10 September 2023 - 12 November 2023
Nikolay Bakharev, Akhmat Bikanov, Kirill Garshin, Evgeny Dedov, Oleg Kulik, Aleksei Taruts, Sonya Shpurova
Curator: Anastasia Shavlokhova
Art as a value. In times of doubt, uncertainty, and queries, art became my anchor and interlocutor. I can vividly remember my feelings when I first saw paintings by Tizian or Rembrandt in the Hermitage Museum when I was studying at the university. And since then, every time, like this very first time, I stand in front of them, enchanted, and all my attention is drawn to the artistic space where frozen time is breathing.
The exhibition Careful Storage is сцена/szena gallery’s personal diary. It is made up of the works by artists whose projects we had on display during these five years. Every exhibition is a separate story about why we show what we show. It is always a half-revealed part of the inner vision, the filter which different visual languages and artistic methodologies go through.
There are no random works here. For me, art is a point of reference. The history of art as I see it is not a frozen monument of time but a library of various narratives and visions. You can refer to them, and peering into them, you deepen your understanding of the present. Like the first approach to artworks, this often means moving from formal language to narration, and their understanding changes with time, both in personal and historical context.
The current exhibition brought together the works that speak to me now, and unfortunately, it did not include all the authors we work with but it is rather an impetus to create a second volume of this project. Working on Careful Storage, I noted to myself that my gravitation towards figurative art is clearly discernible in the selection of art pieces. I would particularly mention the importance of including Oleg Kulik’s archival series Deep into Russia and Horses of Bretagne as well as a new print of Nikolay Bakharev’s iconic photographs which we managed to issue with the support of GES-2 and the gallery’s collector. Among other archival works, you will see a painting by Kirill Garshin from his 2014 series Ametropia which earned the definition of metaphysical realism describing a feeling one gets when intensely gazing into the canvas where familiar objects acquire additional meaning and role. The exhibition also includes two portraits by Evgeny Dedov painted in 2014. I believe you will easily recognize the works by Akhmat Bikanov as well as Sonya Shpurova’s painting from her project Wounded Eyes. It was that exhibition that marked a new period in the history of the gallery related to the historical events we are now living through. Igor Samolet’s Politics of Hate and Aleksei Taruts’s Ataraxian Currency displayed in autumn 2021 became signature events at the gallery. These projects were an accurate hit to their time, turning into its testimony. This has always been the great value of art for me. To represent the moment while keeping the observer’s distance. Careful Storage includes several works by Aleksei Taruts from the exhibition The Ultramute of Twelve Languages held in сцена/szena in 2019.
Art historian Douglas Crimp once said that ‘underneath each picture, there is always another picture,’ and our peering into art is a kind of a palimpsest, an excavation of past images and metaphors. Every artist develops their own methodology, and with art, we have an opportunity to become more finely tuned with the visible world. Ars longa vita brevis.