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Sergey Podrez, Nikolay Vostrikov

January 1996

Participants in the project:

Sergey Podrez
Born in 1954, city of Novorossiysk.
In 1982 graduated from the Moscow Higher Art and Design School (former Stroganovskoye Art School).
Lives and is active in Moscow.

Nikolay Vostrikov
Born in 1949, city of Abrau-Dyurso.
In 1982 graduated from Moscow Higher Art and Design School (former Stroganovskoye Art School).
Lives and is active in Moscow.

Both of them have been exhibiting since 1974.

Marat Guelman:
"This is the first exhibition of old masters at M.Guelman's Gallery. This does not mean that we either have lost an interest in modern art or are expanding our influence over the art of the past centuries. Modern art is on a sure way towards exhaustion. Serious artistic projects fall down into the vacuum, as reflexive possibilities are minimal. For me personally, the exhibition Restitution is an occasion to declare that this is not only the first, but also the last exhibition of old masters at M.Guelman's Gallery. We love, understand and are fond of Modern Art as before."

Exhibitions and actions of 1996
January 13-14
Christmas-Tide action at Sintez Center
January 25
exhibition Restitution at M.Guelman's Gallery, Moscow
a group exhibition "Marking the Centenary of K.Malevich", the studio of K.Malevich, M.Guelman's Gallery, Moscow
action Lolita, Sintez Center, New York.

Excerpts from the catalog

In my album "SINTEZ" (1994) in the chapter "An exhibition of aphorisms" I foresaw Cranach. It is difficult to restrain from a temptation to amend what was written seven years ago. We were cruelly hushed up. Hushing up was a national disaster. Being consolidated, we did not suspect of the priority of the world. The pleasant times of the open and accessible evil have become a thing of the past, but the text has to remain unchanged.

The exhibition
(Of 27 halls, open are halls 7 and 9, halls of self-respect and hushing-up, where Cranach and Van Gogh were displayed). Mystique hates anxiety as the competitive substance. But both riffraffs cover the soul voluptuously in a hope to corrupt the brain with disillusion. It is only a strong temptation that is able to awake the source of evil in oneself. Occasional dissatisfaction with oneself grows to become a problem. The nature of the evil cannot possess self-destroying properties, thence the seeming tolerance and loyalty of the evil, its charming emphasized democracy-mindedness.
Discontent is doomed to get sociologized on its way to revolution. This is one of the reasons why it comes easy to idiots to knock together political parties and program actions. A thing should be served as the hushed up truth. This thing may be a theory, a country, a person, or the vital dream, or the deep-water fish, or a group of men. Van Gogh is a zombie of painting, whereas the Cranach family are usual swindlers. The salt of the aphorism lies in the impunity of the evil. It's a trap-thesis!
Hundreds and thousands of biographies are built on the powerful effect of the initial hushing up. Hushing up is fostered with tedious truths and traitorous lies. For a biography, it is important to have a dozen or two of dim years, indiscernible for cataloguing. Free underground infuses philosophy, improving the taste. It may be said without exaggeration that all great names used to be hushed up to some degree. They were restrained on purpose. The reason for danger was intermingled with the reason for curiosity. It is arctically impossible to make a name without hushing up. A technical computer remark goes as follows: collusion by default. History is written through such a collusion. The truth is opened and given exclusively and only by default.
Suffering, readiness to offer a sacrifice and other rubbish of the kind are necessary for biographers for exquisite politeness. Equity does not possess antedates. The hell promised by default is a typical trick of collusion by default. This is why one cannot experience any fear in the hell. It's only a usual flesh-creeper, a thriller. Any truth that allows oneself to be distorted, hushed up, or obliged is very suspicious. Tradition demands a tormenting overcoming the borders, not a quiet contemplation of the truths, but a stigmatic consultation, a query. Self-irony has never cured, but only relieved the pain. If Man were born directly into the a priori truth or a parallel world, he would nullify imagination, abridge and humiliate memory, insult the organs of sense and be born, in short, with a hole in his forehead instead of a pair of brilliant eyes. There is no agreement between direct envy and groundless hushing up, but there is a medium of unacceptability, a language for programming hate, thence total provinciality and scarcity of ideas.
Romantics were the first to try extract the square root from the evil. The exalted style of Nietzsche allowed him to engage in playing the God's fool and enjoying anger. (The mannerism-saturated rubbish of de Sade, the marquis, lies outside the context of any serious suspicion.) Aestheticism of the evil is quite within the traditions of culture, one should only let Dante and Shakespeare pass through the filters of the Absurd. Cant has identified Man with evil, the father of the imperative could not misunderstand man's earning for profit. The question is not that an artist is presumably refused a biography and fate, but that trends and offences are abused. It is well-known that "in America man thinks only of the way to be elected President of the United States". There are countries, where people are not hushed up in masses, it is too bad that our motherland has stopped to belong to them. Van Gogh copied Cranach twice, having slipped in doing so. Overcoming his infantility, B.Vian, a French children's author, faked his novels imitating pornography of America, but this could not save him from oblivion. Exupery has remained through a crash. Hushing up means waiting for an act, suicide, paranoia, hara-kiri. But death itself if provincial. It is only periphery of the Truth.
Avant-garde tried to turn bitterness into science. To construct one's fate on opposition. Hostility excited and stimulated. Yearning for the heaven is a hidden psychological category degenerated to become envy for comfort, and degraded to transform into usual longing for contentment. Revolution is pornography of hate. Pornography may be faked to imitate sexual aggression and physical praise to the known act, which, envying in its turn pleasure, strives for enjoyment. The romanticist-sentimentalist Freud has described clinical manifestations of envy. Through his practice of a psychiatrist, he has proved that libido is postmodernism of self-quotation of sexual aggression until its responsible state. Libido is a forgery to imitate return to life after consciousness has been assimilated, is self-forgiving, is self-absolution. The originality of the idea was actively rejected (hushed up) by the time, being concealed in the fierce paradox of religious masturbation of its kind: the idea was condemned not as string language, but as a deviation.
The prodigal sons of debauchery have received a long-awaited for theory. The return to life through rejection of pleasure was legalized. Without tormenting their conscience, they could quietly fake their tender and corrupt hearts to fit for any violence. Good guys playing hooligans became a vogue. Tender persons faked to imitate tough guys started to be loved by super-bland girls parasitizing on aesthetics. In the new erotic situation being a man is a dull and pitiful business. There are always too many conversations inn this world for tough guys. Russia learns aphorisms. Long speeches of the burlesque ideology and famous puns failed to blow the life into the crashing world outlook. The time has come to re-learn ignorance. The meager "crushing of the face" has been replaced by the clodhopping, loud, articulate, imperative, autocratic-boorish, extensive and broad slogan, painted as if on the red tissue with white gouache: 'IF YOU ARE CLEVER, WHY YOU ARE NOT RICH?', sounding like a rhyme of electioneers. An exciting, shocking, quasi-folklore spontaneous saying is served in the first place as the Christmas goose of new intellectualism. The irritable and cruel paradoxicality of a biography (including that of a country) cannot be kneaded only with scandal. As an oriental proverb goes, a day will come, we shall have a pumpkin. Only those can be traced who are fed. The ridiculous should be cold, whereas the vulgar should be fresh. The screws of doubt wind up the head. The best-sellers of questions. Alive classic works of doubts and annoyances make fool out of the population. The empire is being disintegrated, the smell of bad eggs and fish vibrates the cities. The villages and cities are flooded with shit and yellow mass media. 'Sit still and do not open your mouth, you exaggerated common sense!' Ketchup instead of the red blood cells. Stimorol is a new star! Art specialists provoke insanity, hint at the unidentified, are touched by living in crazy houses. Texts have been constructed without any reason. They are hypocritical and indifferent, interchangeable, imitating actual psychiatry and sociology, cynically traitorous.

Nikolay Vostrikov
Transplantation of the classic works

The year 1996 was late by a second. Reality is spread over the meaning like over a plate. The brain is experienced, but the eye is confused. Acting on the consumer in a selective way, reality deprives many people of the right to reflect. If everybody could move the mountains with the intellectual movement and erect dams with the help of theories, interaction between consciousness and reality would look exotic. (Any anger can be divided into episodes.)
It is strange that one has to puzzle himself. One has to guess to take sense into possession, to suspect reality in insincerity and in haughty reserve. One has to make his curiosity look like genuine need and to grope for luck. The modern eye is submitted badly to the modern brain. The reality is unveiled, ousted by the strong spring of the end of the century, and flattened by the millennium. The eye is getting dim, the crystalline lens is yearning. The eye has been evicted by irony and is in constant need of a stimulus, of renewed ideology. Qualification of perception is decreasing. The eye does not have with what to sum itself up. The eye has fallen into marasmus, a sign for itself, temptation for itself and a legend. The eye is unnecessary. And it has provided itself with a mood of its own, a nostalgia for the folding classical brow. Bon ton! While time is fumigating the picture, the radical rests and relaxes. Impotence of the reason makes conscience order fakes.
Order for a fake is a term from psychoanalysis. Nature knows for sure if you beg pardon really. At first, this playing the fool gives rise to embarrassment, and in that case one has to fake humility. The important thing is to fake repentance as convincingly as possible, to turn away from pride, to renounce pretensions. There is no crime as yet, but punishment is already testing your strength. With a tentative, hardly convincing, baby-like stone of shouting are you measuring the new volume, after the womb. At first, the seeming vastness impresses, however, you are squeezed with unfolded substances, the instinct rushes to balance the arisen aggression with atoms and molecules already adjusted and taken aback by this intrusion. (According to the data of shameless medicine, my penis erected as early as in my mother's womb.) Before "awakening", the human vile creature is already craving for the "truth". Who knows, if my desire is not faked here, too? Though it seems that the reproductive organ is not an instrument fit for manipulating and getting Brownie points, the 20th century has toppled down this "God', too. Civilization is believed to be second nature. But second nature is only a fake of the first one. The world has not got a chance. The power of the eye is more dangerous than the power of the voice. Words prove and reject, the last solution always rests with the word, there is no spare time for the eye. Words possess 90 percent of the shares, i.e., 90 percent of the information coming through the eyes. Deformity has been always leading banality. We see the world that is already retold, faked by the word for the eye, by an analyst's logic for the design of a stylist. The truth is distorted in the moment, while being in the substance. The lens of time (the eye) gives through a magnification signal landscapes of the transcendental. Time should be suppressed, put outside consideration, what is necessary is the hypnotizing totem, a taboo, the academic course of the law, nearly a dream, creation of picture in the very air. An artists is a thing, and a thing is better to be absent, ex-communicated. A thing where irony has found a nest with a comfort disappears not for the topic, but for sadness and sense. Democratic, accredited consciousness refutes its own query. Taste has disappeared. To make pictures means to make coffins. Painting, while symbolizing passion, has ceased to be passion. Pictures are coffins for the ideas. To call a man an artist is hasty, even risky and menacingly strange. Take in hands letters by your brothers. Gericault has degraded himself to create The Raft of the Medusa. A hidden lamp was looked for behind Cuingi's picture. Ayvazovski was considered a wizard. The playboy Duhrer has drawn himself naked. The Cranach family is a mafiosi clan, a family of villains, vampires, debtors. Ingres, a sexual maniac, painted girls in the bath, when he was on the brink of death. Cezanne, "Savanorola of painting", the talk of the town, the author of all the texts and a philosopher of all revaluations, is vulgar. Avant-gardists of postmodernism repressions die out without inducing mercy.
An explosion is needed. The modern ear is annoyed without an explosion. Experts in fireworks, pyrotechnics of our intimate dishonored deeds are leading the Vermeer-like game, redoubling silence, which is mortal according to all rules. To tracing Cranach's brush into the darkness is romantic (Mengs teases Winkelmann), but the darkness is faked. It is strange to create an imperishable picture. It is equal to dictating philosophy ex tempore or show the location of a hidden treasure with a precise gesture (these are two similar gestures, as they distort one's mood, universal and symmetrical). Aesthetics, like safety methods, leads the absurd to complete recklessness. "The aim is swimming desperately in time like fish in the water" , Zh.Batay.
To make Cranach, to deceive the public (two similar absurdities, both are fakes), the time aesthetics is populous and greedy for anti-impressions. The narcotic nervous system of the masses (suddenly useless) (up to repulsion) is agitated in sarcasm. Cranach is an advertisement leaflet, but also a bomb. Cranach is a cyborg. The brain-thrust does not need panic or aggression, it does not conclude. It is reliable, but also cheep over-insurance that is fake. If a quick success, a slight scandal is necessary, fake is used. Here sincerity, anger, tenderness, sarcasm, intolerance, tiredness, style and copy are faked. The revelation institute is called on to fight the mechanism of fakes.
Fake is a familiar excuse for direct deception, a hypnotic cheating. Untrue, unreal. For example, false gold is not excusable, but fake slap on a cheek or love is a delicacy. Making of a scandal, like resurrection of the God, is somewhat of a popular performance. It would be absurd to look for a fake between the truth and credibility. "Everything that has been generated by curiosity, not by faith, is dangerous", Saint Augustine. They play with accents, they flirt with nuances, but one has to be god of meanness, to fake the heart.
If every ruble underwent obstruction and examination, were at law with the eye and tooth, daily occurrences would be crushed, and the cities would lie about in the fire of marasmus. It is cheaper to be deceived. Virginity and reality are initial and synonymous. Art should be given to man "by nature itself at three fourths". Unfortunately, in a collusion with mystique, philosophy teaches heartlessness. Supercyclic call of actuality is precise, but preciseness can also be faked. A retreat into memory is a loss of speed , but experience teaches maneuvering in its reserves. Memory adores the original things and does not let a copy enter. Memory is secondary in its nature, it cannot feed on copies, as it will run low too fast. Impudence of imagination cannot serve a premise for memorizing, a surprise for memory. Faith only documents a wish, self-knowledge is a detective sort of literature, and a detective story parodies the document (the extreme official tone is wit), it is important to depersonalize the text in time. Although subconsciousness drilled by the 20th century works in a humiliating way for flattery, the matter with faith is a disaster. It was only recently that faith has easily put on weight and laid a foundation for itself.
If there is a wish, one may get a grasp of any text. Any text imitates the truth through playing with formulas and orders. After a lot of effort, one can get irony even out of desperation. Words from archaic readers and treatises, such as blood, sweat, tears, have not been functioning since late 19th century, as money, having come up with time, put the latter aside. Punctuality is politeness of the God's fools, whereas money, as a high-quality fake of eternity, devalues the truth. Time is money (any hyphen is a fake), a limping analogy, a bridge over the abyss of impassable things. "The World forged fitly by the hell's reverse perspective", Shakespeare. Bernard Shaw made a joke on this topic: "False beauty and bitter truth can exist only separately".
Thinking emasculates itself for an appropriate quotation. Culture could not but turn into postmodernism, a self-authoritative book of quotations, a graveyard of fakes. Not of trustworthy and sincere fakes, but of those sponsored by disillusion and boredom. The truth grows decrepit with age. When it is not discovered by man in time, it reflects itself, complicating a code after a code. It is practically impossible to discover the truth that has gone into depths. It would seem that you wish to have elegant philosophy, elegant painting, aristocratic poetry, showy lasciviousness, celestial banality, that you wish to live among epithets, but the medium of epithets and adjectives has come out of date and catapulted, throwing away the toxins.
If one follows the caprices of defense and communication, everything irritates. Maddens, offends, enrages, "freezes with icy boredom", Byron. Banality is formed instantly, becoming slang, being encoded into laws. Banality is scarce, it is always in deficit. History used to praise stupidity. Stupidity has long degenerated into banality. The triumph of banality is phenomenal. The phenomenal should not upset. The second nature of the conditional world of the museum is full of hallucinations, provoking substances to come into congruity. Verbosity has emerged. Against the infinite background of logomachy, the polished quotations fade away. One cannot escape in the word. The word has been fed up with mystique. Not the style, but the double-bottomed commodity is for sale. A chance, happy and healthy only yesterday, has come down today to its uncomely archetype - a compromise. Psychedelic irony does not kills pain any more, stable immunity (soon this will be revealed as another meaning) needs a sign once more. A picture is necessary, but one that cannot be seen and therefore cannot be denied. A fake is easy to destroy, a picture with double cipher is necessary. Painting is dead, but in the series of other deaths. Its death is a fake in an imitation of non-existence. Talks about the death of painting have been carried out for a long time now for the simple reason that its death is afraid of, as it is interesting to nobody, but painters themselves. To attract attention, painting is buried alive. Rehearsals are under way. The genuine order for killing of the painting has not been drawn up as yet. Therefore, what is necessary is a picture, a target, a capacity to hold the pure time. It is a morning of relic. A picture is necessary whose main idea is indisputable (indecently perfect).
I have had a look Cranach in the eyes. He was hopeless. If one is going to adhere to science, dreams and delirium are identical, but a dream needs another memory. There are countries which need another reality, like a hero needs another blood. Russia belongs to their number: absurd and awkward in movements, unfitly inserted into the world actuality (sentimental stagnation has discovered its beggar's flesh), with a fever of vanity, it is the way the dream overwhelms the reality. Self-torture and reincarnation, the great moral sins of an artist are usual studies in enjoying a copy. Enjoying a copy or a fake is a enjoying a shock. I have brought Cranach nearer like one brings nearer binoculars. I have made Van Gogh, like people make a glass or a gulp.
Trying on other people's dramas and substances is always pleasant. Art cannot be made out of life. There is no clay that can ingratiate oneself with man's mood. Nature is bored with itself. Its micro and macro-landscapes coincide. Through a false figure, it created man. But man moves in circles. The world of stresses is a world of dream, we exist only in the world of fakes. The world of terminal decisions is not available to us. As long as things flow, reflect themselves, intersect, fakes are inevitable. It is hardly appropriate to joke about a contest between cynicisms. The degree of pretence has long been occupying the minds of scholars. On day a partial electrode was implanted into the heart, and they committed horrors and nightmares before one's eyes. It is improbable: if horror did not go higher than the scale, a high degree of curiosity prevailed, which is usually called cynicism under normal conditions. This cohesion of cells was named (1972) "a pyramid of cynicism", (by no means with any mortal assessment), Egropucos Cynismus. At some time aggression was spoken of as of a virus. Then, in the nerve ends a hook (an anchor) was found that was holding firmly aggression. There is a word combination - "comfortable anger". A deep one, without going outside its form. Damnation kills. But we do not speak about the Dark Ages and intellectual excess, but about forgery of enjoyments.
Unfortunately, our biography is always made as a favor, antedating it. Therefore, a biography is always late and does not blend in the dates of birth and death. I have violated this tradition, smoothed out the indelicacy, and at the same time been in the other man's shoes. Other men's shoes are tedious and utopian, like all neologisms, if tried on in everyday life. Nikolay has come to Vostrikov like Marat to Patsyukov) and ordered him to paint Cranach and Van Gogh at the same time to test rapidity, in his words, of a "quick brush". I have reincarnated, as if slyness is stronger than interaction. A play against oneself with getting newer revelations. Tolerance of others usurps our wish. Time has destroyed Cranach, and time revived laugh out of ashes. Time has passed by two Van Goghs, one of whom is myself. Like a brave soldier of pluralistic ethics, I could not but make five portraits, but in mirrors, so that everybody could see himself through the dyes, and beauty has been saving the world for a long time yet.
Mirrors are not consolation for optimism. Left in negligence, they grow dim (glances polish the mirrors), as Ch.L.Dodgson remarked. The science of the mirrors has opened: "space in mirrors has appeared quite recently, with development of perspective, the mirrors have assimilated illusion". Beautiful painting, just like beautiful thought, hints that "the brain is only a muscle", perishable humor, ice-axe of the absurd. "Epileptic of colors" Van Gogh loosens the mirror falling into an anxious absolutism of the century. The mirror is echoed in the visible. "All history of art is paved with falsifications, part of which used to be claimed as greatest masterpieces", Zh.Bazin.

Mass media on project

Unexpected things, Fyodor Romer, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 26.01.96.

Now and the Gallery of actual art does not want to be just a gallery of actual art, as Marat Guelman's Gallery is showing an exhibition Restitution... Under the title which may lead to an infarction a whole brood of officers from the Ministry of Culture, two pictures are displayed from a private collection. They are works of the artists Lukas Cranach (1472-1553) and Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890). It should be noted that Guelman works with promising artists, as usual. This is a great exhibition, by Jove!

Beutekunst zu verkaufen
Kerstin Holm, "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", #29, Februar 1996.

"Nur noch Beutekunst lockt Politiker und Kaufer".
Gregory Ingleright.
Now, Guelman. just wait!
Oleg Torchinsky, Moskovskaya Pravda, 5.02.1996

...Everything would be OK, if it were not M.Guelman's Gallery. Here one is waiting for a practical joke or a hidden trick all the time. Why Cranach, why Van Gogh, and not Brener, or Kulik?
The key lies in the name of the exhibition - Restitution. The whole action is a kind of parody of the exhibitions of trophy art in the State Fine Arts Museum and the Hermitage with their lies of half a century, pompous declarations, labored press conferences for foreign journalists, with glossy catalogs for administration officers.

Restitution was on at Guelman's.
Argumenty i Fakty, #5, 1996.

Pictures of old masters at a gallery of modern art? It is unusual, jesting, challenging. And the works are trophies moved from Germany during World war two. "A Madonna with a Child" of Lukas Cranach (16th century) and a "Landscape" of Van Gogh (from the collection of T.Galishchev, Novorossiysk). The pictures were on display for three days for small groups of guests, in only 15-minute sessions. What are these pictures? Original works or tricky fakes? The Novosossiysk Museum has made an expert conclusion. But this does not mean that Moscow specialsts have believed that the masterpieces were genuine right away. In our century of virtual reality, pictures "just like original ones" are a puzzle of specialists. But the main idea of Guelman and his exhibition is that one may engage in the problem of restitution of the trophy values in the private order. The state fails to do it properly.

Can a man of genius live in the provinces?
Sergey Podrez, Novorossiysky Rabochiy, April 4, 1995.

In the national and foreign media materials have been published about the scandalous exhibition at Marat Guelman's Gllerry under the title of Restitution. Two pictures were also on display from the collection of the native of Novorossiysk Timofey Vasilyevich Galishchev: "A Madonna with a Child" of Lukas Cranach (1472-1553) and a "Road in Arles" of Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890).

Igor Dudinsky, Megapolis-Express, #4, 31.01.96.

At M.Guelman's Galery its owner has tried again to play a role of the public order's outrager, having shown an exposition of only two pictures under the title of Restitution. Both works belong to masterpieces of the world painting.

We are on the eve of a scoop, and perhaps, more than one...
S lehkoy ruki, Novorossiysk, #7, 16.02.96

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