LECTURES AND PANELS:
META AND POST POST: ON THE RETURN OF GRAND NARRATIVES
New Holland, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art lectures (August 2021)
Traditionally, science was interested in a fundamental and multi-perspective study of reality and philosophy in understanding the world as a whole, while art invented big form (such as the classical novel). In the second half of the twentieth century—after the defeat of fascism and the general disillusionment regarding the Soviet project, the idea of the “end of grand narratives” became popular. Science split into separate disciplines, philosophy dissolved into theories and studies, and art fell apart into separate heterogeneous individual practices that seemed impossible to summarise. At the same time, we witnessed a counter-trend—interdisciplinary syntheses, the search for universals, systemic descriptions, and all-encompassing narratives. In the 1960s, contemporary art produced the new meta genre of installation, followed by the super-art form of megalomaniac curatorial projects.
Today, it seems that grand narratives in art might be making a return with meta reflexive practices that tend to produce narratives on behalf of other phenomena and persons—imitating the speech of art historians, taking on the curating function, devising philosophical systems, and working with the quasi-scientific discourse. Artists write personal mythologies, fictitious histories, and quasi-museological studies. Andrey Shental will share his observations on the return of grand narratives to art, offer his explanation of their spread and a critique of relating practices, drawing on several works by Russian artists.
Curator: Ekaterina Lazareva
MUSEUM INVIGILATOR OR PERFORMER? ON CONFUSION BETWEEN ARTISTIC PRODUCTION AND NON-ARTISTIC LABOUR
Rosa's House of Culture, Gift and Labour in Art and Culture conference
(6 December 2019).
In his paper Andrey Shental, speaks about his experience as a gallery intern, when he was forced to do unpaid manual labour under the guise of being included into sacrosanct space of art institution.
Moderator: Roman Osminkin
FROM DISCOURSIVITY TO MATERIALITY: IS A NEW ONTOLOGY OF ART POSSIBLE?
NCCA, Theoretical Studies in Cultural Anthropology
Andrey Shental questions the possibility of new ontology of art, demand for which became apparent while poststructuralist paradigm has been exhausted. New ontology of art is oriented towards physical presence. Today artists are interested in penetrating into the depth of tangible objects, they investigate biochemical composition of artistic and non-artistic materials, process of (re)distribution of synthetic cells and technical liquids, neuro-chemical conditions of human perception, mediated by digital interfaces. In his paper author will try to answer the question: can we indeed speak of "material turn", demanding new research methodologies, or art still remains in the "post-conceptual condition"?
Curator: Keti Chuhkrov
HOSTING THE INHUMAN: SESSION IV
Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2017
In the framework of the 4th session of "Hosting the Inhuman" participants of the project discussed their works and artistic representation of the "inhuman". Participants: Egor Rogalev, Alexei Bogolepov, Andrey Shental, Valya Fetisov, 2017
RE-DIRECTING: EAST. Conversation # 1: Anna Ilchenko & Andrey Shental
CSW Zamek Ujazdowski / A-I-R Laboratory, Warsaw, 2013
The presentation will focus on the definitive changes that occurred in the early 90s such as the emergence of unrestrained market forces ("shock therapy"), development of a new institutional framework and educational system in the arts that attempted to include Russian artists in the global art network. In this context, there is a need to demarcate the difference between art of Yeltsin’s (1991-99) and Putin’s (1999-present) epochs and to question the notion of so-called "post-soviet condition" - a traumatic and long-lasting process of transition from communist state to the constitution of neoliberal society.
In 2011-2012 numerous protests against election fraud marked the end of post-soviet transition and emergence of new political consciousness. Supported by ‘creative class’, the protest movement stimulated a redefinition of the role of art within Russian society: art historians called to de-artify political protests; artists responded to the protest action in various ways; curators became "companions-in-arms" and "artivism" groups operated on the verge of art and politics. Therefore, Russian art community attempted to reconfigure cultural production, according to the current social and political situation.
A subsequent subject of the presentation will be complications of art education in Russia, describing the difference between Institute of Contemporary Art (neo-formalism) and the Rodchenko School (socio-political art). Simultaneously, the commercialisation and neoliberalisation of the academic system instigated creation of alternative modes of education (and politicisation) that emerged as a critique of this state of affairs.
Identification struggles, that became visible as part of the wider protest movement, since then have developed their own modes of operation and require a separate discussion. Young feminist artists and curators were heard due to media scandals and post-colonial art gained academic and institutional support, whereas the absence of adequate LGBT and queer studies was retroactively constructed through fictitious re-politicisation of certain artists of the 90s. This tendency would be articulated and questioned in its relation to a more general struggle for "social justice".
Yury Albert from Artistic-political Point of View
Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2013)
Participants: Oleg Aronson, Sasha Novozhenova, Dmitry Gutov and Andrey Shental. Moderator: Ekaterina Degot
By Agata Iordan on Post-Soviet Pop-Music, Aperto №3 [eng]
By Zlata Adashevkaya ("Philosophical Battles") on "New Cosmologies" project, Dialog Iskusstv, №3, 2017.
By Sergei Guskov on "Philosophical Club" for Winzavod 10 years catalogue
By Alisa Schneider on fungi for Syg.ma
By The Village, 2017
CHILD'S ROOM: ARTFIACTS AND PROTESTS
Svoboda Radio, 2017
Why young people miss the past, where did fashion for pop-culture of the 90s and where are the origins of the civil activism? Philosopher Boris Klyushnikov, historian Ilya Venyavkin, folklorist Olga Feldenberg and theorist Andrey Shental. The programme is moderated by Tamara Lyalenkova.
For the Record of Vladimir Medinsky: What Is Contemporary Art?", LookAtMe, a reply to the Russian Minister of Culture
"Why should we see something abstract-cubist, sloppy or a pile of bricks as contemporary art?" — during the first meeting of organisational committee of the Russian Year of Culture, that took place on the 9th of October, the minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky condemned artworks, that are not accessible for the most of the viewers and suggested to consider all pieces that are created in the current time to be contemporary art, including theatrical plays and films. We asked art critic Andrey Shental to answer important questions regarding contemporary art, that make not only Medinsky, but many other people wonder.