Yevgeniy Fiks: “Communist Party USA Commemorative Stamps” (Online Gallery)

Yevgeniy Fiks Communist Stamps

GALLERY | BIOSHOWS | PUBLICATIONS | ARTIST’S STATEMENT

 

ARTMargins is pleased to present a new work by New York City-based artist Yevgeniy Fiks: Communist Party USA Commemorative Stamps (2007-2008). In this project, Fiks produced US postal stamps featuring portraits of former leaders of the American CommunistParty, such as John Reed, William Z. Foster, Benjamin Davis. For seven months the artist then used these stamps on the envelopes in which he sent his monthly payments to companies such as CITI, Verizon, T-mobile, Time Warner Cable, and others. In this project, the procedure of paying monthly bills – a crucial ritual in the capitalist world order — becomes a ritual commemorating the repressed legacy of the American Communist movement, which has been almost totally erased from American collective memory.

Yevgeniy Fiks, “Communist Party USA Commemorative Stamps,” installation detail, 2007-2008

Born in Moscow
Lives and works in New York

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2009The Song of Russia, Galerie Blue Square, Paris
2008Communist Guide to New York City, Barnard College, New York
2008Adopt Lenin, Winkleman Gallery, New York
2008Reading Lenin with Corporations (in collaboration with K. Hansen, O. Kopenkina, and A. Lerman), PS 122 Gallery, New York
2008Monitoring Lenin’s Sales on Amazon.com, Contemporary City Foundation, Moscow
2008Communist Guide to New York City, Common Room 2, New York (catalog)
2007Communist Party USA, Marat Guelman Gallery, Moscow
2007Lenin for Your Library? Lenin Museo, Tampere
2006Lenin for Your Library? State Museum of Russian Political History (1st St. Petersburg Biennale of Contemporary Art), St. Petersburg
2006Lenin-by-mail, Krasnoyarsk Museum Center, Krasnoyarsk
2005The Song of Russia, ARTStrelka Projects, Moscow

Selected Group Exhibitions

2009Ultra New Materiality, (3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art), Moscow (upcoming)
2009Things Fall Apart, Winkleman Gallery, New York
2008Metro Poles, Art in Action, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, New York
2008Subjective Events, Sometimes Recorded, Art Laboratory Berlin, Berlin
2008In Transition, National Center for Contemporary Art, Yekaterinburg; National Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow (catalog)
2008Tina B: The Prague Contemporary Art Festival, Prague (catalog)
200816th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (catalog)
20081st Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, National Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow (catalog)
2008L’impresa dell’arte (The Enterprise of Art), PAN | Palazzo delle Arti Napoli, Napoli (catalog)
2008Properly Past, Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn
2007Artist as Activist Festival, Tokyo
2007VII Krasnoyarsk Museum Biennale, Krasnoyarsk Museum Center,
Krasnoyarsk (catalog)
20071st Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, International Workshop of Young Artists, The Archeological Museum, Thessaloniki (catalog)
2007Critically in Between, “Art Athens” Art Fair, Helexpo, Athens (catalog)
2007The Return of Memory: New Art from Russia, Art Museum Kumu, Tallinn
2007Progressive Nostalgia: Contemporary Art from the Former USSR, Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato (catalog)
20079000 km (traveling project of the National Center for Contemporary Art), Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow (catalog)
2007Witnesses to the Impossible (2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art), Moscow Center for the Arts, Moscow (catalog)
2007Left Pop (Bringing It Back Home) (2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art), Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow (catalog)
2007Petroliana (2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art), Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow (catalog)
2007Partners in Crime, Gallery MC, New York (catalog)
20069000 km (traveling project of the National Center for Contemporary Art), European University in St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg (1st St. Petersburg Biennale of Contemporary Art); Kemerovo University Exhibition Hall, Kemerovo
2006XI Moscow International Forum of Art Initiatives, Novy Manezh,
Moscow (catalog)
2006Contested Spaces in Post-Soviet Art, Sydney Mishkin Gallery at Baruch
College, New York
2006The Studio Visit, Exit Art, New York
2006Outsourced: Contemporary Russian Art, Current Gallery, Baltimore
2005Artist & Arms, Mar’s Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow (catalog)
2005Russia Redux #1, Schroeder Romero, New York
2005Enemy Image, Momenta Art, New York
2005X Moscow International Forum of Art Initiatives, Novy Manezh, Moscow
(catalog)
2005VI Krasnoyarsk Museum Biennale, Krasnoyarsk Museum Center,
Krasnoyarsk (catalog)
2005Post-Diasporas: Voyages and Missions (1st Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art), Moscow Museum of
Modern Art, Moscow (catalog)
2005Bring in the Clones, VertexList, New York
2004The Presidency, Exit Art, New York
2004Crude Oil Paintings, White Columns, New York (traveled to Akus Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University, Connecticut) (catalog)
2004ArtKliazma Festival 2004, Kliazma Reservoir Resort, Moscow (catalog)
2003Artist & Arms, National Center for Contemporary Art, Kaliningrad
2003ArtKliazma Festival 2003, Kliazma Reservoir Resort, Moscow (catalog)
2003D.U.M.B.O. Art Under the Bridge Festival 2003, New York
2002Brewster Project 2003, A Site-specific Contemporary Art Event, Brewster, New York
2000Digital DUMBO, Mastel+Mastel Gallery, New York
1996E-europe, The Bronx River Art Center, New York
1996Soho Arts Festival 96, 420 West Broadway, New York
1996Inverted Perspective, Eight Floor Gallery, New York (catalog)
1995Art in the Anchorage 95, BrooklynBridge Anchorage Museum, New York

 

Selected Publications

Philipe Dagen, “The Song of Russia,” Le Monde, Saturday-Sunday, 8-9 February 2009
Sydney J. Beveridge “De-fetishizing Lenin Kitsch,” Thing Theory, February 3, 2009Lori Cole, ARTFORUM on-line Critics’ Picks, January 26, 2009
Michael Harvey, “Yevgeniy Fiks,” Art in America, January 2009
Paddy Johnson, “Yevgeniy Fiks at Winkleman Gallery,” artfagcity.com, October 2, 2008
Catherine Spaeth, “All in One Day: The Gallery Give-Away in ChangingEconomies,” catherinesarttours.blogspot.com, September 29, 2008
Daniel Larkin, “The Russian Soldier,” ArtCal Zine, September 19, 2008
Colby Chamberlain, ARTFORUM on-line Critics’ Picks, September 2008
Yaelle Amir , “Lenin Re-Commodified,” ArtSlant New York, September 2008
Linda Park, “Future without Utopia”, ARTmargins, July 2008
Olga Kopenkina and Yevgeniy Fiks, “Legally Soviet: A Conversation,” Rethinking Marxism, July 2008
Olga Kopenkina, “Communist History, Unclassified,” Afterimage, May/June 2008Ilya Budraitskis, “America’s “Other”, Moscow Art Magazine, #67/68, May 2008
Olga Kopenkina, “Introducing Yevgeniy Fiks”, Modern Painters, May 2008
Pernilla Holmes, “Blast from the Past,” ARTnews, January 2008
Editorial, “Little-Read Book,” Harper’s, January 2008
Ilya Budraitskis, “Communist Party USA: Interview with Yevgeniy Fiks”, vpered.org.ru, November 2007
Yulia Tikhonova, “Communists with a Human Face”, Political Journal, ? 30 (173), October 2007
Olga Kopenkina, “Solitude of Collectivity”, Documenta 12 Magazines Online Journal, June 2007
Olga Kopenkina, “Corporate Face Off” in Lenin for Your Library? from Ante Projects, June 2007
Anna Malpas, “The Party Never Stopped”, The Moscow Times, June 8, 2007
Alexey Yuriev, “Communism Is Dead. But Communists Are Alive”, Moscow News, June 1, 2007
Editorial, “Thoroughly Modern Moscow”, Financial Times, March 5, 2007
Antti Lahde, “Maistuuko Lenin McDonald’sille?” Aamulehti, February 1, 2007
Olga Kopenkina, “Introducing… Yevgeniy Fiks”, NYFA Current, February 2007
Santtu Palm, “Lenin Matkasi Sahkopostissa Museonsa Seinalle,” Tori, January 24, 2007
Yulia Tikhonova, “In Conversation with Yevgeniy Fiks”, ARTmargins, January 2007
Cindy Stockton Moore, “Lenin, Libraries, and Legacies: An Interview with Yevgeniy Fiks”, ducts.org, # 18, Winter 2007
Exhibition Reportage, TV Channel “Russia”, September 7, 2006
Georgiy Litichevskiy, “Utopicheskoe Pervorodstvo”, Moscow Art Magazine, #61/62, May 2006
Olga Kopenkina, “Odinochestvo Kollektivizma”, Moscow Art Magazine, #61/62, May 2006
Anastasiya Mitushina, “Songs of Russia”, ARTmargins, May 2006
Yuliya Rakhimkulova, “21st Century Leniniana”, Vecherniy Krasnoyarsk, April 19, 2006
Dena Shottenkirk, “Art and Politics: Russia Redux”, ARTmargins, January 2006
Diana Baldon, ARTFORUM on-line Critics’ Picks, January 2006
“Svobodnoie Vremya”, Domashniy Channel TV, January 13, 2006
“Sots Realism Made in USA…”, gif.ru, December 22, 2005
Nick Stillman, “Samoderzhavnie Sandvichi V Chernobolskoi Zone”, Moscow Art Magazine, #60, December 2005
Interview, Kultura TV Channel, December 24, 2005
Isabelle Dupuis, “Russia Redux /Schroeder Romero Gallery”, NY Arts, November 2005
Holland Cotter, “Enemy Image”, New York Times, October 7, 2005
Eduard Rusakov,”Khudozhniki Muzeichikov Pobedili?” Krasnoyarskiy Rabochiy, July 6, 2005
Interview, Siberian TV Network, June 2005
John Kelsey, “Russian Front: The Moscow Biennale”, ARTFORUM, April 2005
Anastasiya Mitushina, “Bon Voyage!”, Moscow Art Magazine, #57, April 2005
Joyce Man, “Dark Diasporas”, The Moscow Times, February 18, 2005
Irina Kulik, “Feminists and Immigrants at the Museum on Petrovka”, Kommersant, February 4, 2005
Elena Sorokina, “The Art of Protest in American Galleries”, JungeKunst, #61, January-March 2005
Interview, NTV Network, November 2004
Inga Melnikova, “War on a Tray”, Chelyabinskiy Rabochiy, July 14, 2004

Artist’s Statement

My work is inspired by the collapse of the Soviet bloc, which led me to the realization of the necessity to reexamine the Soviet experience in the context of the history of the Left, including that of the international Communist movement. My work is a reaction to the collective amnesia in within the post-Soviet space over the last decade, on the one hand, and the repression of the histories of the American Left in the US, on the other. I’ve been interested in discovering and reflecting on repressed micro-historical narratives that highlight the complex relationships between social histories of the West and Russia in the 20th century. Having grown up and having been educated in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, my work is about coming to terms with the Soviet experience by carving out a space for critique both without and within the Soviet experience. Having lived in New York since 1994, I’m particularly interested in the history of the American Communist movement and the way it manifests itself in the present-day United States. My work has been influenced by the writings of Susan Buck-Morss about discovering sites of the “post-Soviet condition” in today’s US and the effects of the Cold War on present-day American society and culture, and I am interested in the activist use of that legacy.

The reexamination of Soviet history in my work is very closely connected to my understanding of the position of the post-Soviet artist as one who is committed to and responsible for the formation of a proper understanding of Soviet history. An overwhelming sense of denial of Soviet history as a way of dealing with (post-) Soviet trauma is one of the most striking symptoms of the post-Soviet condition. While pre-Revolutionary history is being discussed at length and with much interest in the countries of the former Eastern bloc, Soviet history is almost totally repressed. As the last ten years have shown, however, this repression and denial have not served the post-Soviet subject well. Reclaiming an active engagement with Soviet history is a more effective way of dealing with post-Soviet trauma. I am in no way suggesting that the post-Soviet artist should have a rosy or nostalgic view of Soviet times or that s/he should affirm the excesses of that period. The post-Soviet artist should also be careful to avoid the exploitation and commodification of the Soviet past. I’m advocating quite the opposite, a critical kind of nostalgia whereby the work of memory becomes a tool for exposing and identifying the discrepancies of both the past and the present. Fredric Jameson’s “Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism” was important to developing my ideas in this respect.

Taking responsibility for one’s history means regaining critical agency towards and within that history. Soviet history should be viewed as much as a site of intervention as current post-Soviet physical reality. Interventionist tactics normally applied to physical social space can and should be effectively applied to history. As far as my work is concerned, approaching history through interventionist tactics means uncovering and exposing repressed histories and scrutinizing the generally accepted official historical narratives. I view activism within the discipline of history as the formation of a parallel or alternative base of knowledge whose formation begins with the collection of radical historical data.

Within the context of contemporary Russian art, my work addresses issues pertinent to the critique of post-Soviet identity politics. I often depart from historical research and I approach these issues by means of analytical, conceptual, or interventionist tactics. I have been consistently interested in areas such as the “post-Soviet condition,” 20th-century Russian history, Soviet-American relations and the Cold War, the history of the international Communist movement, and the Communist legacy in the West today. Over the last several years, my projects have included works that use a descriptive research-based approach (in such projects as “Communist Guide to New York City” and “Communist Party USA”), as well as more directly interventionist strategies concerning the Communist legacy, as in a project entitled “Lenin for Your Library?”

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