Friday, December 03, 2010


the better second edition, refilled with missing pages, exiting as ever 

trying to create the cover for this journal proved to be a Job. I read this difficulty as that the whole thing is not over. I will take a time to edit this into a proper journal, though initially I've intended to make it like a temporary art refuge. To keep work going when there is hardly time and space for it my life.
But now, when I've understood what's that about!...
Basically I am in the middle of the video production which elaborates the same point
- the body culture and... __ totalitarianism.
During the recent visit to the Turner Prize show in Tate I've bought the book by Otolith Group. Thq Quote:
"After all, didn't Courbertin say sport is war reduced to its virtues? This was an extreme example but the fact remains that Greece or at least the idea of Greece has been used to fuel the spirit of totalitarianism and still does now and then. All the more need then to look for that Greek word which is theoretically the safest antidote to totalitarianism: the word democracy."
Probably thinking of this in contemporary Britain is reasonable. When we all should concentrate on Sport, volunteer to Olympics and enjoy the collective as it was highlighted in the Queen's Christmas speech.

Monday, November 29, 2010

After silence and money-work, I have started making my art plans.
The everything is getting more and more precise and plans are about to start coming together.
For now, the last thing I am planning to show in London before leaving for Moscow. It will sustain on high emotional-political states, confused in national tropes, quotations from the ABC book. 

This time I would try to directly mess up very important in non-official oppositional discourse subject of Moscow region forests extermination with post-soviet gender politics. In this mix two points of Russian beauty criss-cross: women and trees.

Woodcutting would be an important destructive (creative or not) gesture of today. It is as Mayakovsky's exercise of love. Quote (in my own translation):
 Love - 
      it means:
               in the depth of yard
        till the rooky night,
flashing with axe,
                        cutting the wood,
         one's own 

Friday, November 12, 2010


DEINEKA BOOK is a series of recent collages, that will be  physically published and reproduced though b&w photocopy, now online version.

This is an attempt to visually express some key blatant concepts around Russian national identity. Mostly those are basic musculine-femenine hyper-sexual metaphors I was keen to engage with since even the finalising the dissertation. My initial protagonists are rhythmic gymnasts (the lovely Alina Kabaeva myth that I am still very passionate about) and missiles. One could argue it is rude. Yeah. Don't care. It is how it is. If one could offer me better things to imagine Russian sexuality, I'd be happy to hear about it. 
Positive development for the work was unexpected, but the whole new step forward was in engagement with the use of my lately beloved Deineka. When I was still a student in Zhukovsky School of Art, my graduation works were told to look like Alexander Deineka's paintings. At that point I did not even knew who was Deineka, but today his sots-realist works make me really consoius of some beauty standards I was maybe brainwashed about. Or just have affection to. Socialist  health and sexuality of power and activity. Extremly seductive. So in this series I was attempting to face it.

I was happy to find approach to older homosexual themes - like in the Kiss drawing-, which are of extreme importance, as Deineka was an artist who produced a huge amount of work about Soviet body. I love the quote from Slava Mogutin:
"In my childhood, I used to masturbate on the Alexander Deineka's painting "Future pilots": two young boys are sitting on seafront, looking up, and the older fellow is pointing at the plane hoovering far in the sky. And they are so concentrated on the plane. Bums and backs are painted with such a care..."
I think Mogutin is one of the important figures to explore Russian sexuality. Most of his early immigration works are highly inspirational. I just like him!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Q-Art convenor discussion largely left the important questions untouched. But lovely people reminded me again - it's all started from the issue of being a Soviet child. And play...
It would be good idea to sit down once and put the things worthy talking about in text.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

just finished the writing for one of the future projects, sorry it is in Russian, if it comes real I promise to translate. For archival purpose of the blog. Just because I like i today.

В этом проекте я хотела бы развить уже существующую работу - перформанс-инсталляцию, показанную ранее в Петербурге с названием Алина (Чистое Искусство).
Идея этого проекта исходит из раннего модернизма,  конструктивистской идеологии объектных отношений. В частности, Родченковской идеи объекта-товарища, помощника в создании будущей коммунистической личности. Реагируя на западное отношение к женщине, как к вещи, он писал, что «свет с Востока» - это помимо освобождения рабочих, так же «новое отношение к человеку, к женщине, и к вещам».  Меня же волнует утопичная попытка реактивации этой идеи в сегодняшнем контексте, создание критической динамики вокруг проблематичного отношения к женщине как к вещи, которое процветает в России на почве коррумпированной морали и безразличия.

В фокусе моей работы - Алина Кабаева – известная гимнастка, красавица, депутат, звезда эротических журналов, телеведущая. Она – суть идеал современной российской женщины. Внешний вид, отражающий вкусы доминирующей культуры. В процессе перформанса легко-порнографичные изображения объективрованного тела Алины будут трансформированы в «чисто-живописные произведения», если говорить языком Малевича. Три стадии перформанса включают в себя игру в ритмическую гимнастику, работу молотком и живописную декомпозицию изображений в абстрактные фигуры. Сам процесс перформанса одинаково важен в сравнении с оставленной после композицией – простота материала и посыла предполагают легкость зрительского понимания произошедшего действия.
Но перформанс и созданная впоследствии  инсталляция – это часть планируемой работы. Пространство не занятое перформансом должно вместить в себя несколько черно-белых ксерокопий разного размера, в основном эротических публично доступных изображений современных государственных «женщин-идеалов», так же некоторые изображения террористок-смертниц, отражающих очередной идеал - но оппозиционной культуры. Концептуально меня здесь интересует тема женской интернализации доминантных мнений (мужской культуры), которая ведет в дальнейшем к их бессознательной амплификации, и таким образом создает монополию на всеобщее восприятие реальности, видение мира через призму одного медиа-идеала.

Так же пространство должно вместить в себя  один или два экрана с проекциями беззвучных видео-изображений Алины Кабаевой, исполняющей упражнения с лентой, мячом, булавами и обручем.  В идеале проекции не видимы зрителю, только входящему в пространство, им надо быть расположенными под потолком, над входом. Они преднамеренны как последняя страница. Эти четыре эпизода необходимы, чтобы создать критическое завершение, смысловой диссонанс между завораживающим танцем гимнастки и изображениями с ксерокопий.  Гимнастка – это утопично-социалистический Дейнековский образ. Алина становится собирательным персонажем, наполненным ностальгическим  чувством. Это средство задать координату времени, направленную то ли на соцреализм то ли на Олимпиаду 2004.

Мой изначальный интерес к метафоричным образам «государственных» женщин, помимо классического феминистского анализа, берет в основу идею о том, что национальный опыт также имеет гендерную составляющую (часто игнорируемую российскими исследователями). В основе моей практики лежит исследование гендерных метафор современной России, их советское прошлое. Но кроме того, частью моего языка довольно часто становятся банальные про-фрейдовские визуализации. И композиция из проекции с уходящей в космос ракетой и деревянным кругом (которая думает занять место в корридоре обозначеннром на плане прощадью в 28 м) - тот случай. Она и завершение, и вступление в спор об объектных отношениях в их гендерном аспекте. Тут метафоричная Алина-ракета (или огромный фаллос) опять вне рамок трансформации совершенной во время перформанса. Вне утопичного художественного жеста.Наличие на зарисовках в файле ведер, древков швабр и половых тряпок объясняются тем, что тема сексуальности в России глубоко связана с темой чистоты (генетической, культурной итд), возможно эксплуатировать эти метафоры. Они чрезвычайно сильны.

Monday, October 18, 2010


А я просто снял рубашку —
Дал солнце народам Меня!
Голый стоял около моря.
Так я дарил народам свободу...
В. Хлебников

i'll do more clever comments later: avantgarde+ranciere
As Chris Woltman commented on the spontaneity of the action, it was a coherent continuation of the performance. Without it the festival would not feel complete. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010


The first experimental edit of the video has just been finished. It is about a young man servicing in Russian Emergency Service military compartment. During the morning preparation for the job we see the man being self-transformed into a State prop through putting on the uniform.
Spontaneously filmed the new shorty film features some traditional things for the Russian national sentimentality - mountain ash which has been considered symbol of Russia, her "bitter" destiny, uniform and war connected content are normally thought to be one of the key features of Russian cinematography.
This sketch is egotistic and transforms traditionally advocated gender roles.

Who's watching? Who's houseworking?

If Alexander (Shurik) could read this: you were marvelous that morning! Thank you for your patience.

Monday, October 04, 2010

ALINA (first shot)

The concept of object as comrade, some general ideas about it, were previously sounded in a different discussions at Goldsmiths, but I have never recorded them in writing. This is what I am planning to do now.

Originally the concept comes from Rodchenko’s ideas that were raised during Phillip Lai’s Artist talk at Goldsmiths in spring 2010. The subject was brought up within the attempt to ontline the difference between two concepts of object-relations. First was Hall Foster’s idea: commodity generates double self: “the phantasmagoric forms of a relation between things and commodities assume the active agency of people. In effect the commodity becomes our uncanny double, evermore vital as we are evermore inert” (Exquisite corpses). The second approach was mentioned in relation to tools of work, Alexander Rodchenko’s idea that object is your comrade. Jesse Heimminger condensed this argument into a few sentences:
Western commodity works to organize desire and construct identities, but it could be working in a subconscious way not transparently. The Constructivists would work with the object to consciously construct identity, society and future. They would do this without serving social relationship between the product and consumer of the object, as Western commodity would by replacing its use value and placing the “market” in the middle. (She speaks about it in her interview, though I remember citing this from the blog, and have not found the right reference.)


According to my experience in research of Soviets, basic culture of USSR was saturated with ideas that originate in Constructivism. For me the idea of object-comrade is important because in USSR there was always a huge appreciation of objects, shoes, good working tools, books; different everyday stuff was hard to get (not speaking about food during Perestroika). I was taught to care about what I own in a certain way that is foreign to the Western society of consumption and big bins. But the next slide of the story is based in Rodchenko’s impressions of his visit to the West, Paris in 1925.

Many aspects of Western culture seemed alien to him, but what touched me most (and made Alina happen) was what in the essay Rodchenko in Paris Christina Kiaer says about Rodchenko’s shock of Parisian woman, she cites Rodchenko’s letters to Varvara Stepanova (may 2, p 19): [I]t seems that only  a man is a person, and women are not people, you can do anything to them – that is a thing.” Constructivism was an alternative.

Constructivism, as both an art movement and philosophy of the relation of people to things, will be the force to liberate both objects and women from their enslaved status under capitalism – both objects and women must become comrades and co-workers in “the new relation to the person, to woman, to things.” (Kiaer)

With this proposition a set of three performative actions was originated. The first action is Miach (Ball), the second is the Hammer, and the third is Alina. Miach is a performance of use of a ball, I play with the ball, and the ball is made to be played with. (Ball-play is also an attempt to play rhythmic gymnast performance.) The poem for children by Marshak (found in the usual Soviet ABC (1988 print)) can be read-aloud though the play  is a poem for the object: “My cheerful, ringing ball, where are you running at a gallop?” –  socialist play with a ball instructs the child on the friendship with the object. The object turns out to be of primary colors: “Red, yellow, blue, I cannot keep pace with you.” I have painted the ball accordingly (and it looks like an illustration of the ball from a book), into the colors of Rodchenko’s monochromes that for him represented The Death of Painting.

The second action, the Hammer is performed with a mantra that is being said on every bang on the nail: “My hammer is my comrade.” What is being hammered? The square frame of wooden blocks.
During the next action, the square made of wood is transformed into the stencil-frame for the black square to be painted over Alina Kabaeva’s naked body.  Initial structure of the performance is accentuated on the use of an object. The ball is for play, the hammer is for hammering, the frame is for framing, the paint - for painting.

The figure of Alina, or the soft-porn image faking her objectified representation (random Internet image) forms the “liberating” context of the action. Alina Kabaeva, title figure, is a Russian ideal-woman with a vivid versatile media bibliography, which includes, rhythmic gymnastics championship and Olympic golden medals, participation in soft-porn industry, celebrity journals and TV shows, participation in the Russian Parliament and the ruling party, at last, rumors about her romance with premier Putin and a mysterious child story. Analysis of this media image is a separate story. I was really touched that Alina Kabaeva and her fellow sportswomen who worked with men’s erotic journals ended up together in the parliament, being just 26 or so.

In my work Alina became a universal symbolic for the condition of Russian woman, signified by her desire for success, her need to care of her looks, her aspiration to be feminine, and her total objectification within the discourse of new Russian capitalism.

In the performance of three actions the last gesture of spray-painting a black square is a climax, moment of “liberation”. Liberation of woman from her objectification, (“her enslaved status under capitalism”), secondly, liberation from figurative. What happens though the spray-moment is a process of decomposition, if one uses Van der Leck’s term. This process was specified by Michael White in De Stijl and Dutch modernism, (2003) (p.20):

…Van der Leck selected standard genre subject (a portrait, a women with cows and a harvesting scene, respectively) and put it though a process of selection, erasure and reduction until it became virtually indistinguishable. He called this manner doorbeelding, […] which approximates something like “decomposition”. (M White, p20)

The creation of the back square in the process is, of course, referential of Malevich, for whom figurative painting was no more than the “rubbish-filled pool of Academic art”. His Suprematist theory, was a theory of supremacy of the pure feeling in art. In an essay From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism, he pronounces: “Only with the disappearance of a habit of mind which sees in pictures little corners of nature, Madonnas and shameless Venuses, shall we witness a work of pure, living art.” Thereafter the process of decomposition, spraying black abstract shape over Alina’s body, is a process of purification; disobjectification, capitalist and sexual liberation. The futurist aspiration of early modernism to art autonomy from the real here turns into a futuristic transformation, or suggestion of transformation of political of the real.

One of the interesting things is that this imbeddedness of ideas within ALINA repeats and reinforces one of the typical tropes of culture of 20s, the equation of sexuality with capitalist bourgeois qualities and vice versa. Sergei Eisenstein, for example, showed drastic polarities between bourgeois women and striking workers’ wives  in Battleship Potemkin, where the workers’ wives were totally ripped off their sexuality and portrayed in domestic settings. Male capitalist consorts’ clothes and manners are portrayed as clearly seductive. This depictions can expand Rodchenko’s ideas and his idealist and polarized perception of woman’s sexuality, that was tackled by Kiaer. To go further it needs to be mentioned that, in Russian culture woman is usually being portrayed as a standard of morality (Attwood, L.), and the talks of sexuality, or predominance of the subject in arts has never been taken for granted (Naiman, E, 1997): “A common critical reaction to the culture’s obsession with sex was to read current talk and behavior as a symptom of social disease.” But this is a condition of early Soviet state, today’s Russia must have a different morality, different perceptions of the subject, although the main cultural tropes are still obviously there.

Nevertheless art is not a vehicle of promotion of certain political values, and here the socialist story is just another connotation contextualising the existence of the art process. Spectator-wise the understanding of ideological is undesirable, it is only one of the potential ways of interpretation of my artistic actions. The action of the performance seeks to be perceived as a play. The play can be read in accordance to Jonathan Meese’s idea that art is a field for all-human-beings play. He would speak about art process as of the process of not becoming, but playing. The process of becoming is a potentially schizophrenic process, and there is no need to become someone in art, no need to transform and be up to a certain standard: “In art nobody has to kneel down, or pray, or make himself small. In art no human being is more special than another one.” (Meese’s paper for the seminar in Goldsmiths - 2010).

Relatively, rhythmic gymnast play is not created as my attempt to be Alina Kabaeva, it is playing Alina, making fun of her... The presence of live body of the artist and contraposition of ideal Kabaeva image creats political tension. At some point it could be mistaken for an aspiration to grow up to the standard of the ideal. But the performance does not rely on this anxiety, because the ideal body on the picture is a total figure of oppression. Alina is a universal symbol of power, feminine standard of today’s Russia, woman possessed by the State system, the figure of success at last. The play is a performance of ignorance in relation to the oppressive image; it is a process of befriending with objects though their use-value, performance of friendship with the objects that help to rebuild the society for better. The futurist aspiration... The play culminates in creative act of painting, futurist attempt to manifest new object-relations, attempt to reaffirm the political power of art. The presence of painterly gesture restates my identity of a creator. The creative act is a pivotal gesture for all my last performances.

Friday, September 24, 2010

ALINA ~ one night obsession

sketchy experiments with color balance and movement.
love that girl.

summertime pastel and sunlight experiment

Saturday, September 18, 2010

MY SHOVEL: meditations on rifle-performance.

The first paper after this summer adventures must obviously be about MY RIFLE. Further I would shortly outline my ongoing meditations about that performance, and the progress it led me to: Alina and work in St. Petersburg come next.

The point where motivation for The Rifle was generated was connected with my inability to join Kvae festival in Norway, and with the obvious need to practice. I knew I was going to do my visit to Russia, and in my dialogues with friends the subject of army (which I was thinking to join later at that point) was gaining importance. My position of militarist was explicit in the Pleasures of Physical Immediacy, where the idea of overidentification with contemporary nationalism was a key. Although militarism and national identity in today’s Russia are fascinatingly difficult questions, which cannot be approached with nativity  which is comfortable to my protagonist. In this performance I tried to tackle another side of naive politics.

My Rifle is much closer to Alina than Degree Show installation. Firstly for the exploration of object-relations, that is still one of my key obsessions. The text I am reading there at the beginning, laying on the ground as Kubrik’s army man (dressed like Vanessa Beekroft’s girl): “This is my rifle. My rifle is my best friend, There are many rifles like this, but this one is mine...” – it is a fantastic prayer from Full Metal Jacket, which is quite curiously parallel with what Rodchenko proposed to be the whole new communist story: relation to objects as comrades, treating, for example, working tools as comrades  because they are helping to create new communist future: follow similar goal.

Of course futurism of Kubrick’s prayer is of the different kind: “my rifle and myself are defenders of my country, we are the masters of our enemy, we are the saviours of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace.” A rifle is a friend with a goal to save self, defend country till the total destruction of the enemy. I think pretty all national stories can fit in into the simple model of comradeship of a man and a gun. The simplicity of this comradeship is striking in comparison to Rodchenko’s tool-comrade:  mutual dependence is a keynote of this relation.

In My Rifle I tried to act as a nihilist in response to “defend my country” model. I was also interested in performing my double-nationalism of being both British and Russian. So somehow the act of burial of the gun could be understood even as syndromic, post-cold war anxiety. Attempt to bury militarist argument? Nevertheless, militarist tension, tool, best friend of mine, the gun - is buried in a double-flag roll of Union Jack and Russian Tricolor. 

Sewing two flags was an important gesture. To make them inseparable firstly, secondly to equalise – as in a way music was planned to do. I choose two famous military marches– Grenadiers’ Song and Preobrazhensky March the music that is associated with parades and Head of the States ceremonies. Martial music was an important condition. As the flags, they were to play at the same moment, creating an uncanny dialogue of the two extremely similar national things, differing only in details – the direction of stripes, intensity of voices and musical instruments.

The Shovel and the Rifle: Previously the place of the Shovel in this piece was deeply under watched. While the Rifle is in the locus of action, the Shovel has much more powerful position. I perform the text about my rifle being my friend, but the real comrade in the performance is a Shovel, as it is being activated in process, although not sounded (which probably could be good to rethink next time). The Shovel is a comrade-helper in destruction of the militarist nationalism proposed with the prayer from Full Metal Jacket, which means that it could also perform an undercurrent gesture establishing internationalist and socialist comradeship.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

::LENINGRAD FESTIVAL 03-09-2010/05-09-2010:: PICTURES
AFTER ALINA,(Рай в пизде моей матери)
PERFORMANCE (with St Peterburg-Siberian artists Andrei and Pavel)

I am to write about the things posted further soon, and the Q-Art convenor I will be kindly appointed by Sarah Rowels soon would also discuss this work, so I'd be pleased to see everyone there, and answer any questions.
There are things to say, but this is the documentation of what happened after my performance at ArtZond festival (for those googling it for some extra info: this year it was badly organised, and low-attended, bu twhat you get from it does depend on u!). Play, creative acts, pure babyanimalism, as i believe Jonathan Meese would call this//Meeting Andrei and Pavel was occasional, but turned into an exiting collaborative work/ lousiness of local spectators though was tremendous.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

MY RIFLE, 22/08/10

the first consequence of my visit to Mother Russia during this summer.
the performance i was longing to do, and happy to present.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

or once i got really conceptual so no one could understand

I wanted to post here some pictures from my last show, the degree show. Biggest Ive ever done. Because it is like a month since it is all over, i really got critical about it. Trully a failure, guys.
Though the work was enjoyable and feedback was nice - thanks to all for the support, that was really important. Generally it didn't worked as good as it could. But happy i did that experiment.
So here it is.
Why i think it was hard to understand? Firstly because I was into playing with the idea of overidentifiaction with positive-or propagandistic model of russian nationalism, and as one can imagine british public could only overwhelemed by visual intensity, and even thkinking about thinkers and art-intellectuals, one has to be aware of esatern cultural trends... Soviet visuality. Anyway maybe it didn't felt transferable enough. But it's all for your judgment now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


The Degree show installation, that I am still very exited about, although it is not fully finished, just made ready to the examination process... A week on contemplation on the work made me see little improvements I should make, and then >>> art is no problem.
<finished fragment>
Also, my conservative website for the sake of website is finalized
It is honestly just bit bit too boring, but maybe in the future. now just a little info page.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Extremes of Resistance, 2008

I could never imagine how much could the concept of the work change within time, together with my understanding of contemporary practices. No longer to be exhibited in protective plastic case, this work is to exists as a basic handout of A4 size. For today edition of 6.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In respond to Constructivist concept of object as comrade, Phillip Lai's talk at Goldsmiths, and
Mr Ricky: new relation to person, to woman, to things.

Ты куда
Не угнаться
За тобой!
(С. Маршак)
"My hammer is my comrade"


Thursday, March 11, 2010


Some screenshots from quite recent, though quite overwatched (by myself) video.
It has extremly anthropological qualities I am not really exited about. People say that it somehow reacts on the way we tend to see Russia's oppressive society. The quiding Big Brother's voice ect. (The sound is crucial - it contains the voice that reads out Metropoliten Regulations) But although very valid question could be "Where is the critique?". I'd rather say that I don't really pretend to critique here.
I've made plenty of attempts to use this old sci-fiish sense(as Miho described it) as a part of something else, but keept resulting in failure, so full stop for now.
Ideal dream was to be able to perform the "guiding voice" myself, so to invest it with subjectivity, and crack it that way. In some sense subtitling does it, I would say... {in the future - add some comments about the use of Metro as a propaganda object}

Monday, March 08, 2010


Photocopies, screenprints, 84x42cm

This is the "happy" project finished at November 09. Using porn images was risk worth taking. Under the print is a "found" porn from "home" pornography websites. No idea about copyright.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I have a big dream - to be a cosmonaut. Father told me: "Study well, exercise every morning, grow stronger. And your dream will surely come true". Soviet man first traveled to space. On the spaceship "Vostok" Yuri Gagarin flew around the Earth and came back. The first space flight is a victory of all our people.
Ages since my last appearance here, all was about production, not promotion. a lot of new things happened. I've finished my dissertation with a title "Russian feminine metaphor: image of mother and prostitute in Russian films from perestroika till the end of 90s". Quite exiting and huge "done" for the beginning of this year.
After it I have made my first art performance ever, that went really badly but generated fantastic discussion.

In 5-8 February, I took part in Winterstory workshop organized by Sarah Trouche. Bravely encountered another visa office (hopefully the last time in my life). I would say, the workshop was liberating and living in the Commune with fellow artists from Goldsmiths was fun. So the collective effort in art production resulted in the show that was opened for public on the 7th February, and some information about other artists who were there can be found in folder VOLUME 1 : CHAUSSETTE DU TÊTE at (the direct link does not work)
As well this little travel to continent allowed the visit to Boltanski's Monumenta, that was really worth seeing. Go there if you can!!!
The piece produced in Paris is totally dedicated to the collective and called Artists on revolution or La revolution vus par les artistes.