New media art is a challenging discipline compared to other arts. There are many artists and not enough knowledge about this unique approach. Vadim Fishkin is among the new media artists who have succeeded in reaching global contemporary art audiences.
Fishkin’s new exhibition, entitled “Scientific Bricolage” at the Krank gallery, a newly opened art space in Istanbul’s Tophane district, may be seen as an attempt to take the lid off the new media discipline. The gallery space may be small, but it is curated by a professional, Ali Akay. The space is used well and gives the audience the feeling that the venue was made just to display Fishkin’s exhibition. The dark environment provided of the gallery reveals the shadow shows of Fishkin. Two large walls in the gallery showcase two outstanding works of the artist. In Fishkin’s works, which are linked to technology and scientific developments, the image and its conception are at the forefront. Through the use of technology and its own development in line with humans, the artist aims to highlight our daily lives, our perception of understanding and the meaning of objects. Fishkin says: “For me the everyday of development in technology is part of this long running human civilization and of course, the time of development is already quite long and now technology is rapidly changing. But the human perception of development is still the same. We’re still amazed, about the unlimited possibility; of course, it could be against the most classical and conservative idea but that’s my goal….don’t lock yourself, keep the possibility open.”
Fishkin likes to push his audiences to find new things in the every day. With his work “Doorway,” Fishkin works both with dark and light, by making a door (actually the shadow of a door) that constantly closes and opens, and emits a light that comes out of it when it opens. In another work of his, which is a reflection of a palm tree out of a can reminds us of our perceptions and how they can shape our expectations.
In addition to perception, Fishkin is “very interested in function in both ways: One is the technological function, which is physics-based and the function of the magic tricks. But in fact it doesn’t mean that one function is right, and the other is wrong. I’m interested in the functionality of art.’’
That’s why Fishkin prefers to create works such as “Prometheus,” which a thermo-generator which produces light and reflects the electricity via an artificial candle. While the work is a functional one, it is a reference to the mythology of Prometheus, who is known in Greek mythology as the creator of the mankind who stole fire from Mt. Olympus to bring to the humans.
The art of Fishkin is about the perceptions of functional objects. According to the artist, his art emphasizes “not the tools of physics, not the tools of trick, they stress the perception of art, and what makes [the audience] think of art…”
About the artist
Vadim Fishkin graduated from the Moscow Architecture Institute in 1986. In 1992, he became a member of the Moscow-based art collective “Champions of the World.” In 1996, he moved to Slovenia and settled in Ljubljana. He is currently a professor at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Center for Art and Media) in Karlsruhe, Germany. The artist’s works have been included in many international exhibitions, including the third Istanbul Biennial (1992), the Venice Biennale (1995, 2003, 2005), Moscow–Berlin, Berlin–Moscow (2003), and Manifesta 1, Rotterdam (1994).