Art and Media Research

Public defence in Art Education, MA Bogdan Chernyakevich


This dissertation explores the theory of illusion as developed by the art historian Ernst Gombrich, and the application of this theory to the analysis of art in a post-computational society. The dissertation analyzes and reassesses Gombrich's theoretical research in the context of the contemporary image-making, where advanced technologies clothe the concepts of reality and illusion in new forms of visual experience. The research connects Gombrich's ideas with current perceptions of reality and illusion. 

Figure. Projection of side circles on the drawing plane is wider than the central one being closer to the point of view.

MA Bogdan Chernyakevich will defend the thesis "Reassessing Gombrich’s Theory of Illusion for the 21st Century."

Opponent: Dr. Alena Alexandrova, Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Custos: Prof. Bassam El Baroni, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Art and Media

This study addresses the gap in the theoretical validity and understanding of shifts in the artistic, techno-social, and political environment, in which illusions of modern technologies are becoming our new reality. This exploration includes the literature and theories of various authors, including the critical theory of Chiara Bottici. In addition, the thesis discusses the complex dichotomy of the real and the illusionary, and it aims to link different theoretical views with the empirical experience of art. In this context, the study synthesizes a broader understanding of the problem that Gombrich tried to solve in his famous work, Art and Illusion, in which the evolutionary processes of art were viewed through the lens of illusion. 

The dissertation presents a new understanding of the theory of illusion. It extends this framework to such modern phenomena as deepfakes, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) as part of a larger process originating in the formation of visual art.

Thesis available for public display at:

12 May, 2023 at 12:00 

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Art and Media
Lecture hall M1, Otakaari 1, Espoo

Online via Zoom,

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