27 November 2015 – 31 January 2016
curator: Viktor Misiano
co-curator: Daria Pyrkina
The exhibition's title, Elective Affinities, refers us to Johann Wolfgang Goethe's heritage. In his eponymous novel the emotional life of the characters appears to be part of natural processes. Social contradictions are explained by Natural philosophy and high passion – by the chemistry of the elements. It looks like these romantic ideas of the organic unity of the world are today undergoing a modern revival. Sometime ago, the modern age established a strict scientific image of the world, where all phenomena were rationally divided into different, almost mutually impenetrable categories. But today, in the era of late or of post-modernity these classifications and distinctions are being perceived as artificial and speculative, foreign to the essence of things. Consciousness is now aspiring to an almost impossible goal: to see the world as it is, beyond our representation of it. Hence, what we used to take as being owned by different categories, deprived of connection and incommensurable, occurs in a related and sometimes even identical way.

It seems that this new image of the world, which is being generated today in different fields of knowledge, has also manifested itself in art. Almost all participants of "Elective Affinities" began their career with an understanding of art as a holistic creative practice, which had no more distinctions in genres and types, as well as no delimitation of art from other forms of knowledge, including the direct experience of existence. Since art overcame the intention to classify itself internally and externally, it began conceiving the world differently. It experienced the similarity of the social and the organic, urban and natural dynamics (K. Holten, E. di Maggio). And again, just as the pre-scientific and pre-rational knowledge microcosm and macrocosm are reproducing in each other (C. Löhr, A. Menlibayeva, K. Holten), name and fact, idea and phenomenon, number and thing (A. Csörgő, V. Fishkin) appear to be indissoluble, the world is now ruled not by laws, but by rhythm and sound (A. Joly, A. Menlibayeva). Subjects and time are deprived of distinction in this image of the world: present recognizes itself in the past (K. Holten, A. Menlibayeva), and universality of substance oozes out of the individuality of private things (A. Menlibayeva, E. di Maggio). Thus, humanity finds itself in the material unity of the world, in the infinity of its manifestations.

By contributing to such a popular contemporary problem of human boundaries, this exhibition opens our inter-institutional and interdisciplinary project devoted to 'Human Condition'. It is therefore worth reminding ourselves here that Goethe's 'Elective Affinities' is a love story, a story about passions, about the inescapable search for another person and for a home. It is a novel where life fatally emerges as drama and at the same time is impossible without the pursuit of happiness.

Viktor Misiano
(show details)
Artists: Alexandre Joly (Switzerland), Christiane Löhr (Germany), Elizabeth di Maggio (Italy), Almagul Menlibaeva (Kazakhstan), Vadim Fishkin (Slovenia / Russia), Katie Holten (Ireland), Attila Csörgő (Hungary)
Recommended age: 0+
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