Conceptivism is a new style of art that was coined by artist Sergey Kir. The style utilizes several different ideas and techniques taken from art history and recent technological advancements. It creates a bridge between the old and the new. Incorporating computer digital design techniques, features of financial modeling, and a love for vivid color and art history, Conceptivism is the realization that contemporary art is changing.
Here, Sergey gives us an insight into this monumental new art form.
Sergey Kir, Jeff Koons, the MoMA, and Conceptivism. What is the connection?
I always had an interest in the arts. At one point, I switched jobs and my new investment bank’s office location was right next door to MoMA. This was a major step in furthering my artistic knowledge. I would spend lunch breaks and after-work time in MoMA for many months wandering around the floors.
Then one day in 2014, I learned that Jeff Koons’s retrospective was going to be held at another museum in the area, the Whitney Museum. I attended that exhibition and familiarized myself with his revolutionary art and ambition. It really inspired and fascinated me!
I learned that Jeff, like me, spent many years working in the Financial Industry, and before that, worked at the MoMA in New York for several years, spending time in the same building where I had become a weekly visitor. Finding myself in a similar situation to that of a renowned artist surprised me. At that time, I was going through some mid-life crisis issues and was looking for ways to express myself and find purpose – that exhibition and Jeff’s story really inspired me and showed me what I might do with my life.
That’s when the thought just hit me – I, too, should try to create art and share the ideas that I wanted to express.
I was eventually able to meet Jeff and tell him about the inspiration he had provided. I feel that my story is somewhat similar to how, many years ago, Jeff Koons met Salvador Dalí, which inspired him to become the most successful artist of our generation.
What is Conceptivism?
Conceptivism was born from my desire to create a new vision in contemporary art. This new artistic style is meant to emphasize the idea that contemporary art is entering a new era that traces back to art history, manifesting itself not as a nihilism of the old ideas and principals, but rather embraces the innovation and progress available through the prism of science (and chance). My process of creation is unique compared to other artists’ in its technique and combination of various aspects of production, which allow me to create complex and scientifically embellished imagery.
I was blessed to form a vision of the world from many different perspectives and was thrilled with my realizations of the interconnections between various sectors and aspects of life – science, music and art – and that process of connecting the dots created an array of ideas and visions that I have started to express and represent visually.
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How did financial modeling and analysis lend a hand in your creative development?
I spent a lot of time thinking about how aspects of financial modeling and portfolio optimization techniques, knowledge which I acquired in my professional career in financial and quantitative risk management, could be integrated into the artistic process. I wanted to unite the artistic and analytical worlds, synthesizing the capabilities of hand drawing, digital photography, and scientific methods.
Many of my works of art incorporate typical setups of a financial quantitative model, with its limits and goals, paths and parameters, as well as subject representations identified, and the model is then set to run within a degree of freedom to produce visual representations. The model generates an image or components of an image through computer generated “magic,” with the artist creating the ultimate visual form, which can then be used as a final product or as an intermediate step in the creation of the final piece. The artist may repeat any number of model runs until the work is complete.
My conceptivist works of art aim to craft the look and feel of a handmade work but are in fact digitally conceptualized.
What is the connection between your work and Roy Lichtenstein’s work?
The aim of Conceptivism is the opposite to the intended goals of artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, who created art that had an industrial look but was handmade. In my work, I complete the circle and attempt to create a look similar to that done by the human hand but using an industrial process as my brush. Consequently, the final work must be composed manually so any imperfections can be cleaned and polished.
Sometimes, it’s the computer process that optimizes the color combination and composition of an artwork. Other times, the work starts as a hand drawing.
What led to Conceptivism?
Conceptivism was originally born from my fascination with vivid colors, financial modeling, and technology. Much inspiration for the creation of this style came from the works of Fauvist artists (most notably, Matisse), who tried to capture the transformations of light in their paintings.
Other influences include the works of artists in the Russian and Italian Futurist movement. These celebrated the industrial approach, a love of speed, a fascination with machinery, and the spirit of a youth unobstructed with the interpretations of the old ideas and principles of art. This in turn conceived, among other things, the concept of Zaum. Zaum proclaimed that art must reach outside of barriers of language to influence the spectator.
What is the relation between Conceptivism and architecture?
We may usefully reveal Conceptivism through a comparison of the architectural differences between the Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture.
Romanesque style architecture characterizes massive self-sufficient forms that are usually built on a solid ascending foundation capable of supporting heavy blocks of stones and walls. If a block of stone or even one entire chunk were removed from a Romanesque style construction, nothing would happen to the entire structure. It would continue to stand, relying on its thick massive walls to remain held together.
Gothic architecture is totally different. Each component of a Gothic structure is an energy receptacle that is built into a network of dynamically connected components. These components, with the forces streaming through, hold the structure together. Exclusion of any individual components from a Gothic structure will most likely lead to a collapse of the entire structure. This is because every stone has a unique place and purpose.
Conceptivism uses the same premise of Gothic architecture. Every component of an art piece must be important and must add to the overall quality. Much like Gothic architecture, the final product should create an immersive experience for the spectator.
What would you say is the motive of Conceptivism?
The goal of Conceptivism does not stop at just the visual. It aspires to create a genuine, dramatic, and provocative experience for the spectator. As a result, the experience would take him/her beyond just appreciation of the visual aspects of art. It would also incite passion and altruism, cultivate humanity, provoke thinking, enrich imagination and most of all, motivate curiosity.
The work should answer the following questions:
Why did the artist create this work?
- Which major philosophical ideas does the work represent?
- Does the work capture any cultural and epistemological references?
- What dialectical ingenuity does the artwork employ?
- Are there any connections to the existing trends, new ideas, scientific theories, philosophical postulates, etc.?
With Conceptivism, I have attempted to incorporate a self-synthesizing impression of art. This includes characteristics of the notion of the “absolute work of art” or gesamtkunstwerk. The aim is to incorporate various forms of artistic expressions, drama, emotional motivations and philosophical ideas in a single art piece. The idea of gesamtkunstwerk, when applied to modern technological and industrial state, becomes Conceptivism.
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Want to see more of Sergey Kir’s work or learn more about Conceptivism? Visit his ARTmine page.