Curated by Marco Scotini
Wednesday, 12th December, Ida Pisani’s Prometeogallery presents the Ars Erotica, Ars Theoretica, Ars Politica exhibition consisting of the works of three young artists: Alexey Buldakov, Petr Bystrov and Valery Chtak. Following the David Ter-Oganyan exhibition, the Prometeogallery continues to probe the emerging Moscow scene, during this second phase of the exhibition season.
With a derisory and provocative spirit, which can already be perceived by its name, the exhibition presents the works of three individual artists who, despite their total autonomy in artistic strategies applied to their works, can somehow be grouped together in their approach to art as ideological criticism or, to put it more simply, as a behavioural or social critique. Exponents of the post-Soviet condition, the observational starting-point of the three artists’ work has its roots in their communal and privileged world of Moscow life, currently prey to widespread corruption and accelerated hyper-consumerism.
Where can socialisation processes be found today? What remains of the experience of the fading sense of “community”? How does social behaviour function in a generalised market condition? These are just some of the questions that are constantly raised in an indirect manner by the three artists through their work. Without presuming to provide answers, Buldakov, Bystrov and Chtak work with graphic signs that are basic and minimal, or abstract symbols or on the deconstruction of a range of stark clichés which blend into social contexts.
The direct descendents of the provocative and unpolitically correct Actionism of the art scene in Moscow in the 1990s, Buldakov, Bystrov and Chtak are also the offspring of the Dada spirit and Situationist critique. They stage a multitude of visual strategies, starting from specific source conditions, such as graffiti and skateboarding for Valery Chtak, 2D video animations for Alexey Buldakov and the underground electronic and punk scene for Petr Bystrov.
Valery Chtak’s huge grey-black-ochre murals, which will be presented by Prometeogallery following their resounding success at the Espace Louis Vuitton in Paris, blend Basquiat’s graffiti art with Joseph Beuys, a fictitious Yiddish outlook with continuously repeated pop icons, like that of Mark David Chapman, John Lennon’s assassin. Alexey Buldakov’s 2D animations have sequential rhythms and their foundations are always abstract black and white graphic images, duplicated obsessively, as in “Crash Test” (2005) and “Sex Factory” (2005), creating a comic effect. Petr Bystrov’s improvised performances, such as “Exercises” (2006), and his drawings aim to deconstruct the urban imagination and its dwellers who, like cartoons, are the fruit of a society which revolves around showbusiness.
Present in Italy for the first time ever as individual artists, Buldakov, Bystrov and Chtak are not unfamiliar to the Italian public. Indeed, they are already well-known members of the Radek Community collective, of which they have been a part since the 1990s. On the occasion of the Prometeogallery exhibition, the history of the Moscow-based group will be examined in an appointment at the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA) in Milan, curated by Marco Scotini. Tuesday, 11th December will see the presentation of the art book “Egalité”, produced by the Radek Community and published by Onestar Press in Paris in 2007, as well as a 30 minute film, “Pantsless Parties”, by Petr Bystrov and Alexey Buldakov, using found footage on the history of the group, which was invited to the last Istanbul Biennale edition by Hou Hanru.