4 Dec 2021—13 Mar 2022

The festival-conference Shock and Fame focuses on an analysis of extreme emotional reactions to art.

The conference will look into various forms of vandalism and other types of extreme reactions to art and, more broadly, to visual images. The idea of the project arose as a response to Ragnar Kjartansson’s video installation Terrible, Terrible, created specifically for the exhibition To Moscow! To Moscow! To Moscow! In it, the artist refers to the history of the attacks on Ilya Repin’s canvas Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581. The extreme degree of emotional experience when confronted with art and the accompanying shock reactions have not only become a motif in Kjartansson’s work but are also the subject of study in many areas of the humanities. The participation of researchers from different disciplines in the Shock and Fame festival will allow visitors at GES-2 to become acquainted in more detail with the multi-level narrative of the Santa Barbara season.

However, the scope of the event will be much broader. Russian and foreign sociologists, philosophers and historians will discuss how visual images manifest their emotional power.

In addition to vandalism and manifestations of obsessive behaviour provoked by aesthetic experience, Shock and Fame refers to the phenomenon of iconoclasm — the drive to destroy icons and, in a broad sense, any work of art, as well as to the foundations of memorial politics, revisionist processes and the dismantling of established symbolic systems displaying different beliefs.

Ragnar Kjartansson, Terrible, Terrible, 2021