Nikita Kavryzhkin MFA

Master-Thesis: "Atmosphere and aura of surroundings, particularly works of art."

Supervision: Prof. Ute Eitzenhöfer, Prof. Theo Smeets

"For a long time, I have been trying to understand what, for me, is the most important in the perception of different types of art, design objects and the world around in general. It is easy to see that when the focus is on the result of artistic work the traditional concepts of aesthetics are often not enough to talk about a work of art. By traditional concepts of aesthetics, I mean - color harmony, composition, proportions, etc. Despite the fact that the above concepts are extremely essential for my creative activity and are a kind of structural basis, I have come to understand the utmost importance of such phenomena as the atmosphere and the aura, which are, of a kind, in another plane of concepts, not empirical, but transcendental.


The concept of Aura was introduced into aesthetic theory in the early 20th century by Walter Benjamin and can be considered a precursor to the concept of Atmospheres. The concept of atmospheres, in turn, was introduced by philosopher Gernot Böhme, who proclaims it as a fundamental concept of the new aesthetics.

In addition to a number of philosophers concerned with the phenomenology of the atmosphere, a notable interest in this topic has arisen among architects. Most famous architects working on this subject are Peter Zumthor and Juhani Pallasmaa.


The most representative and effective example of creating atmospheres in which all building elements of atmosphere (such as space, sound, smell, light and shadow etc.) are involved is a church atmosphere (even outside the Christian tradition and interpretation). Moreover, the example of the church atmosphere, namely the atmosphere of the sublime, is a suitable one because it has much in common with the effect evoked by the most touching works of art.

Therefore, the main and desired vector, in which I am developing my work is the creation of sublime atmospheres. The most attractive, and the key factor in achieving this effect would be the image of close-to-distant, in all its manifestations, starting directly from physical farness, of distance and ending with time distance (images of different epochs reverberating in the space of our consciousness), and the image of distance as in of cultic inaccessibility, mystery and obscurity. The main characteristic of the atmosphere of the sublime, would be the ability to generate intimacy through distance. The constant loss of oneself in space, both physical and mentally simulated (the distant) while at the same time identifying oneself by casting one's gaze on being and existence (the close) is the principle by which the atmosphere of the sublime functions."

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