3,14 is very pleased to be able to present a suite of six video works by the three distinct Russian artist Victor Alimpiev, Polina Kanis and Elena Kovylina. The works will make us think and reflect about current situations and about the future. At the same time the past is present as a back drop in the works. In today´s post-Soviet era artists are exploring and defining a national Russian identity still in the making, and investigating its place in the globalized world. Performative aspects are another common denominator in this exhibition, as it is an intricate and integral part in all six works.
Victor Alimpiev directs all attention in Weak Rot Front on the person, but this person is not exposed as an individual but always as part of a group. This is achieved through a minimum of action, monotone gestures and by means of close-ups. The carefully choreographed performance resembles collective rituals where a mouldable mass forms a living sculpture, which reacts to its surrounding space. In Alimpiev´s highly concentrated and formalist works, he investigates the subtleties of human expression, its awkward moments, habits, and the relationship of the individual to the collective.
Polina Kanis videos Celebration, Formal Portrait and The New Flag are all staged videos recording situations in which she raises highly relevant issues of culture and the use and/or abuse of power. The artist creates provocative situations and suggests strategies, but allows events to develop on their own, so many of her works blur the line between the stages, performative and artistic documentation. Celebration touches upon the issue of communication and relationships of society and personality, while in The New Flag the relationship between representation of any ideological form and the mechanism of its creation. In Formal Portrait the deconstruction of traditional practice and culture on one hand and of powerful ideological demonstration on the other.
Elena Kovylina’s two projects from the Égalité series are brutal satires on democracy in contemporary society today. It creates a clear image of the many double standards in post-Soviet society, developing the idea of the “Procrustean bed,” that is, a norm that will cause the individual unavoidable pain when he or she tries to fit in. Égalité can be seen as an octave poem of people, rhymed in four-legged stools, demonstrating the impossibility of any global “golden age” of equality and freedom. The stools’ legs have been cut to measure, so that the people standing on them are all on one level. The resulting “horizon” is illusory to the extreme, and has nothing in common with reality.
*The exhibition title freely translated from the Norwegian book by Norhdal Grieg “Ung må verden ennu være.” The story explores the tension between faith in the future and fear of the past affects, and causes for an acceptance of extreme measures.
Victor Alimpiev film, Courtesy of Regina Gallery, Moscow. Equipment support BEK.