Shifting Perspectives: How Contemporary Art Challenges Our Sense of Space
Text: Inessa Garder 03/05/2023
Alena Tokareva. "Absurd Of the Present", 2022
As the boundaries of science and technology continue to expand, our understanding of the world around us is constantly evolving. And nowhere is this more evident than in the field of modern art.
Today's artists are pushing the boundaries of traditional art forms, exploring new mediums and techniques, and creating works that challenge our perceptions of time and space. At the same time, scientists are discovering that time and space may be constructs of the human mind, processed and projected by our brains rather than actually existing out there. This new perception is being championed by modern artists in parallel with science, giving rise to a new era of artistic exploration and creativity.
In this article, we'll delve deeper into this fascinating topic and explore how modern artists are altering our perception of space through their work.
In her series of experimental black and white digital collages titled "Absurd Of The Present", Alena Tokareva creates a sense of depth and unnatural, twisted movement by juxtaposing textures and hatches. The various grotesque and mysterious scenes she depicts challenge our perceptions of space and make the viewer lose their sense of vestibular equilibrium. The artist's ingenuity lies in combining textures and poses of people and animals in a way that creates a contradiction to our everyday experience and challenges our spatial status quo.
Vlada Myakonkina's paintings possess a unique quality of movement. In her work titled Rhythm 5, the viewer is presented with an elderly woman donning a black robe and white headscarf, depicted five times and arranged rhythmically in a raw. As the figures progress to the left and to the right from the central one, the dimensions of the woman's body appear to warp and shrink, creating a distorted effect that challenges the viewer's sense of perception. By questioning the boundaries of space, Myakonkina encourages the viewer to consider multiple possibilities and interpretations, ultimately leading to a deeper engagement with her work
Vlada Myakonkina. "Rythm 5", 2019
The abstract expressionist painter Sergei Vorobev's work "Geyser" invites the viewer into an alternative space that is solely defined by colour and sweeping brush gestures. With no reference to realistic forms, Vorobev's abstract work naturally breaks the boundaries of time and space, offering the viewer a unique opportunity to connect with their inner world on a deeper level. Vorobev's art appeals directly to the viewer's soul, bypassing the mind and the outer world. The minimalist colour palette and precise gestures in his paintings create a safe space where the viewer is free to venture into the yet unknown possibilities for the expression of consciousness.
Sergei Vorobev. "Geyser", 2021
Valeria Ocean uses the imagery of water as a natural agent to distort the perception of space and to reveal the unexplored realms of our world. As a seascape artist, she is drawn to the unique qualities of water, such as refraction, distortion and movement, which allow her to create intriguing visual effects on her canvases with the help of a few advanced oil painting techniques, such as glazes. In her painting "Evanescent Calm," the viewer is confronted with an image seemingly divided into two parts. The upper portion reflects the light of the sun and conceals what lies beneath the water's surface, while the lower portion of the painting is in shadow. The viewer is allowed to see through the surface and get lost in the rhythmic shadows of the waves, which direct the eye away from the surface of the canvas and into the depth of the viewer's feelings.
Valeria Ocean. "Evanescent Calm" 2023
Sunny Chengwei Geng. Lady E: The Remains, 2023
Visual artists can also create new spacial realities by inventing fictional characters and worlds, in a similar way to how authors create books. While this strategy is more common among writers, the series titled Jail Break and created by the painter Chengwei Geng stands out for its conceptual idea and execution. In Geng's imagined world, flowers represent the people killed by her protagonist, Circle, and vases serve as vessels for their souls. Affected by personal loss, Geng explores themes of mortality and the inevitability of endings through Circle's journey of releasing the souls. The use of dark grey and green tones contrasted with electric yellow, and the rapid, short brushstrokes, create a hauntingly eerie atmosphere that perfectly supports this concept. Through this project, Geng challenges viewers to confront the realities of life and death and to contemplate the ways we cope with loss.
Ebenezer Agboola captures photographs of real people from his native Nigerian culture, but he implements a creative technique that brings these characters to the realm of imagination. By removing the depth of space, Agboola makes the world and its people appear as if they were constructed by lines and hatches, similar to the style of a charcoal or pencil drawing. This sophisticated and detailed approach to portraiture allows the intricacies of Nigerian gowns, headdresses, and jewellery to intertwine beautifully with the creative method, resulting in an image that seems to exist outside of space and time. Agboola's technique blurs the lines between photography and drawing, creating an otherworldly effect that challenges the viewer's perception of reality. The resulting images are not just photographs, but rather, they are unique works of art that showcase Agboola's exceptional skill in combining traditional attributes of Nigerian culture with contemporary artistic methods of photography.
Ebenezer Agboola. "Calm State", 2023
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