s description of the work we read the following: «Anyone who approaches the picture «Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue, III» gets stunned by the dominant continuum of red as the value of completeness, expansion, energy and fundamental indifference towards everything limited, towards shape and certainty, be it a plane or a spatial depth».16 According to Imdahl’s interpretation, this phenomenon of the colour red is created due to the presence of blue and yellow stripes of unequal width which frame the red plane on the left and on the right as the very presence of these stripes «deprives the viewer of the possibility to identify the dimensions of the red field with the dimensions of the painting».17 As a result, the colour, undetermined by the actual dimensions of the painting’s actual space, is seen as unconditional, …«that is, free both from the picture as a material substrate, and as a limited form. […] It is due to the fact that the red continuum does not coincide with the picture’s continuum, the colour does not seem to be a simple covering layer, coating or colourful confirmation of its field, but acts […] as a self-created phenomenon on its own: as stripes free the continuum of the red from the painting’s continuum, the latter is transformed into the released red continuum».

Thus, due to the unequal width of the framing stripes, the continuum of the red (the extreme maximum related to the extreme minimum of the framing device) is transformed into an amorphous phenomenon that seems to be «flooding» the space of the viewer. In Sergey Kiryuschenko‘s painting something similar happens to a giant grey background. Like in Newman’s pictures, this definitely dominating field is framed on both sides with narrow stripes. (Here, however, we find symmetric, equally wide (red) stripes with golden yellow grates painted on them). Meanwhile, the mere presence of these framing stripes, which seem to separate the grey field from that of the painting’s, thereby allowing it to acquire a value of its own, contributes to the expansion of the grey plane into the viewer’s space as well as the perspectival reduction of the framing grids, which seems to be «pushing» the central plane far ahead. Thus, the geometric organization of these grates — a symbol of space division into the heavenly and the mundane — here becomes a symbol of space division into the free and the authoritarian: depressing and oppressive, but inevitably doomed.

As we can see, this work by Sergey Kiryuschenko does not simply borrow the impulse coming from Barnett Newman’s paintings (by far, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century), but also, having adapted to the conditions of another place and time, reformulates it, thereby joining Newman in a kind of dialogue of equals.

    1. These last works of 2012, the structure of which is different from the one just described, were painted after this text was more or less ready, which is why they will not be addressed here.
    1. With the exception of the installation which gave the name to the series, all of its works received their titles dating back. Initially the artist only gave them specific numbers.
    1. As in the previous work, the horizontal «wings» of the grid the artist highlights in white.
    1. Theo van Doesburg et al. «Die Grundlage der konkreten Malerei» and «Kommentare zur Grundlage der konkreten Malerei» in: Kunsttheorie im 20. Jahrhundert. Künstlerschriften, Kunstkritik, Kunstphilosophie, Manifeste, Statements, Interviews. Vol.1, German 1998. P. 442. Here and further: translations by the author.
    1. Ibid. P. 441.
    1. Ibid. P. 441.
    1. Ibid. P. 442.
    1. Ibid. P. 441.
    1. Here I quote the artist’s oral account.
    1. Theo van Doesburg, ibid. P. 442.
    1. Quoted after Max Imdahl «Barnett Newman. Who’s Afraidof Red, Yellow and Blue, III» in M. Imdahl, The Experience of Different Vision. Essays on Art of the X-XX Centuries. Trans. A. Vaysband, Kiev 2011. P. 350-351.
    1. Ibid. P. 355.
    1. Ibid. P. 355.
    1. More about this system: Alla Vaysband, Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman and the possibility of seeing vision, Koinonia, Kharkov 2011.
    1. Here the works from the «Metabolism» series reveal another fundamental difference from concrete art, which according to the manifest cited above was characterised as «striving towards absolute clarity» Theo van Doesburg et al. «Die Grundlage der konkreten Maleriei». P. 442.
    1. Imdahl «Barnett Newman». P. 358.
    1. Ibid.
  1. Ibid.

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Sergey Kiryuschenko
“To Instil New Tastes”.
by Alexey Tolstov 

A famous artist, the author of the idea of ​​ a “genuine museum of contemporary art in Belarus” and one of the initiators of the collective archival project “Zbor” — it is obvious that Sergey Kiryushchenko is not an author who manifests himself exclusively in the studio. His criticisms of the situation in contemporary art are widely known in the artistic community.

For those who are mainly familiar with the recent work of the artist related to the visual structure of the grid, this exhibition may seem unexpected. The author does not deny that there’s some logical inconsistency in his creative way, and draws attention to the important opportunity for the artist to sometimes “step aside, do something else”. According to Sergey, the modern artist is obliged to constantly change not only the medium in which he works, but also the method and «the angle of view, from which he looks at the world.»

The impetus for the creation of this project was, on the one hand, the space of a former dining room, and on the other, the Soviet book “Cookery”, published in 1955, the most respectable of the books in this series published after the end of World War II in the USSR. The book, which at that time had an absolutely sacred significance for Soviet housewives, was also an unattainable ideal in a real, rather poor and very monotonous, and at times even scary and tragic, life. The exhibition is named after one of the articles, the author of which in every way encourages food industry workers to instil new tastes into Soviet citizens. The pathos-inspired tone of the text is strangely interpreted in the project.

The former Soviet canteen, where the visitor had the opportunity to see the wonderful dishes from a book, has now been turned into a space for cultural events. The exhibition, which is obviously based on the church interior design, the voluminous cookbook itself, which has a sacred meaning, the author, who constantly emphasizes the need for change, the canvases that bear the tinge of tragedy — all this adds up to one big allegory.

Based on the article and the specificity of the space, Kiryuschenko creates a strong statement about the current situation in culture. He references the Soviet tradition, its images, and with the help of them speaks of the fancy-decorative Belarusian modernity. The quoting of previously written texts and the use of a special language are part of the performativity of the Soviet system, studied by the historian Alexei Yurchak in his work “It was forever, until it was over”. Such performativity can be seen in the approach that the artist Kiryuschenko chooses.

He transforms external sarcasm into the full horror of the perspective of a religious cult, in which an ossified system based on taste and a past cultural model are represented by blind service to an empty canon. “Cookery” acquires the features of the Scripture and is placed on the lectern, to which the solemn red path leads. On either side of it, still lifes containing signs of iconicity refer to a certain sacredness of images.

Kiryuschenko draws attention to the “profanity layer” consciously used here, the reference — according to the author — to “a reality that has little to do with spirituality and metaphysics.” The artist emphasizes this external, performative, with which the official sector follows the bookish precepts of old articles. The whole project postulates the problem of the new, as it is, the problem of education, as it is, in the circumstances of tight control and lack of education and knowledge.

The main visual component of the exhibition is a series of 14 small (75×120) still lifes, fortified on tables, and a triptych 3×4.5 meters in size, which is located at the far end of the hall, created on the basis of book illustrations. Performed in pink, red and black colors, the works outgrow the culinary service specifics and become independent artistic statements.

Elements of the style of “painting the color field” — pink — is in contrasting interaction with expressively written fragments based on photographic images. The pink fields take on the meaning of an endless grid in which images of carcasses, meat, fish, etc., which are allegedly erupted from it, are mounted. That is, the world is structured in a more complex way.

Kiryuschenko shows the flesh unnaturally, but this work does not lose its bloody brutality. Placed in the exhibition in a strict order, they form a kind of gallery of violence and death. In some places on the pictures one can see the knife and hands of a butcher, which the author himself compares with the hands of God. This comparison certainly adds another semantic layer to the general statement. For those who belong to Orthodox religion, earthly life is a vale of suffering, therefore it is symbolic that the exhibition opens at the beginning of Advent. This creates another contradiction, strengthens the statement, puts the site-specific project in the specific circumstances of the church calendar.

This work with specific conditions and materials, their rethinking, allows us to reflect on the possibilities of interpretation and the construction of certain semantic structures. Sergey Kiryuschenko attacks the system with deliberately speculative rhetoric, adopted from the system itself, and  the exhibition very clearly reflects this.

“To instil new tastes” is, of course, a manifesto, a detailed criticism of the current situation in the contemporary art of Belarus. The project presents the criticism addressed to the entire apparatus of official culture, whose workers are guided solely by their own tastes, but not by knowledge, logic and responsibility to culture. Taste — the concept of mundane, which is not applicable to the understanding of cultural processes. Based on this, it seems logical that government regulations seek to keep the level of social engagement in contemporary art at a safe level, under the control of specialized institutions with so-called qualified personnel, avoiding responsibility to explain their decisions with any theoretical basis.

Together with the criticism described above, this exhibition, of course, raises a more general theme. The author also speaks about something more, about humanity, which is not possible under the conditions of a profane bloody cult, as well as honesty and consistency, which not many people today are capable of.