‘Alternative Dimensions’ NFT-Collection - Memory Lapse

Oct 14, 2022 2:26PM

Breezy is curating the ‘Alternative Dimensions’ NFT-Collection for the ArtTech platform V-Art and the Andrey Sheptytsky National MuseumEach week we will present one of the museum's masterpieces involved in the project through articles dedicated to deepening the theme of the preservation of memory and its historical-artistic testimonies.

In this life, we are just passing through. Brief, shining glimmers destined to fade, bodies exposed to the inevitable corrosive action of time. In the cyclical alternation of the seasons, we are footprints on Earth: more or less visible traces in the memory of those who shared part of their journey with us. In rare cases, a virtuous life is remembered for generations, its story handed down, and its legacy becomes the heritage of humanity. In even more exceptional cases, souls of indescribable sensitivity and complexity, the artists, capture the fragilities of their own time or step into the depths of an uncertain future. The artists challenge the present time to reach into the future, often relying on material media and artistic techniques that are less persistent than their ideas. Yet our need to feel part of a larger design and not lonely, accidental souls makes a strong case for preserving memory, in all its manifestations, by seeking confrontation and dialogue with the past.

Do we still recognize ourselves in art history? Can we sustain a gaze and allow ourselves to look without shame? And to reach out to almost forgotten memories? Are we still able to embrace and allow ourselves to be embraced? Do we have sufficient respect for the earth we tread and all its invisible footprints?

Olexander Arkhipenko (1887-1964), Act, Sheptytsky National Museum

There are moments, feelings and people in life that we will never forget. "Man is a social animal," wrote Aristotle, who by nature and survival seeks aggregation with his fellows, observes their habits and behaviors with a physiognomic approach: the study of physical and aesthetic traits is decisive for partner choice and survival of the species.

From the earliest moments of life, we set landmarks to orient ourselves in the world, creating a core of memories, the driving center of our identity.

All new information we come in contact with through the senses is transferred from one neuron to another, creating synapses, the survival of which is linked to the process of encoding, that is, reinforcing and repeating this connection. The process of forming a memory is not so different from social dynamics, in which the continuation of a relationship is the result of the desire of the parties to nurture it: the moment one neuronal cell sends signals to another, the initial synapse between the two is strengthened, and the greater the intensity of this exchange, the stronger the connection becomes. Only consolidated information passes to long-term memory, where it can remain for a lifetime, stored in complex patterns of nerve cells that are susceptible to evolution and change over time. Memory, in fact, is a vibrant and dynamic archive, constantly being updated, subject to the action of time. Not surprisingly, the mind is often populated with images that are unclear, blurred or manipulated by experience. The memory is present, but its contours are lost (or redrawn).

Thus the image of a female body with a softly blurred line recalls in everyone the memory of a loved one, a beloved one, a forbidden desire, that desire to feel welcomed, a moment of intimacy. The outline of the body is clear, we can recognize it, though not sharp, because it is part of our established store of knowledge. The history of this figure belongs to the intimate consciousness of the individual, who can imagine its evolutions in the past and future of his own history. Alexander Archipenko, with this drawing, gives us the memory of his years in Paris, as a constant presence in the Salons des Indépendants between 1910 and 1920, where he shared artistic fortune with the Cubist group. His experiments concern painting as much as sculpture, polymaterism and the search for movement as an alternation of full and empty volumes, bodies that let air and light pass through them. Solutions that, once again, bring to mind images from the past, such as statuettes depicting paleolithic Venuses (I am thinking of the opulence of the Venus of Willendorf, 23,000-19,000 B.C.), with a "steatopigo" body, a kind of body with a forced lumbar tilt that accentuates the natural curves of the female body.

Memory (collective or individual) evolves and changes over time, as does artistic consciousness, which is destined to endure forever.

Serena Nardoni, Art Historian and Editor