Alexey Kondakov is an artist/designer from Ukraine who brought some of the Renaissance characters into our contemporary reality. His series “Art History in Contemporary Life” is an example of good sense of humor combined with the appropriation themes and photography. While it may seem that his works are just a treat for our imagination and visual puns, let us try to figure out – may be there is something more than meets the eye to these pictures.
Of course, he is not the first one to combine two polar art styles and bring something from the past to the contemporary terms. As we have mentioned, appropriation art focuses on the perception of cultural heritage and usage of new media. It is usually a very convenient tool to research certain topics within the art piece itself. Therefore, these photographs are not solely about a crisscross of aesthetics (in this case street photography with classical renaissance paintings). They are also reflect upon the cultural globalization, the total overlap of different eras that seems so common for the modern era. In our digital world, internet has became a one huge reality, that combines everything and everybody. Though we distinguish different periods and timelines, in the virtual world everything exists together and at the same time. Internet turned into a special kind of time machine, that can take us whenever we want, even art-vise.
Another important issue touched upon by Kondakov’s project is interlace of the virtual and actual reality. This tendency is quite a big deal with game industry growing rapidly. There are more and more studies on the impact of video games that are being more and more life-like, the same goes for the special effects in the movies. Basically, it is a sign of our vision being changed drastically by the means of new-era technologies. Something, that was considered as ludicrous and impossible 20-40 years ago, is completely real now. Something like 16-17th century characters walking the streets of suburbs. The meaning of the term “reality” is expanding and goes beyond its traditional borders.
As it has been noted before, these images also refer to a confrontation of some quite different aesthetics. This also gives them a unique note, and makes you wonder for more. Polar opposites meet in one place. That is, actually, what contemporary reality is all about.