Российская Академия художеств

Seminars

THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF ARTS
 
invites you to attend an international
symposium


SPATIAL ICONS
TEXTUALITY AND PERFORMATIVITY
June 23-25, 2009


The opening ceremony and the first session will be held on
 June 23, 10 AM
The Symposium takes place at the Presidium Hall of the Russian Academy of Arts: 21 Prechistenka str., Moscow


SYMPOSIUM PROGRAM


June 23  morning session

10:00 - 13:30


Greeting of the President of the Russian Academy of Arts


Alexei Lidov. Spatial Icons as a Performative Phenomenon
 
Anna Lazarova, Elka Bakalova
(Bulgaria). Messages to the Saint.
Communicative Aspects of Sacred Space

Danica Popovic (Serbia). Iconic and Performative in Sacred Landscape. The Cave Monastery of the Archangel Michael at Ras and its Imagery

Andreas Rhoby (Austria). Interactive Inscriptions: Byzantine Works of Art and Their Beholders

Bissera Pencheva (USA). The Descent of Grace: Art, Nature, and Religion in Hagia Sophia

Natalia Teteriatnikova (USA). Animated Icons in Interactive Display:
Mosaic Deesis in Hagia Sophia, Constantinople
 

June 23  afternoon session

15:00 - 18:30


Shigebumi Tsuji (Japan). Creating the Iconic Space. The Transformation of Narrative Landscape


Michitaka Suzuki (Japan). Hibutsu (Hidden Buddha). Living Images in
Japan and the Orthodox Icons
 
Akira Akiyama
(Japan). Interrelationship of Relics and Images in Buddhist and Christian Traditions: Comparative and Performative Aspects
 
Vladimir Maliavin
(Taiwan). Hierotopy in Taoism and the Iconic Image

Xenia Muratova (France). The Labyrinth as a Performative Icon in Christian Culture, East and West

Tatyana Yavorskaya (Lithuania). The Mountains of Crosses – a Phenomenon of Popular Hierotopy
 


June 24  morning session

10:00 -13:30


Gerhard Wolf (Germany). Iconotopia. Reconsidering the Performative
Rituals of Holy Images in Medieval Rome

Michele Bacci (Italy). Performed Topographies and Topomimetic Piety

Alexandr Godovanets. The Hierarchy of Light in the Architectural Space of Hagia Sophia

Nicoletta Isar (Denmark). The Imperial Choros - A Comnenian Hierotopy

Maria Lidova. Polyptych as a Spatial Image of the Church. The Icons by
Ioannes Tohabi from the Collection of St. Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai

Anna Ryndina. The Image of the Sacred Space in Byzantine Glyptics:
Two Staurothekas of the 11th and 12th Century
 


June 24  afternoon session

15:00 - 18:30


Armen Kazarian. Performative Space of Eastern Christian Monasteries:
General Principles and Regional Peculiarities

Jelena Trkulja (Serbia). The Facade Decoration of Byzantine Churches: Symbolic, Spatial and Performative Aspects

Thomas Leisten (USA). The Performance of Commemoration in Islamic Tradition: A Сase of the Mosque al-Aqmar in Cairo 

Vladimir Sedov. Spatial Structures in Medieval Russia: Iconic and
Performative

Alexandr Musin. The Litania and the Making of Sacred Space in Medieval Novgorod
 

June 25  morning session

10:00  - 13:30


Vladimir Sarabianov. Relics and the Images of Saints in the Sacred Space of Saint Sophia in Kiev

Vsevolod Rozhniatovsky. The Performative Iconography. The Effects of Light in the Space of Medieval Russian Churches

Aleksandr Melnik. The Dramaturgy of Fire in Russian Churches of the 16th and 17th Centuries

Lilia Evseeva, Lada Kondrashkova. Creating the Iconic Space: Text, Singing and Image in the Sixteenth-century Festive Liturgies

Nina Kvlividze. ‘Procession’.  Iconography and Liturgical Performance in the Time of Ivan the Terrible

Olga Chumicheva. Iconic Performances of Ivan the Terrible.
A Transformation of the Concept of the Royal Power
 

June 25   afternoon session

15:00 - 18:30


Tatiana Samoilova. Creating the Sacred Space of the Biblical History.
The Programs of  Medieval Russian Churches

Elena Saenkova. The Spatial Icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy in the
Moscow Kremlin

Galina Zelenskaya. Monumental Inscriptions in the Creation of Sacred Space of the New Jerusalem near Moscow

Svetlana Yavorskaya. Shumaev’s Cross as a Spatial Image of New Jerusalem: Textuality and Performativity

Oleg Tarasov. The Spatial Icon in the Culture of the Russian Old Believers

Leonid Beliaev. Creating a Sacred Space: a Case of the Zachatievskij
Monastery in Moscow




International Research and Methodological Seminar: Spatial Icons. Textuality and Performativity

 

Chair: Alexei Lidov

 

This session of the Seminar is organized in association with the Institute of Synergetic Anthropology and will be held in the White Hall of the Russian Academy of Arts, 21 Prechistenka street, on April 22, 2009 at 5 pm.

 

Sergei HORUZHY

 

VISUAL EXPERIENCE AND SPATIAL EXPERIENCE IN THEIR RELATION  TO  SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

 

I. General Concept of Spiritual Practices and Structure of the Hesychast Practice

 

1) Spiritual Practice as a  Phenomenon and Paradigm

 

In the research and description of a human being, new anthropology focuses on anthropological practices. Among them, the most essential are those, in which the constitution of man is formed so that the corresponding anthropological experience is constitutive experience.  In particular, the approach of synergetic anthropology reveals a special anthropological role and value of so called spiritual practices created by world religions. These include Eastern-Orthodox Hesychasm, Islamic Sufism, practices of oriental religions (various schools of yoga, Daoism and others). Spiritual practice is a process of man’s consecutive self-transformation directed to the achievement of a “higher spiritual state” or Telos that does not belong to the horizon of man’s empirical being.  The Telos is determined by basic postulates of the corresponding religion on absolute (divine) being. Putting into effect man’s authentic religious strive for such being, spiritual practice serves as the spiritual core of its religion, and represents pure quintessential experience of this religion. The ontological otherness of Telos implies the most important feature of spiritual practice: it must possess the complete “Organon” of its experience, i.e. the set of rules that fully determine the organization, testing and interpretation of the experience. The general structure of  spiritual practices follows the step paradigm, and each step of the practice is characterized by a particular configuration of all energies of a man called “anthropological energetic formation” in synergetic anthropology.

 

2)  Structure of the Hesychast Ladder

 

Steps of the hesychast practice, forming the so called “Paradise Ladder” (St. John of the Ladder, the 7th c.), describe a spiritual and anthropological process advancing  from the “Spiritual Gate” (metanoia, conversion, repentance) to the Telos identified with the deification of man (theosis, complete unification of  all man’s energies with the Divine energy, or grace).  What matters for us is the division of this Ladder into big parts: the Ladder includes a group of initial steps (ascetic’s consciousness is still occupied by worldly subjects and problems); a central group (the consciousness completing its cardinal restructuring creates the “ontological mover”, which represents the union of the two activities, Prayer and Attention, making it possible to climb the Ladder);  and a group of higher steps on the approaches to Telos  (the part of the practice known as Theoria, contemplation).  In the central and higher parts the ascension takes the character of spontaneous generation of the hierarchy of anthropological energetic formations rising to Telos – Theosis.

 

II. Visual Experience versus  Hesychast Experience: Initial Opposition     

 

1) The dichotomy of the set of spiritual practices according to personal/impersonal nature of their Telos.  The main distinctions of the two types of practices.

 

In the practices of the two types the advance to Telos can be characterized in its essence as, respectively, self-structuring or  self-destructuring. In the first type, generation of new modi of subjectivity, new structures of personality and identity takes place; in the second type, dismantling of the existing structures takes place.

 

In the practices of the first type,  the basic dynamic element is prayer, the leading perceptive discourse is audio, or “hot” discourse (according to McLuhan).

 

In the practices of the second type, the basic dynamic element is meditation, as a rule, using images, the leading perceptive discourse is visual, or “cool” discourse (according to McLuhan).

 

2) The hesychast opposition of audio and visual discourses: “Heating of emotions” and “Exorcism of images”.

 

St. Theophanes the Recluse: “Hurry up to make your heart warm!”.

St. Theophanes the Recluse: “All images should be exorcised from your mind!”.

 

The opposition results directly from the fact that the fundamental relationship Man – God is actualized by hesychast practice  in the element of personal communion.

 

III. From Opposition to Cooperation: Visual Experience in the Extended Religious Context 

 

1) Spiritual practice and adjacent practices of the Self. Adjoining and supporting practices. Practices cultivating personal constitution.

 

2) Visual experience in adjacent practices: the alternative.

 

The opposition established by hesychast teachers refers directly to the sphere of quintessential experience (Noetic Practice), stating that visual experience is not admitted inside this sphere, and hence it is not a quintessential experience. However, if the visual experience takes part in some adjacent practices of the Self, its relation to the quintessential experience is a priori open so that the alternative arises: it can be either supporting or impeding for the latter.

 

3) Harmonious coordination and cooperation of the visual and quintessential experience: basic example of icon worship and other examples.

 

IV. Spatial Experience versus Hesychast Experience: Paradigm of Sacralization  and Paradigm of  Deification

 

1) The paradigm of sacralization: its genesis, constitution, typology. The economia (economy) of sacralisation and economia of  deification in their historical interaction.

 

2) Spatial experience and quintessential experience.  The spatiality of the Eucharist as “spatiality of theosis”.  Sacred spaces in their relation to the sphere of deification: the alternative similar to that one in the case of  visual experience. The problem of harmonious coordination of spatial and quintessential experience.

 

Literature:

S.S. Horuzhy. The Phenomenology of  Ascesis. M. 1998

S.S. Horuzhy. Concepts of Spiritual Practice and Opening of Feelings. // S.S. Horuzhy. About the Old and New. St. Petersburg. 2000. p.353-421

S. S. Horuzhy. The Phenomenon of the Orthodox Ascesis as a Multi-Disciplinary Problem. // S.S. Horuzhy. Essays on Synergetic Anthropology. M. 2005. p.183-215.

 

About the Author

Sergei S. Horuzhy is one of the most distinguished Russian philosophers, who has developed an original anthropological theory called  synergetic anthropology, the most recognized specialist on history of  Russian religious philosophy.

 

The founder (2005) and the Director of the Institute of Synergetic Anthropology.

 

The scientific head of the Center for Synergetic Anthropology of the State University “Higher School of Economics”.  UNESCO Honorary Professor (Chair of Comparative Study of Spiritual Traditions). Chief Researcher of the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

 

Author of numerous works published in several languages. The principal books: Diptych of Silence (1991); After a Break. Ways of the Russian Philosophy (1994); The Phenomenology of the Ascesis (1998); Essays on Synergetic Anthropology (2005).

 

   



International Research and Methodological Seminar:

Spatial Icons. Textuality and Performativity

Chair: Dr Alexei Lidov

The Fifth Seminar will be held in the White Hall of the Russian Academy of Arts, 21 Prechistenka street, on February 18, 2009 at 5 pm.

PAVEL LUNGIN
The Creation of Sacred Spaces
in the Films “Island” and “Tsar” (“Ivan the Terrible”)

Pavel Lungin,  about the creation of his “island”:  “It is a small town of Kem’, from where ships with pilgrims move to the Solovky islands. This is a place of Russian holiness, a place of martyrdom. There were grey moorages of rotten logs there, an embarkation point for prisoners of the Solovky Labor Camps.  The plank moorages,  a sunken barge,  around which we made a scenery, water, stones – this landscape has played not a lesser role than the actors”.

The above citation from an interview with the world-known film director is one of his rarest  statements about the sacred space. However, for all those who have seen the film “Island” and those few who have had the luck to see a working version of his film “Tsar” it is obvious, that the creation of an environment for Man – God communication through cinematography is one of the significant aims for Pavel Lungin. In this sense, his latest films can be considered as attempts to produce “spatial icons”,  i.e. images, that do not illustrate or decorate some narration,  but serve as mediators  between the celestial and terrestrial realms. We deal with the images not coinciding with the portrayal of the visible subject reality and  assuming a possibility of another spiritual dimension. In this way, Pavel Lungin has very few predecessors and almost no contemporaries.  The unique “iconic” experience of Andrei Tarkovsky has remained practically unclaimed in the modern cinema. The reason is a guarded attitude of the actual, “glamour” and “anti-glamour” culture to all the sacred, in which they see either an attempt to create pious imitations, or a threat to private freedoms.  At the same time, the unbelievable success of the film “Island” both with Orthodox believers and liberal professional film-makers has shown a true interest in a serious dialogue on spiritual life and its space paradoxically not included in the contemporary art process.

In the context of this Seminar, it is important, that the cinema, through its expressive possibilities,  is the closest to the Byzantine spatial icons. In comparison with a flat picture or an immovable installation, it is also principally performative,  it is constructed on the combination of varying images, the dramatic concept of a word, light and sound.  Moreover, the Byzantine hierotopy controlled the organization of fragrance -  the sphere that is not yet within the power of this most popular of arts. The possibilities of  hierotopic creativity in the cinema are thought to be unlimited.  However, can they be realized in practice?  What barriers, inner or outer,  impede the establishment of  a deep connection and dialogue with the old Russian tradition?  Is the creation of sacred places in contemporary art a chimera caused by theoretical sophistication or an urgent goal of culture and education? These and other problems will be the highlights of  Pavel Lungin’s presentation to be followed by a discussion. The film director will share his experience in the design of sacred spaces and will comment on episodes from his new film “Tsar”, to be shown in public for the first time, relating to the topic of the Seminar and  demonstrating possibilities of contemporary art in the creation of spatial icons.
(Text by Alexei Lidov)

About Pavel Lungin
Pavel S. Lungin  is one of the most significant and world renowned Russian film directors. He graduated from the Moscow State University (Department of Applied Linguistics) in 1971 and  the High School for Film Directors  in 1980.  For his first film “Taxi-Blues” Pavel Lungin  won the Best Director award at the Cannes Festival in 1990. Among the master’s major films are  “Moon-Park”, “Oligarch”, “Wedding”, TV serial “Dead Souls” distinguished by extraordinary diversity of themes, genres and his cinema language. In 2006, Lungin’s film “Island”  was without exaggeration the main art event of the year and received all principle Russian cinema awards. At present the film director is completing his film “Tsar” (“Ivan the Terrible and Metropolitan Philip”) which is due to be shown in cinemas this summer.



International Research and Methodological Seminar: Spatial Icons. Textuality and Performativity

Chair: Alexei LIDOV

The Forth Seminar will be held in the White Hall of the Russian Academy of Arts, 21 Prechistenka street, on January 16, 2009 at 4.30pm.

Evgenia KIRICHENKO
The Blessing with the Sign of the Cross  and the Sacred Space in  Russian Architecture

In order to identify the architectural originality of a Russian historical city, it seems  significant to outline the structural and substantial, expressed in the forms of space and volume organization, unity of Russian Orthodox churches and Russian historical cities. Their internal affinity has not been scrutinized and defined as a notion in the scholarship. Yet it is possible  to demonstrate the  correlation between the type of a city, a church and the basic postulates of the Orthodox and national world outlook, materialized and represented in the preferred type of a cathedral and city planning . The long, almost one thousand years’ commitment to a definite church type and equally definite type of the city space arrangement is a good proof of it.

Such devotion to a once established canon does not seem random. We can assume, that behind this fact there is a deep connection with the religious fundamentals of Eastern  Christian culture,  and  through them the features of the Old Russian architecture and national school of  the 18th – early 20th century architecture have perceived peculiarities of the Russian self-consciousness born by Orthodoxy.

The paper makes an attempt to explain the preference given by Catholics and Orthodox believers, within the entire history of the existence of these two versions of Christianity, to certain types of church buildings, organization of the inner space in them, their structure and appearance, their embodiment in the environment on the basis of the interpretation of Man–God and God–Man relations adopted in each of the confession. Among other sources, the researcher relies on the explanation of the sense put by Orthodox believers and Catholics  into the ancient Christian ritual of  the blessing with the sign of the cross provided in Boris Uspensky’ book “Sign of the Cross and Sacred Space. Why Orthodox Believers Cross Themselves From Right to Left, and Catholics – from Left to Right?” (Moscow 2004).  The Catholics are known to cross themselves from left to right and cross the space in front of them from right to left, while Orthodox  believers cross themselves from right to left, but cross somebody or something from left to right. The gestures expressed two principally different relations with God, which, as Kirichenko suggests, determined originality of the  sacred space in Russian architecture.

About Evgenia Kirichenko
Evgenia Kirichenko is  one of the leading researchers of Russian visual culture of the New Time, Doctor of Art History, chief research worker of the Research Institute of Theory and History of Fine Arts of the Russian Academy of Arts. She is an author of a number of fundamental monographs, among which are:
Town Building in Russia in the Middle of the 19th – Early 20th century. Book 1. General Traits and Theoretical Problems (2001); Problems of the Development of the Russian Architecture in the middle of the 19th – early 20th century (1989);
Russian Architecture 1830-1910 (1988); The 19th Century Architectural Theories in Russia (1986); Fedor Shekhtel (1973).

Among the publications of Evgenia Kirichenko on the topic of the Seminar are:
E.I. Kirichenko. The Temple and the City.  On the issue of the substantial and structural  unity  of the Russian Sacred Space// Hierotopy. Comparative studies of Sacral Spaces/ ed. A. Lidov.Moscow, Indrik, 2009



International Research and Methodological Seminar:
Spatial Icons. Textuality and Performativity

Chair: Alexei LIDOV

The Third Seminar will be held in the White Hall of the Russian Academy of Arts, 21 Prechistenka street, on December 8, 2008 at 4.30 pm.

Vladimir MARTYNOV


From Icon Sphere to Icon of Glamour. In Search of  New Sacred Space

The paper deals with the iconic both in its original sacred meaning and attempts to play with this notion in the modern culture of glamour. The composer Vladimir Martynov comes from  music. The term “music res facta” has been aimed at separating a special composers’ music that stemmed in the 11th century from ancient and medieval music in the form the Gregorian chant defined as “cantus music”.  In contrast to composers’ music “res facta”, the Gregorian tradition or “cantus planus” is not man-made, i.e. is not a kind of art, but a sacred space not made by hand  existing apart from a man and his efforts.  It is this space of the sacred that we define by the term “sacred space”. 
The key notion differentiating the sacred space from the space of art is a notion of an object or artwork. Each Gregorian chant,  either an antiphonos or introjection, is a result of the space and melodic heterogeneity.  Here, it is more advisable to speak about the inner tension, consolidation or the flexure of the most melodic space. In this case, a precise psalm can be likened to an ocean wave. Thus, the whole amount of Gregorian chants can be best compared with countless waves, among which there is no identity, but, put together, they are similar to each other. And like an experienced surfer, who, having straddled the wave, is able to glide along the entire surface of the ocean, the person after singing a Gregorian chant “here and now’ becomes a part of the full  sacred space created by this Gregorian chant. The idea of art-object destroys the idea of presence in the sacred. The wave as an object loses its characteristic fluidity and transparency and turns into a self-sufficient matter. When there is an object, the real presence of a man in the sacred space is substituted by indication to the sacred. It is this indication that is a beginning of an art as such and of what that results in the notion of the icon of glamour. 

About Vladimir Martynov
Vladimir Martynov  is a distinguished composer and theoretician of art, one of the  world renowned figures of modern Russian culture. In 1970, Vladimir Martynov graduated from the Moscow Conservatoire. He has been keen on art-rock and is a founder of Outpost and Boomerang rock-groups. Simultaneously, Martynov was involved in folklore expeditions,  in research of the Oriental spiritual culture, as well as the theory and music practice of  medieval West. Vladimir Martynov participated in concerts of chamber music. His artistic searches in the 1970s resulted in minimalism. In 1978 Vladimir Martynov stopped his career as a composer. Till 1984 he worked at the Theological Seminary of the Trinity-Sergius Laura where he investigated old manuscripts and reconstructed the old Russian religious chants. In the middle of the 1980s Martynov returned to composing the music characterized by his deliberate thirst for the canon.  In the theory of music, he has been developing an idea of “the end of composers’ time” and at the same time – the exhaustion of the aesthetics of authorship, the tradition of concert performance, the cult of “stars”.
The major Martynov’s works of the above period include: “Page from the Album”; “Night in Galicia”; “Magnificat” (1994); “Stabat Mater” (1994); “Requiem” (1995); “Apocalypse” (1991).
Vladimir Martynov has written music for over 50 films and theatre performances, among which are the well known “The Cold Summer of 1953”, “Russian Rebellion”,  “Island”. Since 2003 he has been keen on multimedia projects and installations, executed a number of projects together with D. Prigov, L. Rubinstein and rock-group “Auction”.
He is an author of six books where he explains his philosophical and aesthetics concept and vision of modern culture.
Among the main publications are:
“History of Religious Chants”. Moscow, 1994; “Singing,  Game and Prayer in the System of Russian Religious Chants”. Moscow, 1997;
“Culture, Icon Sphere and Religious Chants in the Moscow Russia”. Moscow, 2008;
“The End of Composers’ Time”. Moscow, 2002; Zone “Opus Posth or Appearance of New Reality”. Moscow., 2005.

International Research and Methodological Seminar:
Spatial Icons. Textuality and Performativity

Chair: Alexei LIDOV

The Second Seminar will be held in the White Hall of the Russian Academy of Arts, 21 Prechistenka street, on November 14 at 4.30 pm.

Oleg KULIK

The Contemporary Liturgical Performance
A Creation of a ‘Spatial Icon’ in the Performance of  the Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1610) by Claudio Monteverdi
in Chatelet Theatre, Paris.

The First Presentation of the Project to be realized on January 24, 2009, in conjunction with the anniversary of Sergei Diagilev’s Russian Seasons in Paris

A resume of the presentation:

The artist Oleg Kulik intends to create a spatial performance which would combine light and sound effects in a particular space to reveal the experience of the medieval artists ( in their search of metaphysical reality) by the latest means of expression.  If in the past, there was a faith, but there were no high technologies for depicting the “force unseen”, nowadays, we have highly developed innovations but no faith. Is it possible to combine these incompatible up to now things within the logic of the development of modern art beyond  reconstruction of  old doctrines and stylization? Oleg Kulik carries on a dialogue with philosopher Michel Foucault who considered the modern sacred space as follows: “Today, in spite of all the techniques of the space appropriation and a comprehensive knowledge of it  allowing us to destroy the limits and formalize the space,  apparently, the modern space has not been desacralized (in comparison with the time with which it happened in the 19th century). It is theoretically obvious that the sacredness of space is being exhausted (the process has started since Galileos), but it does not happen in practice”.

Among the topics to discuss:

1. Plastic possibilities of living space through the fragmentation, rhythm, contrast  of different space fragments.
2. Light and sound as instruments for the “sculpture of living spaces”.
3. The development of the line  connected with categories of  transparency-shiny surface in art and the notion of “space-consciousness”  (Oleg Kulik “Energy of Unfreedom”, 1989).
4. Correlation of the sacred levels and the notion of “icon” in art, religion and mystic practices.
5. The ritual, ceremony, mystery in contemporary art.
6. The total installation and liturgy.

About Oleg Kulik: Oleg Kulik is one of the most eccentric and noted artists of his generation, whose projects, always unexpected and highly debatable, have become special events in the cultural life.  He took part in numerous international exhibitions (Museum of Modern Art in Gent; Biennale in Venice 1997, 2001, 2003; the Tate Modern; Museum of Modern Art in Antwerpen; Guggenheim Museum in New York and Bilbao). In 2007 there was his outstanding solo exhibition in the Central House of Artists in Moscow.  Kulik has initiated and has been a curator of the most interesting conceptual exhibition of recent years entitled Project “I Believe (Veryu)” held in Vinzavod, Moscow, that proved a new interest in the sacred values and became a significant step in the development of Russian art.  The artist’s works can be found in the collections of major world museums.   

Among Oleg Kulik’s publications on the topic of the Seminar are:
Myth of Transparency// Premonition of Unfreedom. Catalogue of the Exhibition. Moscow 1989;
Energy of Unfreedom// Introduction in Configurativity. Catalogue of the Exhibition. Moscow 1992;
About the Project “I believed ( Veryu)”. Foreword to the Exhibition Catalogue. Moscow 2007

The Publications about Oleg Kulik include:
V. Miziano. Oleg Kulik: “Okna”. Moscow 2001;
E. Degot. Contact with Nature// Oleg Kulik. Slogan. Catalogue of the Exhibition, Moscow 2003

The seminar concept by Alexei Lidov:

The Seminar deals with an unexplored phenomenon in the visual culture, which only recently became a subject of  contemporary art history and humanities in general. It concerns so called ‘spatial icons’ - specific projects for creating iconic images in space. Such images could appear both between various images in a certain sacred environment (cathedral, city, landscape) and in the context of a particular ritual performance.  These iconic images, existing beyond objects and any  pictorial  schemes, presented another type of imagery distant from usual flat pictures and other traditional representations. At the same time the spatial icons could explore the means of iconography as well as sounds, lightings, rituals, fragrance and other effects making all together a particular sacred space.  It is noteworthy, that Byzantine spatial icons, very unusual in the modern European context, have a typological parallel in the contemporary art of performances and multimedia installations though they have nothing in common with the Byzantine tradition either historically or aesthetically. However, the basic principle, when there is no single source of representation and the image is created in the space under the influence of several changing forms, makes them typologically related. Of great significance is a role of the beholder actively participating in the recreation of a spatial image.  In spite of the difference in technologies, aesthetics and symbolism, we can speak of  a very similar perception of the image which is in many aspects quite opposite to the Western European concept  of the ‘flat picture’ still dominating in the artistic practice and theoretical studies.
 
     The seminar aims at the discussion of this particular type of the artistic vision, highly developed in the ancient and medieval art, later deliberately abandoned in the European modernity and revealed to the new life by contemporary art and theory. Thus, it concerns an alternative way of artistic creativity, when the iconic space, intended to unite celestial and terrestrial realms, would replace the self –sufficient art object as a centre of universe.
     The basic methodological premises of the seminar and its new approaches to art history and contemporary art were elaborated in the context of a new Hierotopy theory, according to which the creation of sacred spaces is regarded as a special form of human creativity to be studied as subject of cultural history (see Alexei M. Lidov, ed. Hierotopy. The Creation of Sacred Spaces in Byzantium and Medieval Russia. Moscow, Indrik, 2006, pp.750, ills).
     The Seminar  is conceived as an intellectual realm for broad and intensive discussions between art historians, philosophers and actual artists on the phenomena of spatial icons in various cultures of the world as well as on a wide range of theoretical problems related to art history and contemporary visual culture.

 



The Russian Academy of Arts
presents an annual International Research and Methodological Seminar:

Spatial Icons. Textuality and Performativity

Chair: Dr Alexei Lidov. 
    

   The Seminar deals with an unexplored phenomenon in the visual culture, which only recently became a subject of  contemporary art history and humanities in general. It concerns the so called ‘spatial icons’ - specific projects for creating iconic images in space. Such images could appear both between various images in a certain sacred environment (cathedral, city, landscape) and in the context of a particular ritual performance.  These iconic images, existing beyond objects and any  pictorial  schemes, presented another type of imagery distant from usual flat pictures and other traditional representations. At the same time the spatial icons could explore the means of iconography as well as sounds, lightings, rituals, fragrance and other effects making all together a particular sacred space.  It is noteworthy, that Byzantine spatial icons, very unusual in the modern European context, have a typological parallel in the contemporary art of performances and multimedia installations though they have nothing in common with the Byzantine tradition either historically or aesthetically. However, the basic principle, when there is no single source of representation and the image is created in the space under the influence of several changing forms, makes them typologically related. Of great significance is a role of the beholder actively participating in the recreation of a spatial image.  In spite of the difference in technologies, aesthetics and symbolism, we can speak of  a very similar perception of the image which is in many aspects quite opposite to the Western European concept  of the ‘flat picture’ still dominating in the artistic practice and theoretical studies.
 
     The seminar aims at the discussion of this particular type of the artistic vision, highly developed in the ancient and medieval art, later deliberately abandoned in the European modernity and revealed to the new life by contemporary art and theory. Thus, it concerns an alternative way of artistic creativity, when the iconic space, intended to unite celestial and terrestrial realms, would replace the self –sufficient art object as a centre of universe.
     The basic methodological premises of the seminar and its new approaches to art history and contemporary art were elaborated in the context of a new Hierotopy theory, according to which the creation of sacred spaces is regarded as a special form of human creativity to be studied as subject of cultural history (see Alexei M. Lidov, ed. Hierotopy. The Creation of Sacred Spaces in Byzantium and Medieval Russia. Moscow, Indrik, 2006, pp.750, ills).
     The Seminar  is conceived as an intellectual realm for broad and intensive discussions between art historians, philosophers and actual artists on the phenomena of spatial icons in various cultures of the world as well as on a wide range of theoretical problems related to art history and contemporary visual culture.

The first Seminar will be held in the White Hall of the Russian Academy of Arts, 21 Prechistenka street, Moscow on October 10, 2008 at 5 PM and inaugurated by Alexei Lidov’s paper:  Spatial Icons and Images-Paradigms as New Notions in the Visual Culture.


Seminar’s chair:  Dr Alexei M. Lidov is Deputy President of the Russian Academy of Arts for Research and Innovation Programs, a Member of the Russian Academy of Arts, author and editor of 17 monographs, research catalogues and collections of articles on the theory of art,  Byzantine and Old Russian culture, he is a founder and director of the Research Center of Eastern Christian Culture. In 2001 he defined the notion and developed a concept of hierotopy regarding the creation of sacred spaces as a special form of artistic creativity  and a separate field of historical and cultural studies.

Alexei Lidov’s publications on the topic of the Seminar include  (in English):

Hierotopy.  The Creation of Sacred Spaces as a Form of Creativity and Subject of Cultural History// Hierotopy. The Creation of Sacred Spaces in Byzantium and Medieval Russia/ ed. A. Lidov. Moscow, 2006. P. 9-31

Spatial Icons. The Miraculous Performance with the Hodegetria of Constantinople // Hierotopy. The Creation of Sacred Spaces in Byzantium and Medieval Russia/ ed. A. Lidov. Moscow, 2006. P. 325-372

Leo the Wise and the Miraculous Icons in Hagia Sophia // The Heroes of the Orthodox Church: New Saints of the Eighth to Sixteenth Centuries/ ed. E. Kountoura-Galaki. Athens, 2004.  P.393-432

The Flying Hodegetria. The Miraculous Icon as Bearer of Sacred Space // The Miraculous Image in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance/ ed. E. Thuno, G. Wolf. Rome, 2004

The Miracle of Reproduction. The Mandylion and Keramion as a paradigm of sacred space // L'Immagine di Cristo dall' Acheropiita dalla mano d'artista, ed. C. Frommel, G.Morello, G. Wolf. Citta del Vaticano, Rome 2005

The Creator of Sacred Space as a Phenomenon of Byzantine Culture // L'artista a Bisanzio e nel mondo cristiano-orientale / ed. M. Bacci. Pisa: Scuola Normale Superiore 2007

Holy Fac,Holy Scrip,Holy Gate: Revealing the Edessa Paradigm in Christian Imagery // Intorno al Sacro Volto: Genova, Bizansio e il Mediterraneo (secoli XI-XIV) / Ed. A.R. Calderoni, C. Dufour Bozzo, G. Wolf. Venezia, 2007

Image-Paradigms as a Notion of Mediterranean Visual Culture: Hierotopic Approach to Art History //  Crossing Cultures. The International Congress of Art History. CIHA 2008. Proceedings. Melbourne, 2008