April 26 - May 13, 2018. “OTHER SHORES”. Exhibition project in the “MANEGE” Central Exhibition Hall
Other Shores is an exhibition that looks at the opportunities to preserve and transfer experience and knowledge through personal notes, maps and routes, and at the mechanics of memory formation. The exposition is driven by the idea of psychogeographic free floating where the familiar urban and liminal spaces show their hidden side by incorporation into mazes of memories of places or events. The exhibition displays works that attempt to process the seminal changes underway in today’s world. The reality constituted in installations, videos, paintings and sculptures is presented as a mosaic pattern of historic observations, personal experiences and fragments of the collective memory.
The title is a reference to a number of cultural narratives. This is Nabokov's autobiography that covers different episodes of the author's childhood and transition to adulthood, his travels between the continents. The locations of Moscow and St Petersburg is another important connection. Both capitals are built on rivers, but their relations with the riverside landscape are different. Unlike St Petersburg, the river location of Moscow appears to be secondary and does not define the city, and Moscow itself is the “other shore” relative to St Petersburg—culturally, politically and socially.
Another important layer of meanings is that “OTHER SHORES” imply a certain movement towards a new reality—a social reality that we deem familiar but seen from a different perspective—it makes you think of the differences and experience excitement about the future, anticipation of change, and sometimes fear and anxiety of losing control over technology and our daily lives. These feelings manifest most clearly in artistic projects since artists have always operated from a distance from their environment, be it a critical or utopian perspective. The projects at the exhibition mostly deal with the experience of a new reality or transition into this reality as seen through urban life and visions of its transformation.
The underlying idea of psychogeographic free floating reflects a potential way to comprehend this new reality: without strict rational categorization and conceptualization, but through emotional engagement, mosaic perception of individual detail or focus on the process itself. Yet, there are identifiable formal aspects that tie these projects together. The experience of travel—by necessity or by choice—to a new location, towards “other shores.” While Alexander Vinogradov’s work document geographic transfer from one capital to the other, the works by Pavel Otdelnov, Gyungsu An, Alexander Yakut depict a transitional space: outskirts, vacant land plots and roads. A considerable proportion of the works focus on the destination—the city and its residents related to the public and personal space configurations. The emergence of these configurations is largely determined by the practices of observing each other and the corresponding physical structure of the practices realized in architecture. This dimension is addressed by street artists in installation Windows. Unlike the usual windows, this kind does not provide any glimpse into the lives of people inside but show the inner worlds of the artists. An important aspect is that works by Alexander Brodsky are incorporated into the installation, who is an artist and an architect and takes structuring and constructing spaces personally and not as a public function.
Many authors prioritize the internal side of the boundary between the personal and public. The disproportionality of these two realms can be seen in works by artists who observe people in large cities. Except for Alexey Vasilyev, who treats each character as a story, personality and a wholistic product of circumstance, the works by Nikolay Onishchenko, Keito Yamaguchi and others focus on the collective subjective—protest and urban crowds. Subjectivity as agency is directly linked to the current commemorative practices: total painting installation To Bravery by Dubossarsky and Vinogradov explores the memory of the WW2 victory, one of the central sources of the collective Russian memory.
Recycle Group approach the oblivion issue and remembering practices from a different angle, the artists equate the modernity with deep past, both of which can be studied exclusively with archeological approaches. Applying this “archeological” lens to the modern world reveals that the function of individual memory is performed by different technologies. The subjectivity falls prey to technological progress that is accompanied by paranoia and risks of major disasters stemming from data and information. This is projection of a future world that has already penetrated the present reality.