Daniel Muzyczuk on Vladimir Tarasov
29 Oct 2018.

Daniel Muzyczuk on Vladimir Tarasov

…They reshuffle with leaps of some time, or reshuffle with leaps of distance,

They reshuffle with leaps of some time, or reshuffle with leaps of distance…

Gastr del Sol

The capacity of the brain to organise time into more or less equal parts arranged in sequence, is one of the basic abilities which enables the human being to make sense of the world. But this function has counterparts – the sense of symmetry operates in a similar way for sight, and the sense of rhythm for hearing. These rules also govern the bodily experience, with the heartbeat and breathing as well as with the basic symmetry of the left and right sides of the anatomy. If, as some claim, music was born out of the attempt to externalize the beating of the heart, then drumming would be the substance of any musical activity. No wonder that a drummer’s ear can be sensitive to even the most minute and concealed repetitions.

For German vitalist and philosopher Ludwig Klages, rhythm became the basis of all other reasoning. Influenced by the discoveries of machines capable of turning waves into inscriptions, he never ceased seeing patterns which signified a higher order everywhere: “Typical plant-forms recur in certain classes of animal as they do in the contours of the Earth itself. Who can be unaware of the similarities between the rhythmical branching of the tree and the ramifying of the great river networks, or the tree-like ramification of the human nerve-centres!” This thinker, connected with Lebensphilosophie, was known mainly for his 1923 book, Das Wessen des Rhythmus (The Nature of Rhythm), in which he laid out a dualistic worldview where cadence, metre or tempo is opposed to rhythm – that, in Klages’ eyes, was a force that existed in biological and organic processes and was not based on the repetition of identical intervals of time.


Vladimir Tarasov photo by Vadim Zaharov
Vladimir Tarasov. Photo (c) Vadim Zakharov

Cultural cadences interfere with the process of the synchronization of biological rhythms, and hence they cause arrhythmia and suffering. This logic is naturally based on the simple opposition between culture and nature which, with the rise of industry, was at the core of teleological disputes. Bodies adapted to live in cities and to work in conditions determined by machines, are unable to keep themselves whole and are always condemned to be split into two parts: one longing for synchronization with inner bodily flows and the pulses of the universe, and the other enslaved by work, society, and economy.

Vladimir Tarasov. Gobustan. 2009. Still from video installation (c) Vladimir Tarasov

Vladimir Tarasov is a unique artist, capable of reconciling seemingly opposing forces. He records or rouses the natural rhythms and overlays them with highly organised and repetitive structures. Machinic tempo and organic rhythm are synchronized in an intermedia exercise. The symmetry of the visual layer is emphasized by sounds from different percussive instruments. The drummer organises the otherwise loose elements. One more feature is employed to complete the cycle: the artist utilizes the loop – a basic tool in audiovisual art which creates the appearance of eternal return. Both video works Gobustan (2009) and Kyklos (2010) reach the point of meditation at the deeper levels of time consciousness through this invention, which is used in galleries to produce the impression that an audiovisual installation is there for its own sake, rather than merely waiting for the beholder’s eye. The cycle will still be there when all of us will finally leave the room. There is an ambiguity to this feeling. The world will go on after we are gone. We are able only to organise minute chunks of it. However, the works of Tarasov are also filled with a more joyful feeling. They are there to convince the beholder that the arrhythmia caused by contemporary culture can be resolved, and inanimate tempos and biological rhythms can be synchronized. The branching of a tree or the sound of a rock can refocus the passing of time, and recalibrate the sense of passing moments into something on the scale of the era of mountain formation, at least in a brief instant of bliss, when organised time allows for a moment of release, and meditation on the deep, geological time.

There is a drumming of submerged

engines, a beat of propellers.

The ears are water. The feet


William Carlos Williams

Text written by Daniel Muzyczuk in October 2018

Daniel Muzyczuk is a writer and curator. He is a Head of Modern Art Department at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Poland and was part of the curatorial team (2008-2011) at the CoCA in Toruń. He curated numerous projects, among others: Long Gone Susan Philipsz, CoCA, Toruń, 2009; Gone to Croatan (with Robert Rumas); CoCA, Toruń; HMKV, Dortmund, 2008-2011; Mariusz Waras and Krzysztof Topolski. Factory, CoCA, Toruń, 2009; Views 2011, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, 2011; and Sounding the Body Electric (with David Crowley), Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź; Calvert 22, London, 2012-2013. He is the winner (together with Agnieszka Pindera) of the Igor Zabel Competition in 2011. Co-curator of the exhibition of Konrad Smoleński for Polish Pavillion for the 55th Venice Biennale (with Agnieszka Pindera). AICA member. Co-curator of the exhibition Notes from the Underground Art and alternative music in Eastern Europe 1968–1994 at Muzeum Sztuki (2017) and Akademie Der Kunste in Berlin (2018).

Text copyright: Daniel Muzyczuk. ‘Water Music’ installation. 1992. Photo copyright: Gintautas Trimakas
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