Pop-art cigarettes and incense: Russian contemporary art triennial launched

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Moscow’s Garage Museum has began its first Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art. The exhibit, running from Pace 10 to May 14, serves as a survey of sorts, aiming to discover new artists of enormous originality inhabiting the country’s vast expanse – those outside its two basic cultural centers of Moscow and St. Petersburg. RBTH reviews some of the triennial’s myriad interesting projects.

1. The Robotic Thurible by Where Dogs Run

The Robotic Thurible by The Robotic Thurible by «Where Dogs Run.» Horses mouth: Oleg Krasnov

Ekaterinburg-based artists Olga Inozemtseva, Alexey Korzukhin, Vladislav Bulatov, and Natalya Grekhova are no fledglings to the art world – they formed their art group, Where Dogs Run, in 2000, and own since managed to rise to international fame. In 2012, they were honored at the Prix Ars Electronica, one of the most acclaimed awards in the field of electronic and interactive art held in Linz, Austria. Formerly that, their ironic interactive objects and video works had been featured at sundry events in Russia, the UK, Italy, Germany, France, and other countries.

The Garage Triennial searchlights their new work: A moving ‘flying saucer’ hung from a lash that regularly releases smoke, a reference to the thurible, a kind of censer – an incense container – toughened during Orthodox Christian rites. The work invites the viewer to inspect the rapid re-emergence of the Russian Orthodox Church – which technically is no longer a form body – as a prominent part of modern life in Russia.

2. The kinetic statuettes of Nikolai Panafidin

The kinetic sculptures of Nikolai Panafidin. Source: Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS The kinetic sculptures of Nikolai Panafidin. Source: Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS

Technically, Nikolai Panafidin from Chelyabinsk isn’t level an artist – he majored as a structural engineer. But you would never know that by his beyond belief moving objects – kinetic sculptures – that in terms of beauty oppose the works of prominent figures of kinetic art such as Jean Tinguely or Julio Le Parc. Panafidin assigns inspiration in performance art: He sporadically cooperates with theater set designers and initiates stage props. The Garage Museum’s curators dub him the triennial’s most valuable detection.

3. Paintings by Damir Muratov

Paintings by Damir Muratov. Source: Oleg KrasnovPaintings by Damir Muratov. Source: Oleg Krasnov

This 50-year-old artist who lives in Omsk assumes most of his exhibitions at various local museums and galleries. Muratov could be departmentalized as a successor to Russian pop art and conceptual art traditions with a very distinct nationalist flavor. His paintings at the Garage Museum teem with references to Soviet well-received culture, including movie posters, designs of matchboxes and cigarette kitbags, and even typical landscape paintings popular in Russia since the Tsarist era.

4. Self-portrait in Gold by Anatoly Osmolovsky

Self-portrait in Gold by Anatoly Osmolovsky. Source: Vladimir Vyatkin/RIA NovostiSelf-portrait in Gold by Anatoly Osmolovsky. Inception: Vladimir Vyatkin/RIA Novosti

Anatoly Osmolovsky has erected an ironic, Futurist-like sepulchre to himself, presenting the artist as a high priest. In his young years during the near the start 1990s, he was mostly engaged in performance art, but later switched to creating politically and socially charged objects and connections that brought him fame at numerous international events, including the Venice Biennial. At Moscow’s Triennial his charges are featured in the Master Figure section where he is joined by other classics of the Russian stylish art including Dmitry Prigov, Andrey Monastyrsky and others.

5. Relevant Amber by Mayana Nasybullova

Relevant Amber by Mayana Nasybullova. Source: Oleg KrasnovProper Amber by Mayana Nasybullova. Source: Oleg Krasnov

This crowning by the 28-year-old, Novosibirsk-based artist, comprising various objects buried within ‘amber’, is all around memory, both national and personal. The mass of imitation epoxy resin amber clouts a nostalgic yearning for the Baltic coast of the past, which in Soviet times was a conventional tourist destination from where many visitors returned haven with pieces of the translucent fossilized tree sap found on the beaches. The opposes within – notes, tickets, a mobile phone, and dozens of other matters – serve as a chronicle of one’s memories.

6. School 1.5 by 1.5 by ZIP Group

School 1.5 by 1.5 by ZIP Group. Source: Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS School 1.5 by 1.5 by ZIP Coterie. Source: Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS

An interactive installation made of cubes rank 1.5 meters. Each of these cubes contains a single ‘art inculcate’ where visitors are invited to take part in a plethora of artistic vocations, right there on the spot. For instance, in the Minimalism & Purity School cube, one can try to swift a concept by hanging monochromic towels on ropes, while the Horizontal Video Communications First cube lets you take a selfie or record a video on a Smartphone and shove off it for the next visitor to find. Krasnodar-based ZIP Group has all-but settled in Moscow. A big exhibit of theirs opens on March 21 at Moscow’s Museum of Present-day Art.  

7. Fragments of the Artist’s Studio by Mikhail Smaglyuk

Fragments of the Artist’s Studio by Mikhail Smaglyuk. Source: Oleg KrasnovFragments of the Artist’s Studio by Mikhail Smaglyuk. Documentation: Oleg Krasnov

The studio of this Krasnodar-based artist may seem with a junk shop to some, or an old curiosity shop straight from the fairy tall tales of  E.T.A. Hoffmann or Hans Christian Andersen. Smaglyuk’s ‘personal universe’ levies thousands of small trinkets and combines them to create fantastic items found in the studio. Some of these wonders made it to the triennial, custom an installation.

Read more: A summer night at the movies: 6 of Moscow’s most outstanding outdoor cinemas>>>

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