ASTRA
contemporary art gallery
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A Moebius Loop

a-s-t-r-a х SPRING/BREAK Art Show NY20

March 3-9 2020

625 MADISON AVENUE New York

ROOM 1156

a-s-t-r-a is pleased to announce its participation at SPRING/BREAK Art Show in New York on March 3-9, 2020 with a special project.

The project Moebius Loop, curated by Anna Evtiugina and Alina Kryukova, features works by Dima Hunzelweg, Maria Agureeva and Graham Akins.

“There is a God-shaped hole in human consciousness, where the divine had always been but had disappeared, leaving an emptiness behind.”
– Jean-Paul Sartre

“Black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole, both to the outside, and possibly to another universe. So if you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up. There’s a way out.”
– Stephen Hawking

Every human is a microcosm that tries to comprehend and mirror a macrocosm that is the Universe, at the same time rendering an explanation for it in course of an infinite reflection resembling a Moebius loop. It represents a void that invariably requires an ever-busy filling and exploration. This void that we all have to carry inside ourselves is ambivalent. On the one hand, it is a black hole that always requires filling, always craves for more. Sip by sip, it drains our lives, sucking all the energy of creation dry. This process results in invincible entropy, an eternal nothing. On the other hand, it is a bridge connecting a person with the Platonic world of ideas, a world of awareness and understanding that we are more than what we consume, much more than this hole of overconsumption.

Simulacra, illusions disguised as facts of real life, numerous interpretations, Deleuzian copies, and total replication are the toils of the 21st century we got caught ourselves in. Still, the dread before the Universe fills our minds. It can be a reflection of this beautiful gigantism with all its ambitious plans and futuristic dreams. Nevertheless, the attractiveness of the unknown, the urge to interact and the fear of silence, make a quest for self-awareness a new Odyssey, possibly opening up a new reality for new humans. The energy of human life and consciousness is a creative force that fights entropy, chaos, decay and death, this overflowing amount of the dead, which should be put to an end.

Exploring how outer ‘less’ requires inner ‘more’, Dima Hunzelweg’s extremely eye-catching and skin-friendly wall objects are results of an extremely meticulous and time-consuming working process. He expands the boundaries of art and media both literally and metaphorically. In terms of form, his paintings transcend the limits of a flat pictorial image. Through the use of wider stretchers, they morph into wall objects blurring the distinction between painting and sculpture, between 2D and 3D dimensions.

Driven by such questions as how many restrictions can be put on a human body by fashion and entertainment related industries and how natural and artificial can coexist in a framework of a single object, Maria Agureeva creates enigmatic and painfully sensual works of art. She explores the relationships between the human body and nature, between real and fake. Can the surrogate substitute the ‘real’ if we are not able to distinguish between what is real and what is not anymore? The lines are getting blurred, and nothing seems intentionally artificial and we take it as a norm.

Graham Akins deals with our complicated relationship to reality, simulation, and how technology mediates the depiction of the external world. Using photography, video, 3D modeling and sculpture, the artist creates large multimedia installations. They play with notions of objecthood, the uncanny valley, our understanding of otherness and contemporary methods of image-making. Recent projects include investigations into the aestheticization of trash, experimental wildlife documentaries that explore the quality of our relationships to other minds and found object sculptural video combines that abstract materials into simulated forgeries of themselves.

Working in XR, video and photography Nikita Shokhov focuses on the duality of human nature: body and mind, science and religion, sexuality and politics. In “Scan” project, he goes beyond the boundaries of traditional “direct” photography, but at the same time remains in the field of documentary. The slit scanning technique applied in the presented series of works cracks onto the phenomenon of mass processions and allows the viewer to see the 4th dimension - the dimension of time - that the human eye would not normally see.

 

Akins Graham

Graham Akins is an artist who works with print, sculpture, video, and installation to address cultural and philosophical issues regarding nature as an abstract ideal, the hard problem of animals as other minds, the limits of human knowledge, and the aesthetics of representationalism within computer graphics and 3D scanning.

Graham Akins is an artist who works with print, sculpture, video, and installation to address cultural and philosophical issues regarding nature as an abstract ideal, the hard problem of animals as other minds, the limits of human knowledge, and the aesthetics of representationalism within computer graphics and 3D scanning.

His work draws from both the history and critique of Western philosophy, new theories of ontology and ecology, the commodification of wilderness/animals, popular science fiction, and the artistic tradition of absurdism. Graham was born in Texas and lives in Los Angeles, where he has studied photography, media arts, and German and is currently a graduate student in Design Media Arts at UCLA.

EDUCATION

  • 2019 — Currently MFA Candidate in Design & Media Arts at UCLA.
  • 2016-2018 — Post Bachelorette at Pasadena City College.
  • 2003-2007 — BFA in Printmaking at Kansas City Art Institute.

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

  • 2019 — Context Collapse UCLA New Wight Gallery | Los Angeles, California.
  • 2018 — Aggregate at UCLA Broad Art Center | Los Angeles, California.
  • 2018 — Y’all 20 at Amplify Arts | Omaha, NE.
  • 2017 — Brink at Self Help Graphics | Los Angeles, California.
  • 2015 — Back to Future 4 at Little Lodge Gallery | San Francisco, California.
  • 2007 — Earth & Ink at Dolphin Gallery | Kansas City, MO.

Agureeva Maria

Maria Agureeva was born in 1985.

Graduated from the St. Petersburg State University of Technology and Design (Department of Graphic Design, 2003-2009), ICA ( Institute of Contemporary Art, Moscow) (2014-2015). The artist works with installations, videos, performances, sculpture. Lives and works in Los Angeles and Moscow.

Maria Agureeva was born in 1985.

Graduated from the St. Petersburg State University of Technology and Design (Department of Graphic Design, 2003-2009), ICA ( Institute of Contemporary Art, Moscow) (2014-2015). The artist works with installations, videos, performances, sculpture. Lives and works in Los Angeles and Moscow.

My main focus as an artist is to show how the body becomes a hybrid space where the materiality of human flesh is connected with individual consciousness and identity. This is driven by the shared desire to alter ourselves to escape social pressure, and by an even greater desire to discover our true shape and inner authenticity.

In my artwork I focus on the tension between what is considered real versus subjective in relation to the human body. I explore social norms of cliched attractiveness, which pushes us to polish our own image just as people polish billions of images on the Internet. There is an inherent conflict between the natural traits of our appearance, imposed artificial standards and our willingness to confront them with absolute truth. This dynamic pushes me to investigate the boundaries behind which the body becomes an object like any other.

I often work with synthetic materials as they provide a reference to my themes of physicality, moving between authenticity and artifice. My artwork stresses the point that body transformation is self referential, archetypal and tribal, now becoming a form of modern secular religion. It leads me to explore the boundaries behind which the body ultimately becomes an object like any other.

I currently am concerned and working with the interaction of the human body and the environment, which I deeply feel is inextricably tied together as one ecology, one synergistic union. Humankind, and artists especially, can no longer turn a blind eye on this problem because of how acutely we have all begun to feel the influence of Nature's changes upon all of us. (Maria Agureeva)

AWARDS AND RESIDENCES

  • 2019 — Ruinart Art Patronat grant
  • 2018 — 18th street arts centre Los Angeles (from August to September).
  • 2018 — Grant from TRUST FOR MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING.
  • 2018 — Winner of the Laguna Art Prize (special prize).
  • 2017 — Residence Unlimited New York (from February to April).
  • 2013 — Nominee of the Kandinsky Prize.

PERSONAL EXHIBITIONS

  • 2019 — Passing, Cosmoscow, Ruinart art patronat, Moscow.
  • 2019 — Dust, Coaxial Arts Foundation, Los Angeles.
  • 2018 — It will always be not enough, Isabelle Lesmeister gallery, Regensburg.
  • 2018 — The dust of Pearl will settle down on soft skin covering all the cracks, Atrium gallery, 18th Street Arts Center, Los Angeles.
  • 2018 — It's possible to imagine what will remain after, Anna Nova Gallery, Saint-Petesburg.
  • 2018 — Dust, Electrozavod gallery, Moscow.
  • 2015 — Binary promises, Parallel program of the 6-th Moscow biennale of contemporary art, Pechersky Gallery, Moscow.
  • 2014 — Gardens of compromises, Museum Erarta, Saint-Petersburg.
  • 2013 — Those Females Who Can Wreck the Infinite, Parallel program of the 5-th Moscow biennale of contemporary art, Pechersky Gallery, Moscow.
  • 2012 — Citius, altius, fortius! Commodification, Project Fabrika together with GridchinHall, Moscow.
  • 2012 — Excavations. Ground 0, GridchinHall, Moscow.
  • 2011 — Formotsvet (Form and Color) series, GridchinHall, Moscow.
  • 2011 — Formotsvet (Form and Color) series, Kadieff Gallery, Helsinki.
  • 2009 — Formotsvet (Form and Color) series, AL Gallery, Saint-Petersburg.

SELECTIVE GROUP EXHIBITIONS

  • 2020 - ENTER Art Fair. Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2020 — Technosphere, Supercollider Gallery x Femmebit, Spring break art show LA, Los Angeles.
  • 2019 — MMOMA 99/19, 20th anniversary exhibition, MMOMA, Moscow.
  • 2019 — Recycle or die, Gum Red line, Moscow.
  • 2019 — The Regenerates, The Nook gallery, Los Angeles.
  • 2017 — Just cause, Black Ball Projects, New York.
  • 2016 — Unofficial laguage, WINZAVOD Contemporary Art Center, Parallel program of the V Moscow International Biennale For Young Art, Moscow.
  • 2016 — All eyes on me, WINZAVOD Contemporary Art Center, Moscow.
  • 2016 — Nominibus Trivialibus, Sinonimis Selectis, Moscow State University's Botanic Garden (the "Apothecary Garden"), Parallel program of the V Moscow International Biennale For Young Art, Moscow.
  • 2015 — Mirrors, MMOMA, Moscow.
  • 2015 — One within the other. Art of new and old media in the age of high-speed internet, MMOMA, Moscow.
  • 2015 — Developing of freedom, Project Fabrika, Moscow.
  • 2013 — I would have not been painting now, Parallel program of the 5-th Moscow biennale of contemporary art, Agency Art.Ru, Moscow.
  • 2013 — State order, WINZAVOD Contemporary Art Center, Moscow.
  • 2012 — Project Cena (Price), Parallel program of the III Moscow International Biennale For Young Art, Agency Art.Ru, Moscow.
  • 2011 — Art in Mind, The Brick Lane Gallery, London.
  • 2010 — Contemporary art festival Psikhonavtika, Saint-Petersburg.
  • 2010 — Resume, All Gallery, Saint-Petersburg.


Works


Untitled
Agureeva Mariya

Untitled, 2020

Burnt bark, synthetic fabric, plastic, seashelles
80 x 50 x 8 cm
Untitled
Agureeva Mariya

Untitled, 2019

Bark (pine), plastic, synthetic fabric, leather, mixed media
87 х 66 х 17 cm
Untitled
Agureeva Mariya

Untitled, 2020

c-print ( Hahnemuhle photo glossy), plastic on c-print
30 х 30 см (46 х 46 см in frame)
27 500 ₽
Untitled
Agureeva Mariya

Untitled, 2019

Bark (pine), plastic, synthetic fabric, mixed media
79 x 53 x 13 cm

Dima Hunzelweg

Dima Hunzelweg was born in 1968 into a family of an artist, thus being introduced to the process of making art in early childhood, on an unconscious level. After acquiring formal artistic education in the 1980s, he intentionally breaks free from academic schooling and figurative approach.

Dima Hunzelweg was born in 1968 into a family of an artist, thus being introduced to the process of making art in early childhood, on an unconscious level. After acquiring formal artistic education in the 1980s, he intentionally breaks free from academic schooling and figurative approach.

Today, he considers himself a self-taught artist whose artistic method was fully formed in the early 2010s, after long-term periods of living, working, self-educating and exhibiting across the globe (including 16 years in New York and 3,5 years in Italy). Expanding the boundaries of art and media both literally and metaphorically, he creates unique wall objects blurring the distinction between painting and sculpture, between 2D and 3D dimensions. 

SELECTED GROUP SHOWS:

  • 2020 - ENTER Art Fair. Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2019 - “Möbius Loop” by a-s-t-r-a gallery, Spring/Break Art Show, New York
    • 2019 - Duo show by a-s-t-r-a, CUBE Moscow
    • 2016 - 70ème Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris, France
    • 2015 - La Biennale internationale d'art non objectif de Pont-de-Claix, Grenoble, France
    • 2015 - Museo Roberto Bilotti Ruggi d'Aragona, Calabria, Italy
    • 2011 - Art Festival No Translation 2, Moscow

    SOLO EXHIBITIONS:

    • 2013 - House at the Embankment, curated by Simon Mraz, Moscow
    • 2012 - Bluemetrix, site-specific installation, curated by Christina Steinbrecher-Phandt, CHA, Moscow
    • 2012 - Public art projects: Russian-Dutch public art project “Building 35 with artist Martin Scholte, Art-Ovrag New Culture Festival, Vyksa

    In the art of Dima Hunzelweg, the material quality of his works plays a pivotal role. Processing certain materials, which mostly come to his attention by pure accident – be it stainless still or neoprene, it serves as an infinite source of inspiration for the artist. Exploring the limits of perfecting each piece by chiseling away the superfluous material. Making a single artwork might take several weeks and months of meticulous and time-consuming preparation. 

    As for the method, Dima Hunzelweg relies on geometry as a source of the clearest outlook. In this regard, his work can be viewed as a new step in a deep-rooted tradition of minimalist art and geometric abstraction. Still, paying such close attention to the physicality of each work does not turn them into simple decorative objects. Using geometry laws to achieve an ideal result, the artist tends to work with fairly simple symmetrical forms that are completely assertive in their visual impact. On the outside, cold math is often concealed behind the eye-catching and often skin-friendly surface, resulting in a mixture of inner perfectionism and outer sensual beauty.

    In a constant quest for exploration, Dima Hunzelweg is often driven by his interest in scientific progress and recent research. Considering art as a non-stop and ever-evolving process, he thinks that accumulating data and knowledge leads to a more elaborate philosophy. Such an approach, when combined with the pursuance of simplicity and perfection leads to the unquestionable approachability of his art from the viewer’s point of view. Unique wall objects by Dima Hunzelweg are equally appealing in terms of form and accessible in terms of ideas. What’s more, they look equally relevant among museum-quality pieces by representatives of a number of artistic movements, be it concrete art, op art, or Russian Suprematism.

    Artist currently lives and works in Moscow and Hamburg.



    Works


    H-900 (Halbkugel)
    Hunzelweg Dima

    H-900 (Halbkugel), 2019

    neoprene, acrylic glass, wood
    900 x 900 x 458 mm
    D-503
    Hunzelweg Dima

    D-503, 2019

    elastan, neoprene, glass, wood
    503 x 503 x 225 mm
    D-1002
    Hunzelweg Dima

    D-1002, 2019

    polyester, steel, plywood
    1002 x 1002 x 295 mm
    D-472
    Hunzelweg Dima

    D-472, 2019

    micro velvet, neoprene, acrylic glass, wood
    472 x 472 x 160 mm

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