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A moving text displayed on the step pyramid

Komar and Melamid


By Lenin's anniversary Vitalii Komar and Alexander Melamid, Russian and American artists, made a performance in Red Square entitled "What to do with the Lenin Mausoleum?" Komar and Melamid demonstrate an eclectic "moving line" that they offer to display on the Mausoleum. By closing the word LENIN new changing words: public figures' ideas and programs, poets' verses, Governmental reports, weather forecasts, announcements and other similar texts will change the meaning of the Mausoleum and thus will safe it from on-coming destruction. The artists share the viewpoint of those who think that in accordance with Lenin's will his body should be buried next to his mother's. An empty sarcophagus and a moving line shall symbolize the fluency of human life and the vanity of utopia. On view in the exhibition over ten graphic depictions of the Mausoleum with different texts displayed on the facade and an electric "moving line", manufactured by Moscow workers in accordance with Komar's and Melamid's design

Print media on the project

"Artists' proposal"
Komar and Melamid. "Ogonek" Magazine No. 14 (15), 1993

"Our proposal can keep the Mausoleum as an architectural monument. There is a "moving line" displayed before you. Poets and philosophers can inaugurate their verses and concepts here, while politicians can promulgate slogans and programs". "Traditional LENIN sign is not excluded. The line can be stopped. In the officially atheistic state the Mausoleum played the role of a magic center Ч a sacred place. But the place is not sacred any more and, according to the well-known Russian saying, can be empty". "Emptiness can't be named. It is nameless and therefor can be named with any word, but no word can sticks to real emptiness or exhaust its meaning. That is why the permanent presence of a moving line is the most fair solution".

"A Moving Line Displayed on the Step Pyramid"
V.Komar and A.Melamid. Contemporary Art Center Newspaper No.1, April 1993.

"Sometimes, in order to change the meaning of the whole phenomenon people change a minor detail . Due to such change the initial form remains saved miraculously from destruction and chaos. Our proposal may serve the same purport of saving the Mausoleum as an architectural monument". "A light construction with the traditional red letters on the black background may either be hanged on the Mausoleum facade or displayed any distance from it as a temporary installation." "... a moving line display can be leased to collect money for art festivals, conservation of historical monuments, etc. For organization of such a festival we suggest that the artists should make designs of installations on the subject of Soviet monuments and memorials. By placing totalitarian edifices into a different artistic context an international traveling exhibition of the projects may change the meaning of some of these edifices and rescue them from destruction."

"A moving text has been ordered for the Lenin Mausoleum"
V.Pogodina. "Commersant - Daily" No.18. 30.01.93

"According to Komar's and Melamid's project the size of the moving text will exactly correspond to that of the granite slab with LENIN sign. It is assumed to be installed on the Mausoleum after Lenin's body is removed. Until then the moving text will be deposited at the Center of Contemporary Art. According to the authors' idea, the Mausoleum must be preserved as an architectural monument, but with the entirely new meaning which will be provided with the help of this innovation". "The moving text itself, in their opinion, is not important". "Each visitor to the exhibition displayed at the Guelman Gallery will be able to set up his/her own version of the text".

""The Mausoleum with a Moving Text"
D.Radyshevskii. "Moscow News", No.44. 01.11.92

"Komar and Melamid will show three projects: Marx near the Bolshoy Theater, a moving text on the Mausoleum and a pyramid inside-- a triptych depicting all public figures that have ever stood on its rostrum".

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