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Contested Spaces in Post-Soviet Art: Russia Redux #2

Sidney Mishkin Gallery
135 East 22 Street, 646-660-6652
Flatiron / Gramercy
March 24 - April 26, 2006
Reception: Thursday, March 23, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Participating artists include: Abilsait Atabekov, Alina & Jeff Bliumis, CAT Group, Olga Chernysheva, Yevgeniy Fiks, Dmitry Gutov, Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djoumaliev, Elena Kovylina, Erbossyn Meldibekov, Anatoly Osmolovsky, Taras Polataiko, REP Group, Dmitry Vilensky and Chto Delat

Curated by Elena Sorokina

The exhibition Contested Spaces in Post-Soviet Art examines the tensions and conflicts that define post-Soviet spaces in the age of privatization. During the Soviet period, the landscapes of urban centers were scattered with vacant spaces like unused lots and abandoned housing projects. Yet with the fall of communism, these socialized public and communalized private domains have largely disappeared. New capitalist spaces have claimed various remnants of the slain state monster, whose total domination over space has been replaced by contested territories with artificial borders. The artists in this show reflect on current modes of domination in the post-Soviet region and point to cases of shifting political alliances and control as well as to the competition over formerly public space that has become standard practice in the current stage of post-communist capitalism

Anatoly Osmolovsky’s performances in Moscow comment on shifting symbolic meanings associated with historically and ideologically charged sites, such as prominent monuments like Red Square and the Russian Parliament. By organizing demonstrations and political performances in the streets of Novosibirsk and Kyiv, respectively, the collectives CAT and REP reclaim public spaces, capturing these “private-public sites” for a brief moment and using them as tactical terrain. The photographs of Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djoumaliev reveal tensions characteristic of Central Asian sites that have been reappropriated either by capitalist enterprise or by the new state power. As a result of an unprecedented process of privatization, relations between public and private spaces have changed dramatically, reflecting the new cultural standards of Russia’s capitalism. Dmitry Vilensky and Chto Delat undertake in-depth investigations of these new modes of public space in St. Petersburg as well as the social production that occurs within their bounds.

Video Screening at Art In General, 79 Walker Street, March 21 at 7pm, Panel Discussion at Location One, 26 Greene Street, March 29 at 7 pm
Have photos of this show? Tag them with artcal-2148 to see them here.