Post-mortem Monography

26.02.2018 – 13.05.2018

Main Building

“Pushkin Museum XXI” is the new direction of The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Remaining faithful to the traditions of the Old Masters, the museum begins to form a collection of contemporary art incorporating it into the context of a traditional museum. Any art is contemporary, and this approach is one of the aspects of creating the collection. It will include works by artists already known to visitors of The Pushkin Museum from the past exhibitions, from the masters of video art to the new generation of young artists.

Today we present three works by the Russian art group Provmyza (Galina Myznikova, Sergey Provorov) that in the future will take their place in the permanent collection of Pushkin Museum XXI: Despair (2008), Inspiration (2008), and Eternity (2011). The visual codes and the range of impressions of these video installations surprisingly smoothly and naturally fit into the context of the museum collection.

Three works, three concepts of time. Eternity, Despair, Inspiration — Remembrance, Contemplation, Hope. And each of them hides a threat or, on the contrary, a bliss of unreality of existence.

In Eternity, its personification and an image of immortal mind created to understand the infinity and incomprehensibility of its existence is a little girl in a huge quarry, a child who has not yet felt the fear of latter end. Bizarre post-baroque structure of the work calls for its non-linear reading. The illogical space of mismatched planes absorbs Giacinto Gigante’s Grottoes, cyclopean objects of van Geel’s landscapes, and twilight zone of Millet’s Firewood Gatherers.

In Desperation, the artists discolour visuality and take us away from the objective world into the confusion of a snowstorm. They dissolve the edifying tone of Bruegel’s skepticism, and give a piercing sound to his warnings. White, like the color of another reality – the white part of the monstrous Hel’s face, shrill white figure in Boecklin’s Isle of the Dead, Krasnopevtsev’s objects packed in white shrouds.

Inspiration sprouts from the whimsical aesthetics of the Pre-Raphaelites, where the hope contains disappointment. Nature here is a space of metamorphosis full of signs. The distinct visuality of artistic language, the excruciating length of the work correlate with Piranesi’s methods, with the aesthetics of teleological vision of the twilight woods of Pisanello and Pseudo Pier Francesco Fiorentino from The Pushkin Museum.
The artists recompose familiar images, at the same time offering their alternative version, and in addition to emotional involvement they invite the viewer to participate in the decoding of the structures, deliberately provoking reticence.

Irina Antropova


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