Conceptivism: Art That Goes Beyond

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by Sergey Kir

The technique I use to create art was born as as result of my fascination towards vivid colors, financial modeling, and technology. It is my attempt at producing a self-synthesizing impression of art. The process reflects on the characteristics of the notion of an “absolute work of art” or Gesamtkunstwerk.

The aim is to incorporate various forms of artistic expressions, emotional motivations and philosophical ideas into a single art piece. The idea of gesamtkunstwerk, when applied to modern technological and industrial state, becomes Conceptivism.

Watch Over Manhattan
“Watch Over Manhattan” – digital print on canvas – 14″ x 40″

Conceptivism As A Concept

The 20th century saw a number of exciting major art movements. Each one was an interesting manifestation of what art is and could be. Pablo Picasso transformed the representation of form through cubism, Kandinsky and other abstract expressionists advocated pure abstraction and stimulating human emotions through art, and pop artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein explored the horizons of commercialization and repetition.

However, the human mind alone conceived all of these great innovative ideas. There was no external interference of technology. Conceptivism tries to go beyond what we, as humans, can picture. It allows me and my viewers to reach unbound prospects of visual representation. Conceptivist works could not have been previously contemplated or imagined by a human brain.

Conceptivism helps me combine my fascination towards computer generated graphics and my knowledge of finance. A number of art movements and personal experiences inspired the style. The original inspiration for the style came from the works of the Fauvist artists, notably Henri Matisse, who tried to capture the transformations of light in paintings.

My educational background in architecture, computer science, and fsinance fuelled the desire to create digital works of art while incorporating non-conventional ideas (like the typical setups of a financial quantitative model) into them. The Futurist movement and the quirky works of Roy Lichtenstein were also some of the references I used.

Muse of Financial Mathematics, Digital Print on Canvas, 36″ x 48″

The aim of Conceptivism does not just stop on the visual. It aspires to create a genuine, dramatic and provocative experience for the spectator. With my works of art, I aim to not only gain the appreciation for the visual aspects but also enrich the imagination and motivate curiosity in my viewers. With all the layers, conceptivist works possess the look and feel of a handmade work but are in fact digitally conceptualized. They make the viewer contemplate about the process and simultaneously try to find meaning within the visual.

I aim to not only gain appreciation for the visuals but also enrich imagination and motivate curiosity in my viewers.

Conceptivism is distinctly different from Conceptualism. The two terms are as different as black and white photography and the art of sculpture. A photographer does not have control over the subject whereas a sculptor can mold his subject according to his preferences. Similarly, Conceptualism involves illustration of facts and ideas whereas Conceptivism modifies the visual representation of these facts and ideas according to the desire of the artist or the viewer. The only similarity between the two is the notion that an idea is beautiful and can be represented using art.

To summarize,

Conceptualism = The Idea Of Gesamtkunstwerk + Quantitative Modeling And Optimization + Vibrant Imagery + Social Relevance

Manhattan Hedge, Digital Print on Canvas, 45″ x 34″

The Process of Creation

I think of all the ideas and associations that I would like to represent in the work. I draw some sketches and samples of the ideas that I like the most. However, through the process of creation, my work develops and modifies a great deal, making the final product only slightly similar to the original idea. There are also times when I just randomly search and look for inspirations. I start working with things that catch my attention and a new prospect emerges every time.

I start working with things that catch my attention and a new prospect emerges every time.

I like to include several patterns and colors into the works. Ethnic patterns found in different cultures like that of the American Indians and Russian Northern Tribes fascinate me. I spend a good amount of time learning and studying the configurations while trying to make up my own patterns.  

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Muse 2 (Process)

Usually, the progression of the artwork is saved in several different colors. This is done so that I can explore all of the available possibilities. I like to go through the full spectrum and often allow the digital editing tool to compose several sets of possible color combinations before I select the best one. Shades of navy blue and red are a personal favorite. However, I try to assess the work and use only the best possible combination of colors.

But my real knowledge and expertise of financial quantitative modeling come into play when I use a random algorithm to incorporate the objects and photographs into the program. These models, with their limits and goals, paths and parameters and ability to identify subject representations are one of the main things that build the work.

The program generates versions of the work by using, what I like to call, “computer generated magic”. I may sometimes repeat the entire process a number of times until I achieve what I am looking for. Programs like Pixlr Express and PicsArt edit the collected material. Once the final outcome is satisfactory, I make the final edits and revisions to the work using Photoshop.

Toronto Series (Process)

My works transform images and forms borrowed from art history into digital visual representations. Conceptivism emphasizes the idea that contemporary art is entering a new era that traces back to art history. It manifests itself not as a nihilism of the old ideas and principles, but rather embraces innovation and progress available through science and chance.

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Sergey Kir’s Conceptivist works are currently on view as part of the Unbound Perspectives exhibition at the gallery. Learn more about this emerging concept in Conceptivism and The Art of Technology article and visit Sergey’s ARTmine Page to view the works.


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One response to “Conceptivism: Art That Goes Beyond”

  1. Zeinab Khalil avatar

    Pleased of reading the post and the information about conceptivism .Really hoping to continue being updated with further posts.