Category: Exhibition Reviews

Ivan Moudov, “Trick Or Treat”, Kunstverein Braunschweig, Braunschweig, December 6, 2008 – February 12, 2009 (Exhib. Review)


In the work of Bulgarian artist Ivan Moudov there is a conscious desire to dismantle the social role and structure of the artwork and the art world. Piece by piece, art is taken apart, and in the process of deconstruction we end up with many more pieces than we initially counted. Still the artist is not content with sabotaging the way things are. His solo exhibition at the Braunschweig Kunstverein also revealed a carefully reconstructed world where the bits and pieces were put back … Read more

Igor Grubić, “366 Liberation Rituals”, Galerija Miroslav Kraljević, Zagreb, March 20, 2009 – April 21, 2009 (Exhib. Review)

Igor Grubić, 366 Liberation Rituals, Galerija Miroslav Kraljević, Zagreb. March 20, 2009 – April 21, 2009

In 2008 the Croatian artist Igor Grubić began a series of performances dedicated to the revolutionary movements of 1968 that ranged from personal dedications to provocative, site-specific interventions in public spaces. The meticulous exhibition of Grubić’s work at Galerija Miroslav Kraljević in Zagreb functioned as an introduction to the artist book that is to be published by the same gallery in June of this year. The show itself presented photo-documents and artist’s statements with respect to twenty five of Grubić’s actions and performances, … Read more

“Without Borders”, Austrian Cultural Forum, Bratislava, Slovakia, March 5, 2009 – April 24, 2009.

Without Borders, Austrian Cultural Forum, Bratislava, Slovakia. March 5, 2009 – April 24, 2009

In 1989 the Iron Curtain fell. That same year, the organization “Kultur Kontakt Austria” was founded. In that period of drastic social and political changes when new democracies were formed in Europe, Kultur Kontakt Austria figured as a coordination hub that supported artists and cultural institutions from former Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Serbia, Romania, Poland, Croatia), creating a platform for cultural exchange. Even after twenty years, KKA is still true to its mission and systematically supports the arts in these countries.

The … Read more

Edi Hila, “Paysages Transitionnels”, Galerie JGM, Paris, January 15, 2009 – February 15, 2009.

Edi Hila: Paysages Transitionnels, Galerie JGM, Paris. January 15, 2009 – February 15, 2009

Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Edi Hila has been known in the international art community as one of the most remarkable artists of his generation. Hila is known as a professor to numerous generations of young students at Tirana’s Academy of Fine Arts (among whom Anri Sala, Adrian Paci and Tirana’s infamous mayor-painter Edi Rama). He is admired for his gentle character and precise knowledge by those privileged enough to have known him personally or to have worked with him. And he … Read more

Iren Stehli, Brigitte Weiss Galerie, Zurich, January 16, 2009 – March 7, 2009.


Iren Stehli, a Swiss native who was drawn to Prague by her interest in her mother’s heritage, first arrived there in 1974. At that time the city was in the midst of a difficult political period, the “normalization,” i.e., the return to the status before the Prague Spring. In Prague Stehli first studied Czech and decided to stay and study photography.  Once enrolled in the Academy of Film, Photography, and Television (FAMU), still a bastion of some freedom of creative – if not political – expression, Stehli’s … Read more

Amateurs and Lovers: Nikolay Bakharev’s Gaze

Nikolay Bakharev: Public and Private, Gallery, Moscow, November 29, 2008 – January 15, 2009

Nikolay Bakharev once photographed me and my adult daughter. We were part of a project initiated by a Moscow magazine. We were ready: we had gotten dressed up and we struck a pose, embracing against the white walls of my apartment. We hugged a bit more fervently than we would have for any other photographer: we knew that we were dealing with Bakharev. It was obvious that Bakharev sensed our discomfort. He went for the knockout punch: he chatted with us either in a … Read more

Dreams Behind Bars: Miami’s “Russian Show”

Russian Dreams, Bass Museum of Art, Miami, December 4, 2008 – February 8, 2009.

Russian Dreams presents work by contemporary artists from Russia. On view at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami from December 4, 2008 to February 8, 2009, the exhibition is a collaboration between the Bass and the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow. It includes work by established artists such as the AES+F Group; Alexander Ponomarev; Vladimir Dubossarsky and Alexander Vinogradov; Dmitri Gutov; Alexei Kostroma; and a new generation of younger artists including Julia Milner, Rostan Tavasiev, Haim Sokol, and MishMash Project. The first group came to prominence … Read more

Boris Orlov: The Story of an Imperial Artist

Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Ermolaevsky pereulok, February 14, 2008 – March 16, 2008.

The exhibition of the Russian sculptor Boris Orlov, held last March, initiated a survey of unofficial Russian art and its key individuals – a period that is currently in focus in the context of increasingly market-driven art practices.

The retrospective, entitled Earthly and Heavenly Warriors and sprawling over four floors of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art [MOMMA], numbered about 80 sculptures in all. Orlov’s subjects are the Soviet ruling elite that he has rendered in a stylized and idiosyncratic manner, either carved as busts, portrait … Read more

Dmitry Gutov’s Used at Guelman Galery, Moscow

Guelman Gallery, Moscow, April 3 – 23, 2008.

Dmitry Gutov, a leading Russian artist and a long time member of the Moscow intelligentsia, did not have to go far when he went in search of objects to weld together sculptures exhibited at the Guelman Gallery this past April. All he needed was found dumped in his parents’ garage. While the old bicycles, vacuum cleaners, and radios might look like junk to us, to Gutov they are precious relics of a quickly receding time in Russia’s turbulent history. “These objects are dear to me”, says the artist. Welded onto grids of … Read more

Ivan Chuikov’s Theory of Reflection

Stella Art Foundation, Moscow, February 28- March 30th 2008

In the exhibition Theory of Reflection 1 (1978-92) and Analytical Tree (1994) on view during this spring at the Stella Gallery, the installations by Ivan Chuikov confront the viewer with an intriguing experience of visual play. Five identical installations of still-lifes are placed in front of free-standing round-headed frames that hold either a glass mirror or cardboard, or are left empty. The traditional nature morte doubles when reflected in a mirror, takes on Cubist forms when painted on cardboard , or vanishes completely when placed by the artist beyond the wooden … Read more

Gülsen Bal and “Open Space” at the Zentrum für Kunstprojekte, Vienna

Open Space, Zentrum für Kunstprojekte, Lassingleithnerplatz 2 Schwedenplatz, A – 1020 Vienna, Austria.

With the inauguration of “Open Space” by Gülsen Bal at the beginning of 2008, Vienna’s art scene saw an important enrichment of exhibition space after a number of crisis-ridden institutional changes in 2007. The merger of Generali and Bawag Foundation into one exhibition space saw the end of a decade-long exhibition program concerned with a stringent focus on conceptual practices. The latter abruptly came to a halt due to the decisions made by the groups’ CEOs, which demonstrated how global capital dominates artistic representation and its social … Read more

The States of Mind of Romanian Visual Arts: The Personal Exhibition of Lia & Dan Perjovschi

Nasher Museum, Duke University, August 2007 – January 2008.

The title of the first retrospective exhibition of Lia and Dan Perjovschi at Duke University’s Nasher Museum suggests the effervescence of the Romanian “beginnings” in the 90s.(The States of Mind was the first big collective exhibition organized without communist censorship by the Art Museum of Timisoara, in 1991, following the initiative and concept of a group of young artists, among whom we can mention Sorin Vreme; Ileana Pintilie, museum curator, was in charge of the exhibition logistics.)  Considered two of the most significant artists of experimental art in Eastern … Read more

Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945

Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945, Milwaukee Art Museum, February 9-May 4, 2008.

The importance of Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945 extends beyond mere historical documentation. Fundamental to the exhibition’s premise is the essential role of photography in defining modernism within this region, both in art and in the culture as a whole.

The exhibition and accompanying catalogue—wonderfully curated and thoughtfully written by Matthew Witkovsky, assistant curator of photographs at the National Gallery of Art, Washington (the show’s organizer)—impart key, if not unprecedented, scholarship to an art historical narrative that often overlooks the contributions of Central European artists and … Read more

Alina Szapocznikow’s Protean Body

Alina Szapocznikow, Alina Szapocznikow, Broadway 1602, New York, November 18, 2007 – January 12, 2008

The recent resurgence of interest in women artists and feminist art, as demonstrated not least of all by the successes of “Wack!” in Los Angeles and “Global Feminisms” at the Brooklyn Museum, has encouraged critics and art historians to extend their investigations of women artists beyond the Western-oriented feminist canon of the 1970s. One of the most fascinating individuals to come to the attention of international viewers is, in fact, not a newcomer at all, at least not in her native Poland. Although Alina … Read more

Neo Rauch: Neue Rollen, Paintings 1993 to the Present Day

Neo Rauch: Neue Rollen, Paintings 1993 to the Present Day
Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, October 5-May 8, 2007

Neo Rauch has exhibited widely in recent years and much of the discourse around his paintings hinges on his identity as a product of the DDR, or former communist East Germany. His bizarre pictorial constructions seem to invite a consideration of legacy: of failed socialism and of painting itself. What did/does it all mean? The Kunstmuseum in Wolfsburg Germany has provided an opportunity to reflect on this question by organizing the largest survey of his work to date and sending it on tour … Read more

Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev’s A New Silk Road: Algorithm of Survival and Hope

Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev’s A New Silk Road: Algorithm of Survival and Hope; The Art Institute of Chicago, February 1-May 6, 2007

The photographs and video installations of Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev draw on various documentary styles and techniques to capture the changing social landscape of their native Kyrgyzstan since it became an independent republic in 1991. Like many artists of post-Soviet Europe and Central Asia, their practice is a discursive one that casts a critical yet empathetic eye on their indigenous subjects (human and otherwise) and the political spaces they occupy.

Their collaborative projects engage in what … Read more

Footnotes to Discontent

2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow, March 1-April 1, 2007

The 2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art was themed FOOTNOTES on Geopolitics, Market and Amnesia and added its own measure of discontent to the excess of world biennales. Now that this short-lived event is over, its outcome appears clear: the Biennale has only served to highlight the level of political uncertainty, profligate corruption, and social disparity that defines its context. In a social landscape rife with political intrigue, tightening censorship, and some 40 percent of the population living in poverty, the government’s spending of over US $2 million … Read more

Between Abstraction and Thing-Aesthetics: The Object in Avant-Garde Art

Workshop, “The Disclaimed Object — Skepticism on the Artifact of the Russian Avant-Garde Between Abstraction and Things-Aesthetics” (17th and 18th of November 2006, Freie Universität Berlin).

The workshop investigated the different meanings of the terms “object” (predmet / Gegenstand) and “thing” (vešč’) in avant-garde art. According to the organizers, the difference between “object” and “thing” has an anthropological dimension, requiring the presence of the subject.

Summaries of Workshop Contributions

In his lecture “The Life of Things: Italian and Russian Futurism,” Hans Günther discussed the interrelationship of science and technology, as well as the perception of things. … Read more

Nostalgic Artifice – Modus R

Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami, December 04-12, 2006

    We need to place ourselves in an area where politics and art are intertwined, where the resistant force of politics and the creative forces of art mutually affect each other, blurring the frontiers between them.
    –Suely Rolnik, “The Twilight of the Victim: Creating Quits Its Pimp, to Rejoin Resistance.”(S. Rolnik, “The Twilight of the Victim: Creation Quits Its Pimp, to Rejoin Resistance,” Zehar, no.51, (2003):36.

“Young and energetic” was the description that Alexander Esin gave to a group of Russian artists in his preface to the 2006 … Read more

When the Unavoidable Knocks at the Door…

Lost Highway Expedition was initiated by Azra Akšamija, Katherine Carl, Ana Dzokiæ, Ivan Kucina, Marc Neelen, Kyong Park, Marjetica Potrè and Srdjan Jovanoviæ Weiss, together with partners in participating cities. The expedition started on July 30, 2006 and went from Ljubljana to Zagreb, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Skopje, Pristina, Tirana, and Podgorica. It ended on August 24, 2006 in Sarajevo.

In contrast to the idea and logic that changing places leads from point A to point B, an odyssey within and/or across cultural boundaries started from Ljubljana and ended in Sarajevo with Lost Highway Expedition (LHE).LHE is a project Read more

“Sweet Crude Eternity”: Andrei Molodkin at Kashya Hildebrand

Andrei Molodkin, December 8-January 21 2006, Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, New York

Andrei Molodkin’s most recent exhibition reveals some highly charged works which poignantly unmask the political intrigue that is often not far from the surface of the global oil business. By throwing together so directly the forces of culture and politics, Molodkin’s sculptures draw the viewer to reflect not only on their effect upon humanity and the environment in which we live, but also on their potential for the diminution of culture as a whole.

At the heart of this exhibition is Molodkin’s exploration of the concepts of consumption and … Read more

Songs of Russia

Yevgeniy Fiks: The Song of Russia, 24 December 2005 – 24 January 2006, Gallery ArtStrelka Projects (Moscow)

Yevgeniy Fiks was born in Moscow and now teaches in New York, where he has been living for more than ten years. He presented his work in Moscow for the third time. Previously, he showed his work last year during the first Moscow Biennale at the group exhibition for émigré artists, “Post – Diasporas. Voyages and Missions”.

In December 2005, Fiks had a small solo exhibition that exhibited a work called “The Song of Russia” in a place that is very active … Read more

Bloody Dew and Other Prophesies: On the Art of Bogna Burska

A Peculiar Fluid

“Blut ist ein ganz besonderer Saft” (blood is a very peculiar fluid) says Mephistopheles in Goethe`s Faust. Indeed, blood attracts us and makes us avert our eyes, it fills us with fear and tenderness. What a symbolic potential it has! After all, blood is a symbol of sacrifice, martyrdom and redemption as well as war, murder, and sustenance to the dead. On the one hand, the artist deprives human blood of its magical, ritual power using it in spite of the Biblical curse (“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the … Read more

New Photography from the Caucasus at ifa-Gallery (Stuttgart)

Spot on… 9 September – 23 October 2005, ifa-Galerie, Stuttgart. 

Spot on… is the name for a series of exhibits instituted by the German ifa-galleries that selects pertinent works from previous Biennales and various photography festivals, with a preference for works from more “exotic” countries.(Past examples have been the Sharjah Biennale and Noorderlicht, presenting Arabian photography.)

The last Spot on… exhibition presented recent developments in Caucasian photography from Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. The focus of the exhibition was “to examine the subject of authenticity in photography from the perspective of the ‘documentary’”(See the web-site of the exhibition: Read more

“Russia Redux #1” at Schroeder Romero Gallery

Russia Redux #1, 17 September – 17 October 2005, Schroeder Romero Gallery, New York City

It is a more interesting combination than art and beauty, or art and domestic interiors, but it presents the viewer with a dilemma: how do I evaluate the art without also evaluating the politics? In other words, can I possibly relate to the artworks without also delving into the political point of view, and is my appreciation of the artworks dependent upon my acceptance of the politics?

I would say no. The idea of a completely formal analysis is absolutely vacuous: the notion that … Read more

“RUSSIA!” At Guggenheim in NYC

RUSSIA! 16 September 2005 – 11 January 2006, Guggenheim Museum, New York 

The exhibition RUSSIA!, which opened at the NYC Guggenheim in September 2005, has become the subject of heated debates among cultural commentators both in the West and in Russia. Because of the symbolic value of the venue, the show is catalyzing discourse about the state of affairs with Russian art, the post-Soviet condition, and the representation of Russian art in the West today.

The organizers of RUSSIA! rightfully claimed that this exhibition was “…the most comprehensive and spectacular showing of Russian art ever sent to the United … Read more

Anna Sokolina on the “RUSSIA!” Panels at the Guggenheim

RUSSIA! 16 September 2005 – 11 January 2006, Guggenheim Museum, New York

The magnificent RUSSIA! exhibition at the Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum in New York(<>), introduced to the public as “the most comprehensive exhibition of Russian art ever shown in the United States,” features over 270 “of the greatest masterworks of Russian art, from the thirteenth century to the present, many traveling for the first time outside Russia.”(<>)

As indicated on the wall preceding the display, it is “realized under the patronage of Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation” and “organized … Read more

Kristina Leko’s “Amerika”

Amerika, May-June 2005, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb

In her project entitled Amerika, Kristina Leko employs the tools of ethnology to explore the Croatian émigré community in America. The artist’s method is analogous to anthropological research, which takes culture as its object, is concerned with the contextual and involves fieldwork in the everyday.

While anthropology “deals in the present with the question of the other,”(Marc Augé, Non-Places, Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity (Verso: London and New York, 1995), 18.) Kristina Leko evokes the intertwining of self and other, past and present, “Amerika” and the “old … Read more

Transcending Clichés with Julita Wojcik

    “I will paint every rule I or others have invisibly placed. Oh how they penetrate though and all over.” – Eva Hesse(Entry in diary from 28 October 1960, quoted in Eva Hesse, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.)

“Help me to peel this mountain of potatoes! Help me to swipe the floors! Knit with me! Help me to paint this landscape! Help me to be myself…and help yourself to be yourself too!” – Julita Wojcik

The essence here is trans-individual, made up of bonds that link individuals together in social forms which are historical and cultural, friendly ‘networks’ … Read more

“Contemporary Art in the Time of Late Christianity”

Deisis, October 2004, State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow 

The project Deisis/Forthcoming exhibited at the State Tretyakov gallery in October 2004 shocked Moscow’s art community like no other exhibition before. Under their irony, critics barely disguised their rage and even alarm. According to them, the project only pretended to be an example of advanced art, being in reality a threat against it.

One can imagine that the computerized version entitled Deisis/Anthropology (shown at the Moscow Biennale as part of the “Art Digital” project in Mars gallery) will give rise to a similar reaction. It seems that the artists succeeded in seriously … Read more