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Moving Images from Russia

1 December 2004  - 31 January 2005


“The continuing engagement with the possibility of art's collective form, with notions of collaboration, with the avant-garde as an internationalist formation, distinguish the most interesting writing and art in St. Petersburg and Moscow.” (John Roberts, ‘Internationalism not globalism', Controlled Democracy, Aug 2004)


This December, presents a season of hand picked moving images straight out of Russia. The films selected reveal a diversity of concerns and practices, even though all contain a latent awareness of their recent history. This is perhaps not surprising as history always lends itself to omnipresence, especially when its legacy has induced such a dramatic re-organization of society.  Certainly what this collection of work highlights, is how history will always adopt a myriad of meanings for the people it affects.


Since the collapse of Communism, the Russian people have had to reposition their Soviet inheritance alongside an increasingly Western values system. This shift has affected all pockets of society, including the art world, and the past decade has seen many aspects of Russian culture being effectively overtaken by an increasingly Anglo-American ideology. This has inspired a kaleidoscopic resurgence of avant-garde practices among different artists in Moscow and St. Petersburg, many of whom are resistant to this tendency and the ideals it legitimises.


It is not surprising then that the majority of Moving Images from Russia are experimental in tone and have a visceral political subtext. The work of Oleg Kulik is mindful of Marx's dictum that “man is a social animal that can find individuality only in society”. His performances provocatively challenge the present day relationship between man and animal, and in doing so, touch on the broader themes of dominance and subservience; physical, cultural, and political. The Radek Community are a group of activists with humour. They often use the public as unsuspecting collaborators in their work, and their Manifestations series sets up a dialogue between the individual and their place in an increasingly culturally hegemonic order. This season will also be showcasing work by Olga Chernysheva, Yevgeni Yufit, Anton Litvin, Natalia Pershina and Kirill Shuvalor, among other artists.


Watch Moving Images from Russia on This exhibition has been produced in collaboration with Anya Stonelake of the White Space Gallery, London and Anna Kolossova and Maria Korosteleva of the National Centre for Contemporary Art, St Petersburg. 



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