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Techne and Art: Ecologies of Pre- and Post-modern Subjectivities

Techne and Art: Ecologies of Pre- and Post-modern Subjectivities

 

Curated by You Mi



In ancient Greek culture, art,craftsmanship and other practical forms of knowledge were categorized as techne, whereas scientific knowledgesuch as grammar, geometry, astronomy belonged to episteme. Aristotle made suchdifferentiation. In Trattato dellapittura published posthumously in 1652, Leonardo da Vinci took as task todefine art as science, and so departed from craftmanship, which was regarded asartes vulgares et sordidae, or later the artes mechanicae. This undertaking wassupported by claims that painting was driven by mental activities andassociated with geometry and mathematics. If with the advent of modern art, artmoved away from being scientific and representational so to anatomize its ownrepresentationality, it has done so by gradually emphasizing the material, theembodied and the emergent aspects of creativity. However, in the Middle-Easternand Eastern traditions, the entanglement of techne, art and science sustainsover time.

 

The show rounds up modern and contemporarycarpets from Persia and works of contemporary art from Iran, Central Asia andChina, eliciting dialogues on form, structures of thinking, bodily perceptionand affective capacity. Not reducible to any identitarian regimes, the worksreveal pre-modern or postmodern ecologies of subjectivity.

 

Epics, captured in the pictorial carpets ofthe Zamani Collection, synthesize new imaginations as they and are passed on, creatingnew encounters with, for example, the works of Anvar Musrespov. Abstractpatterns are reversed to incorporate the richness of signs, omens andstructures of life, in the case of the abstract carpets and works of ZhengYiqiang, Ling Haipeng and John Monteith. The act of making brings the body tothe fore, as the body becomes the medium and content of making and being made, capturedin the work of Xu Siyi and Yang Xin.

 

The virtual Buddhist cave in the Virtual Realitywork by Hyperbation reimagines the sacred by encoding it with contemporary signsand inserting it into contemporary embodied experiences. And the computer-basedRubik’s cube game designed by kujiraplanet rolls out in two dimensional andthree dimensional spaces, evoking the constant shifting and recentering in theprocess of carpet-making. Finally, the installation of Sina Seifee investigatesand speculates on the modes of subjectivity emergent within the postmodernMiddle-East, inspired by Middle-Eastern scholar Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh’s work "Insurgent,Poet, Mystic, Sectarian: The Four Masks of an Eastern Postmodernism". Itzooms in and out of knowledge and speculation about nondialogue, nonnarrative,and radical exile spaces that have emerged in (Middle-)Eastern postmodernism.


 


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