Thinking in loop
05.11.2020 – 07.02.2021
Curator: Manuel Fontán del Junco
Video today is the medium of all media: it dominates news, online networks, art and ideological or religious propaganda. In his three video collages on iconoclasm, ritual and immortality, Boris Groys (East Berlin, 1947) reveals himself as an authentic medium of ambivalent rituals of the word and the image that constitute our culture.
Video today is the medium of all media: sophisticated or domestic, from CNN and MTV to the amateurs on YouTube, Instagram or TikTok, videos are produced and distributed in the billions on social media. Video dominates news, advertising, political, ideological or religious propaganda, and art as well. And its images in movement are increasingly seen in the placid calm of the museum.
In the three videos of Thinking in Loop, Boris Groys reveals himself, in this his first exhibition among us, as the refined philosopher, art critic and theoretician of media he already is, but also as an authentic medium of the medium of all media, intelligently staging the ambivalent rituals of word and image that constitute our culture.
This exhibition is an audio-visual installation where the philosopher, curator and artist has appropriated fragments of films and documentaries, combining each of the resulting three film collages with an oral essay. The video collages, produced from 2002 to 2007, were published by ZKM (Zentrum für Kultur und Medientechnologie) in Karlsruhe in 2008.
The images of Iconoclastic Delights, Immortal Bodies and The Religion as Medium do not merely communicate or illustrate theoretical content; rather, they use it as an accomplice to think in video, making ideas come alive with images in movement in an ongoing loop. Thinking in Loop is an exercise carried out equally by conceptual art and “audio-visual philosophy” (Peter Weibel), which cures images and voices, both our own and of others, and is uniquely concerned with the ubiquitous media bubble our lives are lived out in.
Boris Groys (East Berlin, 1947) studied philosophy and mathematics at what was then the University of Leningrad, where he came to work as a scientific assistant. Together with Ilya Kabakov, Andréi Monastyrski, Dmitri Prígov and Erik Bulatov, amongst others, during the Soviet regime Groys was a leading member of the circles of non-official intellectuals and artists in Leningrad and Moscow. In 1981 he was forced to emigrate to the Federal Republic of Germany, where he began to publish his works and was employed as an instructor at the University of Münster. In 1994 he received a full professorship in Philosophy, Art Theory and Communication Media at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe. He is currently Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University. A philosopher, media theoretician and art critic, he is the author of some twenty masterful books—“Boris Groys produces more provocations, more paradoxes per page than any other critic”, stated James Elkins—, from Gesamtkunstwerk Stalin (1988) [The Total Art of Stalinism, 1992], which led to international recognition, to In the Flow (2016). His publications include Unter Verdacht. Eine Phänomenologie der Medien (2000) [Under Suspicion: A Phenomenology of Media, 2012], and Über das Neue. Versuch einer Kulturökonomie (1992) [On the New, 2014], which constituted the initial calling card for the work of Boris Groys in the Spanish intellectual world. In 2020, in conjunction with this exhibition, the Catalan and Spanish translations of some of his essays on the logic of collection and digital art will be published.
Boris Groys has also curated exhibitions, such as La Ilustración total. Arte conceptual de Moscú, 1969-1990, with Manuel Fontán del Junco and Max Hollein in 2008 at the Fundación Juan March, Madrid and the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt. As an artist, besides Thinking in Loop, which he presents at La Virreina Centre de la Imatge for the first time in this country (it has only been exhibited in 2008 at apexart, New York, and Cubitt Gallery, London), Groys has also produced and collaborated on various sound pieces and performances.