Friday, February 28, 2014

6 March - save the date

I am performing a durational  piece at Hourserules on Thursday 6th March, and hope some can make it there.

Exhibition 18th March – 25th April 2014

I am a part of a spring project in Pushkin House.

WALLS

18th March – 25th April 2014
Opening night:
Tuesday 18th March 6.30 – 8.30
Video-screening and panel discussion: Wednesday 23rd April 6.30 – 9.00pm

Pushkin House, 5A Bloomsbury Square, London, WC1 2TA
www.pushkinhouse.org

Artists: Charbel Ackerman, Tatiana Baskakova, Olga Bojko, Daniel Bragin, Olga
Jürgenson, Maria Kapajeva, Elena Kovylina, Anna Kuznetsova, Flávia Müller Medeiros,
Ivgenia Naiman, Ellen Nolan, Yelena Popova, Veronica Smirnoff.
Curator: Elena Zaytseva

Thirteen highly-regarded contemporary artists working in Russia and UK explore the
theme of cultural and national identity in this exhibition at Pushkin House, the oldest,
independent Russian cultural centre in London.
The title of the exhibition brings a range of references to mind: from political - such as
Berlin Wall - to architectural. Walls are traditionally a place for art – as they are at Pushkin
House’s 18th century Grade II-listed home in Bloomsbury, where all the rooms serve
multiple uses such as panel discussions, language lessons, film screenings and more. So
we revert to the tradition of showing art on walls, where it becomes a supplement to
architecture – and clearly that presents a challenge, especially when contemporary art is
shown.
The exhibition presents the works that interrogate dialectics of attitudes to identity, cultural
differences and exchange. The video by Elena Kovylina, the leading performance artist
working in Moscow, explores the post- Cold War condition of Russian culture that,
according to her mind, carries post-colonial features. The work 'Irka' by conceptual artist
Flavia Muller Medeiros investigates trauma of crossing Western borders for young
Eastern Europeans. British artists such as photographer Ellen Nolan and painter Charbel
Ackerman question identity as a personal feeling of being unique – as a controversial
cause of alienation.
Is today's Russian art a part of international art world or is it still situated in its own set of
traditions? Artists investigate this problem in many ways. Moscow-based artists Olga
Bojko and Anna Kuznetsova attempt to reset iconic symbols of Russia in the context of
the contemporary western culture. So does London-based artist Veronica Smirnoff,
whose elaborated paintings combine medieval tempera technique she studied at Russian
monastery (after she graduared from RCA) with features of traditional school of XX
century. In contrast, installations by Daniel Bragin or paintings by Yelena Popova look
typically European, nothing in them suggests the artists' Russian roots.
The works by Russian-born artists, who studied art in the West and are now based in
London show spectrum of attitudes towards national identity. Young artist and activist
Tatiana Baskakova looks at today's landscape of the Russian city with the critical eyes of
a politically-engaged western intellectual. Ivgenia Naiman's canvases refer to
retrospective nostalgia as a reason for formal experimentation. Large monumental
paintings by Olga Jürgenson provide ironical narratives about Soviet-era clichés of
'Englishness’. Photo portraits by Maria Kapajeva unwittingly accentuates the model's
national identity which is achieved by letting the model stage the scene according to his or
her understanding of self.
The exhibition raises the question whether we should link artistic identity with nationality
and how it can influent artist's practice. This controversial question will be debated on
panel discussion on 23rd April, moderated by Artistic Director of NN Contemporary
Catherine Hemelryc. Prior to the discussion two films will be screened: 'Irka' by Flavia
Müller Medeiros and 'Caryatid' by Elena Kovylina, each of them represent radically
different attitude to the problem.

For more information and images please contact
Elena Zaytseva, Curator of Pushkin House
elena.zaytseva@pushkinhouse.org.uk