Artist Dmitry Kawarga - Biomorphic radical.
Was born in Moscow.
Has a profile art education.
Has started to be exposed since 1988.
Kawarga began his career as a painter. The flat surfaces gained more and more pronounced facture, and became ever more monumental; forms started to emerge in the manner of reliefs, and finally turned into sculptures. What the Moscow-based artist does is called Science Art, because in addition to the monumental sculptures and elaborate reliefs, he also produces kinetic and interactive installations, complete with film and audio. His work synthesises science, art and technology, and he often involves engineers and programmers in the creative process. His style has been variously described as "biomorphism" or "biogenic art," while his insistence on the end of anthropocentrism has caused others to call him a practitioner of "post-human" art.
The winner of a competition "Monument", The project of the monuments to the first president of Russia Boris Yeltsin in Art4.ru, 2007
Ars Electronica Honorary Mentions, (Interactive Art) 2013
Laureate of The Sergey Kuryokhin Contemporary Art Award (Best public Art), 2016
Lives and works in Moscow area.
2020 - The Athletes of Neofuturism, Art-Space KazanMall
2020 - The front wall was removed, Gallery of contemporary art «BizOn», Kazan
2019 - Norilsk's Substance, BAZIS, CENTRUL DE INTERES, Cluj-Napoca, Rumania
2019 - «Museum's line», Saint Petersburg
2019 - «Anthropocentrism Toxicosis», Ferenczy Museum Center, Szentendre, Hungary
2018 - «Skins of Conceptual Constructions», ELECTROMUSEUM, Moscow
2018 - «Polymeric Offside», MUZEON, Moscow
2014 - «Biomorphic dust», St. Petersburg
2013-14 - «On the bottom the black fishes», The ex-cinema-theatre «Udarnik», Moscow
2012 - «Kawarga. Apocalypse. 21.12», pop/off/art Gallery, Winzavod, Moscow
2012 - «Paleo-Geo-Morphologies», Barbarian-art Gallery, Zurich
2010 - «Topography of creative evolution» (Kulik’s Hair), GridchinHall, Moscow Area
2010 - «Ouroboros» Gallery Brissot art contemporain, Paris
2009 - «Biostructures» Barbarian-art gallery, Zurich
2009 – «Coming into the theme" gallery pop/off/art, Moscow
2008 - «Trepanation of the Thought-forms» gallery pop/off/art, Moscow
2007-«Photocompressing» Business hous "Mohovaja, 7", Moscow
2005 - «Biomorphic radicalism in the destructive synthesis» gallery "Sam Brook", Moscow
2003 - «Retrospective Cut» Natural Science University, Moscow
2002 - «Project 2x10» Callery Ŕ-3
2001 - Science-n-Art Project in cooperation with Honored Inventor of Russia V.Beshekov
1999 - «Saturated Landscape» Staraja Basmannja St.21, Moscow
1998 - Expo in Moscow World Bank
1997 - Expo in Beljaevo, Moscow
1994 - Murals in Theatre «Perovskaja St.»
1993 - Kashirka Gallery, Moscow
2020 - CosMoscow International Contemporary Atr Fair, Gostiny Dvor, Moscow
2020 - «The city as subjectivity»,State Museum of Urban Sculpture, St. Petersburg
2019 - THIS IS NOT A BOOK: Dmitry Volkov Collection. MMOMA
2019 - «Plastic mass», The State Russian Museum / The Marble Palace
2019 - «THE LOOKOUT», Contemporary Art Fest, Fort Konstantin
2018 - «Breakthrough», Cultural Foundation Ekaterina
Innovation as an Artistic Technique, Hermitage
2018 - The RUSSIAN ART & ANTIQUE FAIR
2017 - Yearning for the Sky, Special project of Moscow Biennale
2017 - Pieter Bruegel. Inverted world, Design centre ARTPLAY, Moscow
2017 - Charity Festival «House of Hearts»
LABORATORIA Art&Science Space, Moscow
2017 - CosMoscow International Contemporary Atr Fair, Gostiny Dvor, Moscow
2017 – Exhibition of works by longlisted artists of The Kuryokhin Award, St. Petersburg
2017 – Direct encounter, Solyanka VPA, Moscow
2016 – Martyr, Agency ArtRu, Moscow
2016 – Contemporary Russia, The State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia
2016 – Every evening before sleep, Solyanka VPA, Moscow
2016 – CosMoscow ArtFair, International Contemporary Atr Fair,Gostiny Dvor
2016 - ARCHSTOYANIE, 11th international festival of landscape objects.
Nikola-Lenivets, Dzerzhinsky District, Kaluga region, Russia
2016 - «Quantum Entanglement 2.0», Arsenal, Kremlin, Nizhny Novgorod
2015 - «Orient Express», Contemporary Arts Centre MARS, Moscow
2015 - «Nadezhda – The Hope Principle», Artistic perspectives on Russian industrial cities
Trekhgornaya Manufaktura, Moscow
2015 - «Urals Transcendental», ArtPlay, Moscow
2015 - «Waxworks Exhibition», Palace of Culture MSTU named Bauman, Moscow
2015 - CosMoscow International Contemporary Atr Fair, Gostiny Dvor, Moscow
2015 - «Promise of landscape», Museum of contemporary art PERMM
2015 - ArtStage Singapore, Asian art fair
2014 - «Quantum Entanglement», Laboratoria Art&Science Space, Moscow, (catalog)
2014 - CosMoscow International Contemporary Atr Fair, Central Manege, Moscow
2014 - «File», Electronic Language International Festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil
2014 - «ZOO-Zoo» State Darwin Museum, Moscow
2013 - «Tubifex», DNA project / Science-Art Laboratory, Pervouralsk
2013 - The Kandinsky Prize, The Udarnik Cinema, Moscow
2013 - «Open Innovations», Crocus Expo IEC, Moscow
2013 - «ViennaArtFair», Pop/off/art Gallery, Austria
2013 - «Contemporary art in the Traditional Museum»
2013 - "TOTAL RECALL The Evolution of memory", ARSELECTRONICA, Austria, Linz
2013 - «Frontier», Sience-Art-Lab, Moscow
2013 - "GOSZAKAZ" /A Governmental Order/, CCA Winzavod & Pechersky Gallery
2013 - The show of the pretenders of the Sergey Kuryokhin Modern Art Award
in nomination The Best Art Projects
2012 - «Resonant Matter», The Russian Museum, Marble Palace
2012 - «Way-road», Gallery ph_Manometr, ArtPlay, Moscow
2012 - «Open Innovations», international forum for innovative development Expocentre
2012 - «Lexus Hybrid Art-12», ARTPLAY Design Center, Moscow
2011 - «Pro-Contra», International Symposium, Special project of 4 Moscow Biennale
of contemporary art, ArtPlay
2011 - «Free spaces», Special project of 4 Moscow Biennale of contemporary art,
Agensy ArtRu on Ozerkovskaya embankment, 26, Moscow
2011 - «Rewriting Worlds: Dada Moscow», Special project of 4 Moscow Biennale
of contemporary art, ArtPlay
2011 - Art Moscow 15th International Art Fair, Barbarian-Art Gallery
2011 - «Art Focus for Technologies: Charm and Challenge», Ural International Exhibition
of Industry and Innovation "INNOPROM-2011", Ekaterinburg
2011 - «The Life. The science version», Winzavod Contemporary Art Center, Moscow
2011 - «New sculpture, Chaos and Structure», New Museum, St. Petersburg
2011 - «Distortions of the Earth», Agency ArtRu, Moscow
2010 - «CLUB 21 — Remaking the scene», One Marylebone, Frieze Art Fair, London.
2010 - «A White on the White», Agency ArtRu, Moscow
2010 - «ViennaArtFair», Pop/off/art Gallery, Austria
2010 - The Kandinsky Prize 2010, Central House of Artists, Moscow
2010 - Art Moscow14th International Art Fair, Barbarian-Art Gallery
2010 - «A New Formalism», Museum of a City sculpture, St. Petersburg
2010 - VOLTA 6, Basel, Switzerland
2010 - «Reality metamorphoses,or Games with Time»,
MoscowZverev's centre of contemporary art, Moscow
2010 - "0,5" Jubilee exhibition, gallery pop/off/art, Moscow
Photos from the exhibition
2009 - «New sculpture, Chaos and Structure», Coluyanka gallery, Moscow
Photos from the exhibition
2009 - «Good News» OREL ART gallery, London, England
2009 - Art Moscow 13 th International Art Fair, pop/off/art gallery
2009 - Preview Berlin, Deutschland
2009 - Basel Selection Artfair, gallery "OBOIMA Project Bureau", Basel, Switzerland
2009–VOLTA5, Barbarian-art gellery, Basel, Switzerland
2009 – «Night of museums» State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
2009 – «Evolution of a dream», State Darwin museum
2009 – EUROP'ART'09 Grand-Saconnex Geneva, Switzerland
2009 – BridgeArtFair, New York
2008-2009 - «Atlantis» gallery A3, Moscow
2008-2009 - «Invasion : Evasion» BAIBAKOV art projects
2008 – Bridge Miami Beach
2008 – «Cyberfest» Youth Educational Centre of State Hermitage Museum
2008 – «Power of Water» State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
2008 – «Tunguska meteorite», The meteorite fall 100 years ago, Krasnoyarsk
2008 – «Art About Mortality», in memory N. Konstantinova, Rostov on Don
2008 - «Sleeping district», gallery ArtMarin, Moscow
2007 - 7th Krasnoyarsk Biennial 2007
2007 - Competition on the project a monument to Boris Nikolaevichu Yeltsin
2007 - Work is exhibited at a show-window of a museum ART4.RU
2005 - Art Manezh, Moscow
2007- Art Moscow 8th International Art Fair, pop/off/art gallery
2004 - «World of War» Museum Of Decorative Art
2003 - The Size Does Matter» Central House of Artists
2003 - «Object and Thing» Museum Of Decorative Art
1997 - «Action Initiation» Art Laboratory Dominanta, Moscow
1997 - «Bleeding of Spring» Malaja Gruzinskaja
1996 - Art Manezh, Moscow
1996 - Art Moscow 2th International Art Fair, Dominanta gallery
1994 - «Fun-Art» Central House of Artists, Moscow
1992 - Group "Hummer" Manezh, Moscow
1992 - «Golden Brush» Central House of Artists, Moscow
1991 - Malaja Gruzinskaja in Manezh , Moscow
1991 - «Space and Spirit», Central House of Artists, Moscow
1991 - Group "Hummer" Central House of Artists, Moscow
1988 - In Memory fo Pjatnitzkogo Malaja Gruzinskaja , Moscow
1988 - «Labyrinth» Palace of Youth, Moscow
To balance on the edge of the technological and natural, rational and subconscious, structure and chaos, art and science — is the most exciting and rewarding pursuit. I like imagining myself as a researcher and an experimentalist, who happened to be inside his own experiment: in my case — a sort of biological art-instrument. On the one hand, I am constantly preoccupied contemplating my own biological and psychological processes. Shaping my observations into a kind of research, I try to recreate those processes in the form of material 3D models. On the other hand, I focus on the points of correspondence between myself and the world's rapidly changing scientific and technological flow. Once having broken with the genre boundaries, I moved from painting to sculpture, then to interactive sculpture and installation, later — to the time-based installation and afterwards returned to painting. This progression made me rediscover the art as an abstract on going research process, which can absorb literally anything.
If one tries to trace the rationale behind this reference to phenomena of consciousness and their visualization, it is important to remember the three main questions that drive every creative person in his/her quest — what does one do? how? and what for? I asked myself those questions thousands of times throughout the years and finally decided to settle on materialization not only of images and symbols of visual world, which operate within the fine arts, but also of what causes their appearance. That is, the abstract flows of thought, the models of consciousness, the mechanisms of idea creation, the fragments of perception, reflexes, gestalts and so on. What is created is no longer a sculpture or an installation, but a kind of artifact 'mined' from the depth of consciousness.
The media for my objects and installations are various plastics and rubbers. There is a whole spectrum of sheet, granular, powder and multicomponent casting polymers. Their synthetic qualities are perfect for materializing the essence of intellectual processes, which, in my opinion, also have an artificial and synthetic nature. Unlike other media, like stone or metal, polymers can be transformed with time. The sculptures and installations of different ages can become the material for new ones due to technologies of partial melting and decomposition. In this sense, the very body of my art is developing and transforming in time, like a snake that bites its own tail. The recycled substance of itself feeds my work, thereby creating new meanings and technological innovations from old.
The most significant pieces of the last years were based on the synthesis of art and science and created in collaboration with scientists, technical experts and musicians.
Among those are interactive installations and objects that a based on physical response to the audience' action — they radiate noises of various frequencies; they vibrate, shudder, turn and pulsate; they react to the spectator's touch, to the rhythm of human blood flow, to one's voice, breath, psychic state, and those of others. These works get fulfilled/fertilized with every contact, accumulating the information from spectators' bodies — their thoughts, rhythms, energies."
Summer - Autumn 2010
"The possibility of creating novelty is interesting"
Sciene-art is having a hard time taking root in Russian soil. It
is expensive and probably seems too cerebral and calculating to Russian artist. Dmitry Kawarga is one of the few to be taking on this genre. He spoke with Anastasia Syrova about his explorations.
Artchronika (A): What style of art would you associate your work with? Is it science-art? Bio-art?
Dmitry Kawarga (K): It wouldn't be entirely correct to assign me unequivocally to science-art or to one of the associated trends, to bio-art. I use knowledge-intensive technologies and diagnostic devices in my work, but that is only one of the elements involved. My projects are not located entirely within techno-bioculture territory. People who call themselves science-artists or high-technology artists, as a rule, have a scientific background or are artists actively engaged in scientific research, laboratory-scale developments. My art is also investigative, but this is more likely connected to constant self-analysis. By investigating my own psycho-physiology, I try to study all accessible phenomena and processes.
A: How did you become interested in science? What does the synthesis of science and art mean to you?
K: My interest in science probably came about
around the age of five or six, thanks to the
TV show Obvious-Unbelievable and its
host, Sergei Kapitsa. He would write these
endless equations and formulas in chalk on
the blackboard, repeating them out loud
at the same time; bewitching in their total
incomprehensibility, they were embedded
like magic scrolls into my very sub-cortex.
I never wanted the show to end, but to go on and on forever. I would enter a special
state of concentration; now I try to achieve
that through the creative process. So, when
working with scientists now, I am looking
for that Kapitsa from my childhood. And
all of these scientific diagnostic medical
devices that take readings are helping to
develop the right relationship to what I do.
The viewers find themselves in a situation where their attention switches from the outside world to the territory of my work. It's a ploy for attention. The viewers are charged with a task: to alter their internal state to relax, get excited, activate the two hemispheres of the brain by turns, relay the heat of their bodies and the rhythm of their blood flow to objects, etc.
A: What kind of reaction are you trying to elicit from the viewers? Are they at all important for you?
K: Of course. With the help of technology, viewers are drawn into a dialogue and become a part of the installation. They react to the piece, and vice versa—the piece reacts to the viewers, so feedback is an important element. At the opening of the Kulik's Hair exhibition, I dressed the visitors in robes made from a special fabric to make everyone feel like a lab assistant who was to come to dissect thoughts. A person hooks into a device, and he's part of the game: you have an initiation of self-awareness. This kind of focused work with people's attention ultimately influences what I will do further as an artist. I listen and watch carefully to everything that goes on at the exhibition. I'm gathering data.
A: In order to use scientific diagnostic technology, do you have to follow what's going on in the science world?
K: Another person from our creative team is responsible for that. We have a theoretical psycho-physiologist, a curator for the scientific component, a programmer, and technical engineer who puts together the devices. We work with musicians who record sounds from insects and swamps and write soundtracks for the pieces. This is a synthesis of the visual and tactile, of science and art, music and programming. We recently were awarded a scientific grant from Dmitry Zimin's Dinastia Foundation, so in another year we'll have a project made possible by the patronage of an academic. This is a big piece that will make use of a great deal of bio-feedbacks, including readings of brain biorhythms and photo-plethysmography (using devices to calculate changes in the blood flow lumen inside a finger). We will be trying to create a situation where seven to eight people will be able to interact with a single piece at one time-like a collective performance.
A: In your opinion, how can advanced technologies enrich art?
K: Advanced technologies are having an undeniably greater and greater influence
art, and this isn't just some trend you can miss. We can't exactly go on patching up cultural gaps with tape and newspapers... High-tech art is interesting as a new opportunity opening up for synthesizing novelty, and for going outside the framework of any and all genres. This is a living experimental process, akin to alchemy, where it is more important to take part than to get completed products.
A: What happens to your pieces after the exhibitions?
K:I use them to make new pieces. I don't throw away any parts. My polymers have accompanied me through all these years of life: we are growing old together, transforming ourselves together.
A: Can you talk about the production process? How do you make these things?
K: Everything is made by hand. For instance, the Kulik's Hair installation was a sort of "intellectual intestine" of accumulated experience, a living object cultivated from a single point into infinity; it's important to mould it with your own hands. The bodies of the pieces and the sculptures are cultivated out of all sorts of polymer materials — for the most part expensive and technological, all kinds of really complicated materials. There's a production laboratory where I have them specially developed.
A: A few of your works are associated with the anti-Utopian genre. I am thinking of the Anthropocentrism Toxosis project, or Ultrastructural Pathology.
K: I try to avoid clear ideological messages. I strive to listen carefully to a situation that is forming the conditions for creating a new piece of installation. If the situation is lively, interesting and self-actualizing, then there was a reason for it, and I've once more managed to successfully make contact with the world. Anthropocentrism Toxosis was a statement on the suburbs, so maybe there was a certain anti-utopianism. There was an entertaining episode when we were setting up that exhibition: my enormous piece made from welded polymers wouldn't fit in the door, and the gallery was on the 11th floor of a building in a Moscow suburb. They called in a construction crane, which shoved it in elegantly through the balcony door, just like a giant ovipositor squirreling away an egg.
A: You date some of your paintings by decade, not by year, as is usually done. Why?
K: This is a new project that I brought to Paris as part of the Year of Russia in France; it's still there, by the way, in the small Brisso gallery. It's called Uroboros (a term from alchemy, the name for the snake devouring its own tail). I went back to my own art from twenty years ago, got old pieces out of the storeroom and decided to figure out the origins of the stuff that I do now. I was treating these paintings as artifacts, documents of a past time and forgotten experiences. I made them into monochrome remakes and drew a plastic materialization out of each one. What resulted was an exhibition of ten mini-installations, each one accompanied by a small text. It was really interested to ask the French people whether they could see the mark of a foreign culture in the pieces, whether they could catch at least a little Russianness. I asked dozens of visitorsand determined that no one could see anything like that.
A: How do you picture your audience?
K: I can't picture it; the image is all blurred and indistinct. The one thing I can say is I've noticed an erotic-corporeal relationship to my installations: people try to touch, embrace, to lie down or get inside. So I suppose my ideal target is a young man, physically healthy, asking himself open-ended questions of self-identification and inclined towards some kind of evolving.
A: You've done Internet-based projects like, for instance, Chess, where you played with the artist Mikhail Molochnikov...
K: Yes, at the time one of us was living in Berlin and the other in Moscow, and there was a chess battle going on in Igor Markin's Art4.ru community. Every new move was made in the form of an individual Livejournal posting. In order to make moves on the chessboard, you had to make a chess-piece and think up a new situational message for your rival. Our match was observed by thousands of community-members; their comments in one way or another influenced the course of the game. Images were born and changed in the process. The game itself lasted four months. Our chess pieces found themselves at cemeteries, on rooftops, in snowdrifts; they got stuck in the decomposing bodies of birds and in the tracks of backhoes, there's no way to tell where all they ended up. It was interesting to compete in the intricacies of the game—a sort of interactive art-training.
A: Your most recent project, Kulik's Hair, was exhibited in Sergei Gridchin's hall. How did it come about?
K: Kulik's Hair also started in Livejournal—I took a hair off of Oleg Kulik's shoulder and posted it in Livejournal as a joke; like, I found one of Kulik's hairs, put it in a test tube-tell me what to do, should I smoke it or make a wish? Misha Sidlin called me up and suggested I do an installation in Gridchin Hall. An enormous installation grew up out of total nonsense. In the long run, what resulted is really Kawarga's Hair, a materialization of my hidden creative processes...
A: The spatial designs in your work are close to architecture...
K: Last year we drove an enormous plastic sculpture around Switzerland on the roof of a car, and against the background of the mountains it looked like an ideal
building: one side constructivist, the other biomorphic. I think this construction would fit right in with the mountain ranges of Lichtenstein, and perhaps someday I'll be able to build that kind of a studio for myself there. This will be a complicated biomorphic piece, a giant sculpture with communication inputs that we can live and work inside.
A: So what happened with your Boris Yeltsin monument project, which was also published on the Art4.ru website?
K: The Moscow City Duma rejected it. Like Hercules tearing open the leopard's jaws, Igor Markin fought heroically against this decision and even tried to erect the monument in the courtyard of his museum, but the odds were against him.
A: Who are your favorite artists?
K: I have many. Ernesto Neto hanging spices in multi-meter-long pantyhose, Ron Mueck with his giant hyper-realistic figures and their fragments, Gunther von Hagens with his experiments in biological aesthetics, Anish Kapoor, Gunther Uecker. But it's really better not to name names. As soon as you pronounce a name, everything immediately goes wrong, the meanings of all the words lose their fluidity as if anchored to a certain set of specifics. Even this interview is very strange for me. Art is the impossibility to pronounce a finished phrase.
«Die russische Gegenwartskunst ist von Ironie durchtränkt»
«ICH BIN UNSOZIAL»
Dimitry Kawarga, der Gewinner des Art4.ru-Preises 2007, steht jenseits von Geld, Glamour und anderen Klischees. Der Moskauer interessiert sich für die Sichtbarmachung seiner Innenwelt mit wissenschaftlichen Methoden. Kawargas Kunst versteht sich als radikale Materialisierung seiner eigenen psychophysiologischen Mechanismen.
Dimitry Kawarga, «Biological Morphs» ist ein sehr subjektives Konzept. Nehmen Sie trotzdem Inspirationen aus der Aussenwelt auf?
Niemand hat mich beeinflusst, weder Menschen noch Schulen — es war immer die Natur, die mich inspirierte. Ich ging als Kind in den Wald, um zu zeichnen und zu malen. Die Biological Morphs sind alles, was zum Korper gehort, inklusive Bewusstsein und Unterbewusstsein. Ich habe mich bei diesem Thema total abgegrenzt vom sozialen Leben und bin nur in mich selbst eingetaucht. Dazu arbeitete ich auch viel mit Wissenschaftlern zusammen, die meine Korperpara¬meter gemessen haben. Es mangelt in unserem Land an einer Hightech-Kunst, Kunst, die sich die neuesten Erkenntnisse der Wissenschaft zunutze macht.
Subjektivitat und Wissenschaft bestimmen Ihre Kunst. Mit Ihrem Pass sind Sie aber auch ein Teil von Russland. Interessiertste als Kunstler die Diskussion über eine postsowjetische Identität?
Ich fuhle mich keineswegs dieser postsowjetischen Kunst zugehörig. Ich bin unsozial und verarbeite nicht das politische System. Aber 2007, als Boris Jelzin starb, gab es einen Wettbewerb für ein Monument zu seiner Ära, und wir haben gewonnen — es war ein Missverstandnis! Es war kein Kenotaph an die Person Jelzin, sondern ein Monument an die Zeit, wie ich sie damals erlebt habe. Interessanterweise kamen dann alte Leute zu mir und sagten, es reflektiere genau ihre Erinnerungen an jene Zeit.
Was ist gegenwärtig Ihr wichtigstes Projekt?
Ich arbeite an einem Projekt zwischen Kunst und Wissenschaft. Es geht darum, das Bewusstsein eines Menschen zu verkorpern, also eine Art kunstlichen Intellekt zu erschaffen. Wenn das Werk fertig ist, konnen die Betrachter mit ihren Gedanken, mit ihrer Körperwarme und mit ihren Emotionen das Objekt manipulieren. Somit hort es auf, rein subjektiv zu sein