Looking at a Kandinsky in a dingy power station

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) is considered a pioneer in abstract art. In an example of art-within-art, director Nastia Korkia chose to display his 1932 work Dramatic and Mild in what was once the dingy break room of a Moscow power station and film the reactions of the viewers where only one or two people could see it at a time after standing in line for a long time.

This article describes the background to this unusual exhibit.

Whether it’s the Mona Lisa being crowded by selfie-happy tourists at the Louvre, or perhaps, more recently, a digital, from-your-desk tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, setting is an inescapable vital part of how we respond to an artwork. Capturing a scene in which three disparate elements – the Wassily Kandinsky oil painting Dramatic and Mild (1932), a small room, and an exceptionally fit security guard – come together in the context of a unique exhibition, this short from the Russian director Nastia Korkia invites viewers to contemplate the central role of place in the experience of art.

On its surface, Korkia’s film – eponymously named for the Kandinsky painting at its centre – is an unfussy exercise. It chronicles a small slice of the 2017 ‘Geometry of Now’ arts festival, which was held inside the decommissioned power station-turned-art-complex GES-2 in Moscow. With a fly-on-the-wall observation style, the short unfolds almost exclusively within what was once (and still very much looks like) a small workers’ lounge, where Kandinsky’s painting is on temporary display. However, that painting doesn’t make a cameo until the very end, as Korkia’s focus is on the people and small interactions that percolate in the space.


  1. brightmoon says

    Abstract and non representational art is supposed to make you think . Some people think that it’s real value . Some of it is just pretty or just surprising or shocking . Some people are willing to pay for that . I wouldn’t call that a con.

  2. consciousness razor says

    Musicians are con artists too then.

    You think they’re just notes. But then something just doesn’t smell right about that. So then they come in and try to convince that they’re just notes. However, that’s exactly what makes your suspicions that they’re about something else resurface once again. But little did you know that the real trick which you never saw coming is that they’re actually just notes. And by then, it’s too late, because they’ve already taken everything you own and moved to the French Riviera. It’s happened a million times. Very devious, these people. Not to be trusted.

  3. Holms says

    #4, #5.
    No, just abstract art. There are vast tracts of artistic works that don’t appeal to me yet are not something I would consider a con.

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