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Carte Blanche to Denis Maksimov


Art and power go hand in hand along the whole period of the history of civilisation. Aesthetics was employed by the institutions of authority, political and religious, for communication of ideology. Mystification of power provided obedience, loyalty and stability of political order for thousands of years. In Ancient Egypt pharaohs and Roman emperors associated themselves with gods, European royalty was ‘blessed’ by institutionalised in church mystical social order. Aesthetics provided essential grounding and served political authority until the art individualised its impact and turned into independent political actor itself. Malevich called for revolution in visual perception in the Manifesto of Suprematism, while Bertolt Brecht tried to politicise art in order to turn it into an active agent of social change. Suddenly aesthetics earned the position of freedom from the narrative of political contextualisation. Curated by Denis Maksimov, the programme "Aesthetics of Power" features a selection of notable works from both of these subjective periods of aesthetico-political dialogue. The first part of the programme features notable artworks and masterpieces that represent the period when glorification of political power was an essential function of artistic production. The second part features the contemporary video artworks that challenge the position of political institutions and power hierarchies via calling the viewers to contemplate on the very essence of the socio-political system we are inhabiting. Participating artists Amir Yatziv, Sara Tirelli and Elena Mazzi, Caterina Pecchioli and Benjamin Verhoeven About the curator Denis Maksimov is an aesthetico-political theorist, critic and strategist; co-founder of Avenir Institute, associate curator at Harlan Levey Projects gallery, political advisor at the Eurasia Institute and art editor/director of The Brussels Times Magazine.

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