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THE MACHINE OF MEANING

Alexey Korsi

19.11.2021 - 15.01.2022



Today, when most images of reality are made by machines and for machines, as humanity grapples with the future of AI and its influence on human subjectivity, the name for Alexey Korsi’s new exhibition might seem obvious and superfluous. But it’s a trick, one that leads to the object the project aims to study.

The machine the artist references is not created by him. Nor is it an amalgamation of parts of other various machines, it is not founded on algorithms created by people. It is not an external tool. Instead the exhibition is about the human brain, and how experience and knowledge program it and limit it.

Korsi is a modern art philosopher, a philosopher engaged with the basic ideas of human experience — will, the sublime, the mechanisms of symbolization, reality, abstraction. This is key to the consistency and persistence of the artist, a quality that so rare today. He considers anything he creates to be part of a single continuous project — striving to give form to phenomena that define us, despite the fact that they are simultaneously inexhaustible and obvious. His protagonist, the hero of his work, although not overtly represented, is a person lost trying to comprehend the complexity of the world, which continues to grow alongside our increasing knowledge of it. The main goal of Korsi's work is posing questions, not creating material objects.

The perfect details of some unidentifiable mechanism, seemingly natural, not human-designed, are not alluding to technological progress or some looming collapse. Instead, thanks to its chrome polished surface, they are an almost literal mirror of our cognitive abilities, created to expose the linearity of our perception. Using gloss, symmetry, and performative functionality (the details contain no "artistic" flourishes or other additional elements that would get in the way of its functionality), Korsi tricks the viewer's consciousness, transforming pure abstraction into an element of some mechanism, and together they form a basic foundation for some unknown machine.

The ‘Arches’ series interacts with the same property of our consciousness. But instead of producing an idea of some whole by making our mind connect its parts, instead it allows the viewer to "create" space by splitting infinity. Because it is through delimitation that we build systems to find our place in space and time. Korsi places arches in the viewer's way as he heads towards another part of the exhibition, but does not offer suggestions on how to interact, leaving them up to the viewer's discretion.

Silkscreens from the ‘Machine of order’ series are also aimed towards "humanizing" space, reconciling it with our cognitive abilities and approaches. The works, created at the edges of what’s possible in the medium, are reminiscent of the cyanometer created by Horace Benedict de Saussure in the second half of the eighteenth century. The cyanometer allowed users to differentiate fifty-three shades of color in the sky by comparing what the experimenter saw to a table of samples.

Through his abstract works Korsi constructs a statement about humanity. About the possibilities and shortcomings of our consciousness, which is the author the image we create of the world around us, where something is always to be found beyond the what we can see.


Anna Zhurba