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Moscow-Berlin and then Everywhere... AES - witnesses of the future


AES, Curator - Daria Kamyshnikova

May 17 - June 3, 1996



Produced by
AES Group
(Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich and Evgenii Sviatskii)

We are witnesses of the victory of the Western Civilization. We can watch the world changing: the glossy film of high-tech is covering the earth, people turn into 'tourist bodies', and Cairo has become as accessible as Moscow and New-York; Saddam Hussein did a show, Palestinians are signing the treaty on civilized relations with Israel in Washington, the city of Groznyi is destroyed by Russian heavy aviation. It looks like in 10 - 20 years the world will be like a set of tourist postcards showing views of cities and architectural monuments, national in form and post-industrial in contents, and that will be the end of History.
But...
As before, Saddam Hussein is ruling Iraq, and he and his people is not obviously going to adopt the values of the Western Civilization in the nearest future; Chechens are dead shots and don't want to keep the integrity of Russia; one kamikaze-terrorist from Hez-ballah replaces the other in a suicide bombing, and History is not over for those people.
The movement of the West with its Coca-Cola and Internet to the East is not in the way of aggressive fundamental Islam.
The movement of the East to the West manifests itself either in swift and bloody 'raids', such as terrorist acts, or in the increase of the specific weight of their communities in the West. We are facing a disturbing balance of this two processes. The notion 'victory' has lost its previous clarity in the current world, but if terror demonstrates its vital inexorability, the West is incessantly 'hesitating between vendetta of the Right' and political correctness of the Left (if it were applied the West would have to admit its fatal defeat, and, actually, to convert such Europe-centrist cultural centers as Centre Pompidou or the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, correspondingly, into a shelter for unemployed Arabs from Parisian suburbs, and a mosque for radical black Muslims of New-York).
Well, is it the end of History or not yet?
Of course, both the present and the past are subjects of political speculations. But here some relics of people's ideas about a fact and reality are extant. It's only the future that is free for projection of fear and hope, for compensation of humiliation, realization of revenge, etc. Moreover, everybody is confident of unpredictability of the future. People like the future as they like fortunetelling or horoscopes.
We suggest to replace traditional genres of utopia and eschatology with that of a 'political mirage'. A mirage manifests a realized phobia of the West and the dream of the fundamentalists about the Victory which came true. The images of the mirage may dispel a heavy daydream of a western geopolitician and demonstrate the absurdity of a fundamentalist's feverish idea (if Allah wished, of course).

Development of the Project

1.
Opening the net of tourist agencies (future shops) with distribution of postcards and brochures of the future on those sights where this problem is topical.
The first action - Tel-Aviv (November 1996). The negotiations has been held with the Arabic countries, the USA and European countries.
2.
Individual practice: AES - intermediaries in mastering fundamentalist consciousness (conversion, pilgrimage to Mecca, polygamy, harem, observance and propaganda of main laws, etc.).
3.
Mass-media - TV of the future, news from the future, cooperation with traditional, international and new Russian journalists, special interviews.

Print media on the project

Ptiuch, No.9, 1996

The artists of AES group made postcards. Those were the postcards wishing the Western civilization Happy New 2006 Year. There enlarged copies were displayed in Guelman Gallery (Moscow). Well-known 'postcard' sights of Moscow, New-York, Paris and Berlin underwent certain threatening but very impressive computer corrections: the statue of Liberty holding the Koran covered with a paranja, Notre-Dame de Paris bedecked with Muslim needles, etc. Will the world look like this in 10 years? In any case, certain changes wouldn't do any harm to worn out Western culture. With the delightful cynicism AES prognosticate a new and very beautiful invasion from the East.

'Sentimental Journey in a Tank from the East to the West'
Marina Koldobskaia Vest mir, No.3 (7), 1996

The most important type of fortunetelling for us is prognoses of political observers. The have turned into a kind of pure popular pure art... Giving up painting, a group of cheerful and smart Moscow artists with a somewhat awful name AES (Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgenii Sviatskii), decided to slightly frighten the public with political prognoses.
...AES took up making political mirages in the form of tourist postcards. The got very nice views of Western capitals in approximately ten years: after a full and final victory of the World jihad...

"Criticism of diagnostics'
Alexander Balashov, Khudozhestvennyi zhurnak (Art Magazine), No. 12, 1996

'AES - Moscow -Berlin and Then Everywhere'
Khudozhestvennyi zhurnal (Art Magazine),No.12

The exhibition, composed of the photographs which resemble tourist postcard (but with a slight shift of ascent in the contents) and the installation made of cut (wax) hands, wasn't aggressive, and didn't ask for the viewers' sympathy. Touching upon geopolitical problems of Islam, the theme is in line with the TV coverage of the Chechen events, and has the same ascertaining intonation: the East is threatening the West... An impressive press-release defines this new genre a 'political mirage'. Shamil Basaev is moving on the send which buried the Guggenheim Museum".
You needn't argue or agree with AES group: certainly, it is so. The images are very expressive, the technique is very laconic. A game with the metaphors of 'tourist postcards' is going to calm a hypercritical conceptualist. But the opinion of the latter is not so important: the significance and inspiration of the gesture are more interesting than three levels of the authors' summery and semiotic ironical smile.

'Mirages' / 'Witnesses of the Future'
Nikita Alekseev, Itogi , June 4, 1996

The exhibition of AES group (T.Arzamasova, L.Evzovich, E.Sviatskii), entitled AES - Witnesses of the Future, opened in Guelman Gallery within the framework of the hyperproject 'Berlin in Moscow'. The other secret name of the exhibition is A Big Islamic Project. It's obvious that the exhibition is based on the principle of a horror film: what is going to happen if 'infidels' will seize the World. The author's develop their project as a political mirage, virtual structure composed of dreams, phobias, feverish ideas, absurdity and hope. They distance themselves from the reality of terrorism and religious fanaticisplaying with it like children play 'Doom'... By means of semi-childish sympathetic magic AES artists are trying to turn the possible future into a mirage.

'The World According to Mr. Huntimgton'
Siksi, XII, No.1, Spring 1997

'Art Forum'
Matador, No.1, 1997

"Elefantenbaby mit Bustenhalter"
Von Sabine Vogel "Wochenpost", N 4 1997

"Auf dem Reichstag thront die Kuppel einer Moschee"
Gregory Ingleright "Art Das Kunstmagazin", N 7, July 1996

'Transformation of a Text into Elegant Shorts'
Viacheslav Kuritsyn Nezavisimaya gaseta (Independent Newspaper), December 19, 1996

'History with Geography'
Fedor Romer, Nezavisimaya gazeta (Independent Newspaper), November 27, 1996

'The War Which They Lost'
Vladislav Shurygin, Zavtra (Tomorrow), September 1996

'The Killer Left the Observer of M-E Hungry and Sober'
Igor Dudinskii, Megapolis-Express, No.20, 1996

'The World in 2006'
Argumenty i fakty (Arguments and Facts), May 22, 1996

'Salam Alleikum, genossen' / Exhibition of AES group Moscow-Berlin and then Everywhere: AES - Witnesses of the Future in guelman Gallery'
Vladimir Salnikov, Segodnia, March 22, 1996

'Reviews'
Mikhail Sidlin, Nedelia (Week), No. 181, 1996



17.05.1996
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