Monthly Archive: August 2000

Kultura Dva in Digital Space: A Virtual Museum of the USSR

Preface to the Museum of the USSR

— Vladimir Paperny (Los Angeles)

A quarter of a century ago, I started looking at the shapes of the Soviet architecture, trying to “read” them as cultural utterances. The results were published in Russian under the title Kul’tura dva (Culture Two) first by Ardis Publishers (1985) then by Moscow journal Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie (1996). The English translation will be released by Cambridge University Press next year.

A few years ago, a young Russian architectural student at the University of Utah, Olga Filippova, started thinking in the opposite direction. She took the basic concept … Read more

Video, Archive, Storage: Moscow Performance Art in the Age of Digital Repetition

Andrey Monastyrski lives and works in Moscow where he studied philology. Since 1971/72 he has created serial structures and minimalist sound compositions. In the mid-1970s, he began to be interested in poetic objects and performance actions. Monastyrski is one of the founding members of the group Collective Actions.

Collective Actions (Kollektivnye deistviya) was founded in 1976 by Andrey Monastyrski, Nikolai Panitkov, Georgi Kiesel’valter, and Nikita Alexeyev. Elena Elagina, Igor Makarevic, and Sergei Romasko joined the group at a later stage. Collective Actions (whose composition has changed frequently over time) quickly became one of the nubs of Moscow conceptualism. The … Read more

Healing the Ruptured Memory

Why should the demolished Orthodox monasteries of Bucharest be rebuilt? After ten years, could this possibly still be a relevant issue in Romanian public and cultural life? Very much so: two prestigious Bucharest cultural journals, 22 and Dilema, recently published articles asking for the restoration of some form of sacred architecture on the concrete wasteland that fifteen years ago came to replace one of the most important sanctuaries of the Orthodox world: Vacaresti Monastery in downtown Bucharest. A bit of history, then: the monastery was built in the third decade of the 18th century by a series of princes from Read more

The Theory and History of Samizdat

Guenter Hirt; Sascha Wonders [eds.]: Praeprintium. Moskauer Bücher aus dem Samizdat. [Praeprintium. Moscow samizdat books.] CD-ROM. Bremen: Edition Temmen 1998, 230 pp.

Praeprintium, an exhibition that presented for the first time a large spectrum of Moscow samizdat publications to a Western audience, was shown at the Staatsbibliothek Berlin/Preussischer Kulturbesitz, at the Weserburg Museum in Bremen, in Graz, and in Vienna. The show was curated by two scholars who operate under the pseudonyms of Günter Hirt and Sascha Wonders. The cover of the catalogue for the exhibition is black. Adorned with a typewriters typeface, it serves as a reminder of … Read more

Beyond the Abstract Cabinet

Margarita Tupitsyn: El Lissitzky. Beyond the Abstract Cabinet. With essays by Matthew Drutt and Ulrich Pohlmann. New Haven-Hanover: Yale University Press and the Sprengel Museum, 1999.

Accompanying the traveling exhibition of Lissitzky’s photographic work, which was curated by Tupitsyn at the Sprengel Museum in Hanover, the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and the Fondacao de Serralves in Porto, this book attempts to give a scholarly overview of Lissitzkyís career. It includes three essays authored by Tupitsyn, Matthew Drutt, and Ulrich Pohlmann, and a section titled “Archive,” which, as it features photos from Lissitzky’s private archive, is a valuable contribution … Read more

“A Universal System for Depicting Everything”: A Dialogue Between Ilya Kabakov and Boris Groys

I. K.: Without any foreword my album “A Universal System for Depicting Everything” plunges into an exploration of some sort of fantastic system, namely, a system for a view from the fourth dimension. It is an elaboration, in several sketches, of how our reality, the different qualities of our reality, can be seen from this dimension. For the viewer, of course, what is being discussed is not at all comprehensible, nor is it clear who is the one proposing such a system, or who has seen it. The very flow of speech-emotional, not entirely logical, gasping-indicates that a rather strange … Read more

Dispelling the Myth that Net Art is (Not) a Commodity: Olia Lialina

Olia Lialina (born in Moscow) currently teaches at the Hochschule fuer Gestaltung, Karlsruhe. One of Russia’s best-known practitioners and theoreticians of the internet, Lialina was also the first to found a commercial online gallery for web-based art.

Sven Spieker talked to Lialina on the occasion of her recent visit to Los Angeles.

S. S.: What is the situation of the net art and net artists in Russia?

O. L.: As far as the Russian internet is concerned, the internet itself is obviously about the abolishment of borders. It is true that in the age of the internet it has become … Read more

From Kowalski’s Studio Into the World: Katarzyno Kozyro, Pawel Althamer, Artur Zmijewski

The year 1989 marked the transformation of the political system in Poland. The sequence is well known: the communists peacefully renounce power, “real socialism” tactfully gives way to democracy and the free market economy. What was the artists’ response? Did art, and in what way, referred to sudden and decisive changes in all the domains of life occuring in Poland in the 1990s? In what way did the Polish art institutions change? I want to outline some preliminary responses to these complex questions.

It is difficult to talk about a Polish “art scene”. It would be better to talk about … Read more