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The idea to organize this exhibition arose in the last year, when in the heat of the discussions and debates concerning the artistic situation it was revealed that the certain circle of authors, who work or, rather, exploit the general cultural layer was formed. It conditionally can be designated as the " New Iconography ".
Retrospectively, it is probably necessary to recall the experience of turning to the icon: both in the epoch of the Russian avant-guard of Kandinsky and Malevich and in the new time, starting from the " Empty icons " of “Medical hermeneutics”, ending up with the last project of Komar and Melamid about the first Russian conceptualist Tveritinov. And if the first were to investigate the aspects which concerned the depictive language, contemporary authors mainly focus on construction of the new semantic readings, working in the zone of ideology, and appealing to the icon as a cultural sign and symbol.
Artists, who participate in the project, following their strategies, reveal various aspects and categories of this phenomenon.
Valery Koshlyakov investigates the iconographic architecture, in which he sees the origins of the Russian utopia, and, simultaneously, first experiments of the domestic form-creation as a forerunner of Russian avant-gardism. In his planar and volumetric models - iconoses (author's term) one can perceive a reference to cubofuturism, constructivist improvisations, dadaist opuses of Kurt Schwiters and Malevich’s architectons. At the same time, according to the artist, this is a space and form survey as well as constructive exercises. And if to bear in mind that the contemporary world architecture today speaks of the neomodernist tendencies (and also taking into account the fact that the state of domestic architecture suggests some sad reflections), then this artistic survey becomes of extreme importance.
Works of Aleksandr Sigutin and Vladimir Anzelm balance between the writing – notetaking. However, on the other hand, what we have here is an act of icon translation from archaic to the contemporary pictorial language where the colored print, which serves as basis in this case, remains untouched here and there, creating the effect of lingual polyphony. This reminds us of the " combined painting " of Raushenberg, works of Jasper Jones who also took notes of comics. Thus a certain culturological paralle arises: the contemporary icon, which was subjected to stylization and circulation turns out to a certain extent to be comics as well– archaic only. A series of the photographs " Ten tables " by Aleksandr Sigutin (1994th action reconstruction) is also an attempt to reactualize the religious discurse, project the eternal truths on today's reality. The very shape of the bulletin board made by some designer from the house management merges with the urban environment, but textually enters into the irreconcilable conflict with its sluggishness and indifference, which accumulates authentic dramatic intonation.
Oleg Yanushevsky's objects as a whole follows the pop - art tradition. It partly answers the question: " what is icon today? ", unmasking and sneering at the theme of contemporary fetish, cultural code and sign, highlighting them as PR- technology and pop - culture products, investigating parallelly some aspects of the collective unconscious. Oleg’s interactive " icons " uncover the passion of the contemporary User towards the attractions, commodity fetishism, and his inclination to zombiing. This forces spectator to critically approach the contemporary values understanding just as the practice of substitution and manipulations in the culture and society as a whole.
Summing up the aforesaid, it is necessary to indicate: this exhibition is an attempt of a survey of such a deep cultural phenomenon as an icon conducted by the means of contemporary art. We would like to think that the exhibition turned out well and will find its decent place amongst events of the cultural process.