/, Gallery, Blesok no. 151/ALL THE TIME IS NOW


The eternal explorer of the unknown (childishness /complexity of the game)

The games, child’s play, innocent, infantile game, seen through the lens of the continuous search for the unknown, mysterious, impermissible, the quest for freedom but with a degree of controlled authority and rules also carries a fundamental significance in Simon Shemov’s artistic world, as a means to develop and create his pieces, their place in the provided space, to animate himself and of course the observer, engaging him thus with a series of little puzzles and enigmas to solve. Shemov’s playfulness is discernible and not only in his experimentation with different mediums, styles and motifs which he creates, but also in his “playing” with the “elements” in his pieces, presentations, formations, their confrontation, playing along the fine line of figuration and abstracts, parodies, cynicism, and even daring to dream whilst wide awake, feeling that rush of adrenaline and instigating various sensory sensations. Yes, the playfulness is also discernible in his courage to effortlessly combine and re-examine these fundamental phenomenologies of pantheism, cosmology, archetypes, mysticism and religion, tradition, attempting to express them, in a visually receptive manner into an easily absorbing narrative, leaving no person unaffected.

In the quest for some theoretical probing of the act of play in correlation with art (as is the case with Shemov), Hans-Georg Gadamer stated that play is a fundamental aspect of human life and experience and it manifests and shows itself in a multiplicity of practices and activities, including ritual, iconic and artistic practices, as well as children’s games and interactions between animals. Reflecting on art, Gadamer has identified play as an integral part of the dynamic ontology of art – in other words, the artistic work emerges from and “speaks” through the dialogic movement of play portrayed by the art piece and its engaged participants.[8]

As we have already emphasised in the reflection of Shemov’s opus, without freedom there will be no play in art and consequently there will be no movement. Art without play, to paraphrase Hegel, is truly “the end of art”.

Generally in play – equally in artistic play – we recognise the “primary experience of rationality in conforming to the self-imposed rules, for example to the identity of the very thing which we are attempting to replicate”. So too Shemov creates his own rules by which “he plays”, creating the piece and inspiring the observer to interpret the piece by the same or similar modes.

Another interesting aspect in Gadamer’s theory is the use of the term play as critique of the overly emphasised modern aesthetic of the artist’s subjectivity, performers and engaged participants. That is to say, in order to understand the artistic piece and its play, the focus should not be on the intention or the subjective emotions of the artist, or the “internal” subjective experiences of the performers or spectators. Gadamer states on the latter: “that object” of experience of art, what shall remain and persist, isn’t the subjectivity of the person experiencing the art, rather the piece itself. This is the point where the existence of play becomes significant”.[9] In other words, Gademer’s hermeneutic aesthetic rejects the subjective perspective or focus, and instead begins with the movement of play of the play itself and thus expands the movement of play of the art work. Those who venture into this play – movement, capture so to speak a “space” of simultaneous play and playing, create and creating (something new).

“The true object of the play or game [des Spieles]… isn’t the player, rather it is the play itself [das Spiel selbst]. The play captures the player with its magic, it captivates him and keeps him in it”.[10]

[8] Cynthia R. Nielsen. “Gadamer on Play and the Play of Art”. 3.5.2021. 139. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.25632.51200.

[9] Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method. Second revised edition, translation revised by Joel

Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall. New York: Bloomsbury. 2013. 107.

[10] Ibid. 111.

AuthorAna Frangovska
2023-10-01T12:01:18+00:00 September 9th, 2023|Categories: Exhibition, Gallery, Blesok no. 151|Comments Off on ALL THE TIME IS NOW