Founded on a premise of 60’s-era-evil-think-tank-meets-traveling circus, the group of collaborators known as Rufus Corporation have embarked on an expedition-cum-artwork that morphs into a cinema verité thriller as it moves from Moscow to the Caspian. They encounter time capsules and testaments to both past and present failed utopias. Their search, as they log the banalities of daily life, is for places, devices and people that are prescient as premonitions for the future.
In July 2007, inspired by Kazimir Malevich’s manifestos and the conundrums of ‘space’, Eve Sussman, Claudia de Serpa Soares, and Jeff Wood attempted to gain access to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the middle of the Central Asian steppe (the highly secured facility that is the heart of the Russian space program and the launch site of Yuri Gagarin, first man in orbit). Their goal was to resolve Wood’s hankering to ‘go to space,’ a desire he felt was perfectly in line with Malevich’s declaration “I am the chairman of space.” Stopped at the gate and detained by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), fingerprinted, iris scanned, and debriefed, they were later released from the Baikonur police station onto the platform of a train bound for the Aral Sea — site of endless salt residue, where roaming camels and horses rest in the shade of rusting hulks in what locals call the ‘ship graveyard’, one of the biggest environmental disasters known to man. They continued on to a city described to them as the ‘arm-pit’ of the steppe. An ordered numerical Soviet era utopia built where the desert meets the Caspian. A perfectly planned environment that lacked the essential substance of human life: water.
So began Eve Sussman and Rufus Corporation’s latest venture. Known for their previous projects 89 Seconds at Alcázar and The Rape of the Sabine Women, Rufus is in production on an expedition-cum-art-work that will culminate in a cinema verité thriller, White on White, that they describe as an improvised film noir culled from everyday life on the road between Moscow and the Caspian. Over the next year, episodes of the project will be released as “TV shows” using every possible platform, including the art gallery, as a means for broadcast. Similarly, cinematic convention is just one of the devices employed. The series also includes photographs, storyboards, installations and sculptures, each episode inevitably ending with…to be continued…
Winkleman Gallery is very pleased to present the first of these episodes: White on White: The Pilot, which will feature two artworks – points of departure on the subjects of time, space, past, future and Sussman’s constant subject ‘dailiness’. The centerpiece of White on White: The Pilot (the title a word play on the television pilot and famed astronaut and test pilot Yuri Gagarin) is Yuri’s Office, a set for the upcoming TV show. Based on Sussman’s photograph, Yuri’s Office, this detailed recreation, by Sussman and Nicolas Locke, is inspired by the museumification of the real office of Gagarin. The installation takes on the desire to freeze time, to impose cryogenics on space when it is still untenable to freeze people. A second video installation “How to Tell the Future from the Past, v.2” (HtttFftPv.2), by Eve Sussman and Angela Christlieb – shot during a 72-hour train journey across the steppe – conceptualizes time with the manifestation of humanity as the constant, as daily life – history in the making – runs backwards and forwards simultaneously. HtttFftPv.2 elevates the characteristics of humanity that transcend time, exposing us, un-empowered against it. Both pieces act as a visual ‘captain’s log’, marking time, as if to build a dam of toothpicks against the deluge. To read more go to: http://www.rufuscorporation.com/wordpress/