Only time will compel me to feel that this is the case.
Just imagine that rather than today, we have turned up at Nastya Kuzmina's exhibition ten, fifteen or thirty years down the line. What will we see then compared to what we are seeing now? We might possibly see the state of the artist, and the conflict between the world and her - blurred sensations of the past that we will take for almost imperceptible forebodings of the future. We will be greeted by the voices of people who were the first generation after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will understand that at the time of this exhibition Russia was on a steep curve, had returned to the orbit of a new authoritarian regime, and we will see conflicts in the post-Soviet space and economic crisis. Who were these people – these artists who had believed in art, the lost ones facing an uneasy future? They gave their all in order to peer into the murkiness of the days, to catch a glimpse of fragments of meaning lost in the ocean of propaganda and insanity.
Phase of rapid eye movement sleep.
We come face to face with a screen - a shelf containing goods has been breached and water is flowing in. A waterfall right in the spot where there should be goods is a disturbing and at the same time romantic image. People caught by the snap of the camera, transfixed as if glitches in the programme of daily chores, disappear for an instant. For every individual you encounter on the street lived a life that can be used to study the modern age. However, in the world of the mundane passengers on the metro and passers-by are perceived as decorations appearing for only one second. Nastya catches their frozen bodies, in a bid to provide us with an opportunity to break free from the traditional optics of the common man. This is how the view of the flâneur (man of leisure) is born - a free man, but one who has paid for such freedom. The heroes of her next work are young boys and girls. Their movements are replete with drama, their images the direct opposite of the daily routine. They are themselves the creators of their personal mythology. Assembled from clips, these characters are tragic in the worlds that they have constructed. Social networks have provided each of us with an opportunity to create our own avatar from fragments of popular culture. And this is how a new person is being born – with a disconnect between who the individual wants to be and actually is. A set of video clips created by Nastya on the Coub video sharing website serves as the prologue to the exhibition. This is an idiosyncratic diary compiled from her video recordings and snippets of films. While this is a democratic and universally accessible form of self-expression, it also raises questions about the need to transcend this software environment to access the field of institutions. On the other hand, Coub reminds you that the spectator’s attention can only be held for a matter of seconds. The looping video clips count down the time, disappearing with each click.
It only takes one step to get to your side.
Frozen images – this is the main narrative of the exhibition. Both foundering and elusive, if you look at them for a long time, they stack up into an irregular and nervous picture of the present day. The utopian desire to wrest the spectator from the state of viewing “this as just another exhibition” engenders an intuitive sense of the exposition. Logic chains are unlocked, while the works themselves are more points in the plane, and not the final picture. Any work always contains more than the author assumes, and is transformed here into a virtually mystical sensation, the rumble of a distant echo reporting that something has been concealed. The “concealed” item — as if they were sounds of a past time when we had only just started to live — represents the carefree childhood where the world around us was simple and wonderful, while the adult world was feverish with historical turbulence. And this clash reflects the tragedy that has never disappeared. It can also be seen in the relations between the artist and society, and in the interplays between office workers, their eternal debts and the routine of the working day, in the clashes between man and the state. This tragedy cannot be talked about openly, as it simply dissolves into banality and is transformed into a caricature. The conceptual noise, the cerebral crisis of art and the intoxication of your own impotence all mean nothing. At this moment in time you are all on your own with the work of art.
Flights of fancy while asleep and awake.
manege, Moscow, 2015
text: Dima Filippov
Hypermarket, installation, banner, rotating projection
shift, videoinstallation, 5 screens, doors
in a coub, videoinstallation
percipitation, object, video