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House on the Embankment

Moscow, Russia

Curator: Andrey Parshikov

 

Artists: Alexander Obrazumov, Antonina BaeverDmitry FedorovShifra Kazhdan

There is one simple and obvious idea about ​​art in Moscow and the rest of Russia. Due to numerous legislative restrictions, the number of topics and research subjects available for local artist study is limited. The more current and radical themes, which are important for artists working in less restrictive countries, are not accessible here. On one hand, this is a banal discussion, on the other, it’s a hot topic. Especially as under the conditions of this repressed reality, radical research yields intended allusions that give way to a more informative and contemporary way of making art, rather than a univocal and primitive one.

 

In this exhibition, there is a common theme that can be described as queer commentary. It is mostly concerned not with the rights and lives of gender and sexual minorities, but with the situation of queer art in general, with an attempt to analyze its capabilities and to find the most appropriate language for the description of such artistic research in Russia. There are no works that are directly related to LGBT activism on display as this project is not about spreading the voice of minority groups.

 

It’s interesting for the artists to look at the art itself and to understand what is queer art (instead of LGBT activism) today, within the framework of the repressed reality from one end, and from the post-internet viewpoint of “general awareness” from the other end.

 

That`s why the title refers to the «Philosophical investigations» by Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most famous works about text and its logical constructs. It was also the name of Bruce Nauman`s renowned exhibition of early works, which also paved the way for contemporary conceptual art for the next several years.

 

It's not the first time the four artists shown have worked with queer commentary. However, their approaches to this exhibition are individual, and in accordance with the methodology of their artistic strategies.

 

Alexander Obrazumov and Antonina Baever work with the reality of digital dualism, with text, and with certain cultural codes of communities. Their works for the project "The Rose has no teeth" are of a similar practice, but their critical reference addresses different issues.

 

A. Obrazumov`s «White Male Art» raises questions about the possibility of queer commentary in a language determined by a white, male dominated society in the art of XX century. It is a neon sign that hides the system of contemporary art institutions, produced, in one way or another, by the art of the White Male.  Antonina Baever`s work Transatlancyxa plays with "trans-Atlantic" and the slang term “transuha” meaning “tranny” or "fag" in Russian.

This poststructuralist joke raises the issues connected with cultural migration and national borders, and even the nature of queer commentary.


Dmitry Fedorov`s Installation talks about neuroses caused by repression and the inability to make direct declarations and clear LGBTIQ statements, due to the surrounding circumstances, but also because of their banality and the level of commercialization tied to them.

 

The work of queer artist Shifra Kazhdan is a commentary on her own childhood trauma associated with the death of the leader and the awareness of the moment when she rethinks her own gender. This work traces the experience of this trauma and its consequences for her in the Soviet and Post - Soviet state.


A year ago, during the interview with Maria Lind, I asked her: “Maria, you were one of the revolutionaries of contemporary art who brought it to the institutional and educational level. What future do you see for contemporary art?" And she promptly replied: “Now in art, it will the queer commentary that will be most important.” With this, we are all in agreement.

A Rose Has no Teeth

04   /   04   /   2016