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(Tanya Assefa, Aleksey Buldakov, Peter Bystrov, Zhdanova Julia, Tanya Zhuravleva, Aleksey Kallima, Maxim Karakulov, Kiseleva Polina, Aleksandr Korneyev, Pavel Mikitenko, Andrey Sergiyenko, David Ter-Ogan’yan, Artem Ushan, Valery Chtak, Vladis Shapovalov)
" FASHION-CONTROL "
Exhibition opens on 14 May, 2003, 18.00 in the Guelman gallery
Exhibition will last from 14.05 till 31.05
This project is the Photobienniale " Fashion and style in photography " participant
The Guelman gallery presents the project of the youngest today’s participants of the Moscow art- stage - " Rradek " Group and its project " Fashion Control ".
One cannot possibly call these artists immature or insufficiently known: they have more than six years of work behind. Some have acquired specialized art education, others made themselves, collaborating in the long-term projects of Avdey Ter-Ogan’yan and Anatoly Osmolovskiy. However, it is obvious that today the apprenticeship of Radeks has come to an end: we are now facing another quite independent creative phenomenon with its own ideology and prevailing professional methods, which, as it seems, are worthy of special attention.
In general, conversation about the professionalism with respect to contemporary Russian art realm today is most often linked with a certain inconvenience. First, there are no clear criteria which would measure this professionalism. In the second place, the catastrophic situation with art education in Russia causes desire to shut this question at all in connection with those whose creative biography started after Perestroika.
Whereas the elder generation have Surikov’s academicism, modernism of MARKHI, slack liberal system of teaching in schools behind, the present generation was formed under conditions of the so-called radicalism, rigid contrast and hatred both to all of the Soviet institutions and to the nonconformist heritage, i.e. to conceptual school. Nevertheless, in spite of the antagonism with the tradition, dissolved in the atmosphere of the 1990s, the canon of self-education - paradoxical appearance (as the saying goes, " from the internal reserves ") of the new generation of artists, as if according to the gemmation method, which noted the tradition of the Moscow conceptualism – it again became apparent today.
After mastering the ironic formalism of the Avdey Ter-Ogan’yan project and the socio-political enthusiasm of Osmolovsky, the " Radek " group now presents its own subject-matter, utterly different from what their predecessors were occupied with. Although the conditional division of the projects into " free shape-creation " and " social activism " can nevertheless be noted in the present exposition. Those projects which use adhesive tape, be it the clothing production or the " living " sculpture, are shown separately from the "social" actions and ideological marginalism.
The colored Scotch tape-assisted works can be generally considered to be know-how of Radeks. After appearing for the first time on one of the friendly parties, Scotch tape served, at first, as a meta-material of the subculture, which made it possible to transform clothing and appearance, as well as have a good time, wraping- tying friend to friend. Probably, couple of such parties would probably do it, if other, extremely effective features of the material were not suddenly discovered. First of all, adhesive tape enables the artist to create various color combinations – one can work with the painting problems. In the second place, Scotch tape made it possible to work with the volume – all of a sudden it became a means of solution for purely plastic tasks. Thirdly, and this seems to be probably most important, the Scotch tape is conditional as material and does not provoke any concrete associations – neither with trash, the garbage aesthetics (it is too bright and shining), nor with some other well known cliches and metaphors which could, for instance, be recognized in the photographs of the Viennese actionists wrapped up in the bandages. At the same time because of its clamminess Scotch tape made possible to really reconstruct both of the man’s appearance, his clothing (" Made "), and his body (" New head "), and even connections inside the human society (" Fight – Pornography ").
With respect to the formal work with material the Radeks’ creations are deprived of parody presented in the " School of Contemporary Art " by Avdey Ter-Ogan’yan, whereas in the social actions irony - phenomenon seems to be universal, in contrast to their elder comrade Osmolovky’s activities for instance. Their performances are more of a requiem to the radical art and the concept of " avant-gardism " in general. " He who speaks " - a figure of the nonconformist discurse bearer, undergoes a disparaging mockery here. Thus, people with paper-bags from " McDonald's " instead of their heads become the heroes of the subculture, revolutionaries muffle up into the cloth of slogans instead of the scarfs, the image of a spotsman-macho is appropriated by the " people of Caucasian nationality ". At the same time, it also makes sense to analyze the " social " performances of Radek Group from a formal point of view, since they are developing the entire range of relations between the individual and the context – starting with complete autism as in the case of the paper-bags, through the " flickering " confrontation - assimilation ending up with the " Scarfs " where the Chechen diaspora promises complete freedom inside the outwardly closed society.
Such attention to the problem of the interpersonal attitudes might perhaps be caused by the particular features of the creative fate of the most artistic association " Radek " itself, its apprenticeship experience, interaction with politics. It is clear that at least today they are called this way rather paying tribute to the habit (once they were united by the journal with the same name which belonged to Osmolovsky) than for some ideological reasons. Another interesting thing is that the name chosen by Anatoly Osmolovsky for his brain-child - the journal, belongs to the ugly philanderer and master of wit, peculiar " joker " of the revolutionary circles Karl Radek. Wasn’t it a gesture of hope for the born inside, synthesized by the " own reserves " overcoming of the total seriousness and unambiguity of the personal radical concept? If this is the case, than Radeks justify their name.