Philosophy of the Common Matter
Kunstraum Lakeside / KLAGENFURT (Austria)
03.09.2021 — 10.09.2021
Departing from many years of research into the mindscape of Russian cosmism, an avant-garde school of thought at the turn of the twentieth century that combined philosophy with social and natural sciences, Anna Bochkova presents a selection of sculptures in Kunstraum Lakeside. On display are fragile forms whose papier-mâché-coated lattice structures and transparent materials make them seem so light that they question the very existence of gravity: model-format space stations and satellites with a cubist touch, architectures or spaceships simultaneously under construction and in decay, along with the suits and helmets of their protagonists. Fragments of a utopia about space, which has fallen out of time – elements of a utopia about the world, which will have been abandoned.
“I try to be careful with the theoretical complex surrounding cosmism,” says Anna Bochkova about her research that scrutinizes what would today be called post-humanist concepts, such as technology-assisted immortality of humans, by making recourses to historical precedents. Her attempt to “create space for a discourse” is ultimately based on her biography, too – after all, she did grow up in a Russian town “where each street was named after a star, a galaxy, cosmonauts, or cosmist theorists”. Anna Bochkova connects her research and her precise sculptural formal language, which derives from familiar materials and objects, with a specific, dated, yet still influential to this day visual vocabulary of modernity. She (re-)constructs artefacts of a thoroughly imaginary space archeology, whose facts are owed to phantasms.
In the exhibition Philosophy of the Common Matter Anna Bochkova deals with ideas of the common. By invoking Nikolai Fedorov’s more than 100-year-old excursion on the museum as a technology and cultural technique oriented upon the past and future in equal measure, which should represent a lively collection of humanity on the whole, the artist challenges the role of art and its institutions, while providing historical reference points for contemporary aspirations to achieve immortality.
Curated by Franz Thalmair & Gudrun Ratzinger