Symposium Sublime Imperfections: Imperfection and Trash Aesthetics in Russian Modern and Contemporary Art, June 2, 2016 @ASCA, UvA
MAY 19, 2016
In this symposium three expert speakers will share their insights on the concept of imperfection and ‘trash’ aesthetics in relation to different aspects of Russian art.
Symposium Sublime Imperfections: Imperfection and Trash Aesthetics in Russian Modern and Contemporary Art
Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of AmsterdamThursday June 2, 201614.00-17.00 Room 4.11, PC Hoofthuis, Spuistraat 134, 1012 VB Amsterdam
From late 19th century Russian dandyism, to the artists of the last Soviet-generation and the present-day art collective Laboratory for Poetic Action, Russian artists have long harboured interests in the non-polished. Join us this afternoon for talks and discussion on some highly interesting, but not widely known currents of the Russian art scene.
Prof. Ellen Rutten will provide an introduction and PhD researcher Fabienne Rachmadiev will lead the round-up discussion.
14.00 - 14.15 Word of welcome and introduction by Ellen Rutten
14.15 - 14.45 Inessa Kouteinikova The Russian Dandy
14.45 - 15.15 Pauline Michgelsen Artists of the Last Soviet Generation: the 1980s Art Scene in Moscow and St.Petersburg
15.15 - 15.40 Coffee break
15.40 - 16.10 Dorine Schellens ‘(Ne)soveršennye teksty’: Trash Aesthetics and the Problem of Representation in the Work of the Laboratory for Poetic Action
16.10- 17.00 Concluding remarks by Fabienne Rachmadiev and discussion
On the speakers:
Inessa Kouteinikova is a Amsterdam and Moscow- based curator of the 19th and early 20thC art and architectural historian. Former guest curator and editor of the Russian - Dutch issue of Pinakotheke, the cultural almanac (2006-2008). Her 50,000-word monograph on the 19thC Russian architectural theories was published by A-FOND press in 2004. Since 1997, she has researched the Russian and European 19thC intellectual and artistic traditions and examined many of the projects of that period. Contributed research and essays to the catalogue accompanying the exhibitions Russian Avant-Guard, St Gallery of NSW Sydney, From Russia with love, The National Gallery of Australia, Magritte and Architecture, Jan van Eyck Academy, Maastricht, NL, The Stroganoff: The Russian Noble Family and its Art Collection, The Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX, The Cold War Modern (Victoria andAlbert Museum, London). She is currently curating a large-scale exhibit on Russia and Orientalism at the Groningen Museum of the Netherlands (2010-2011). Founding consultant of ARTIKA, an Amsterdam-based research bureau on the 19thC art and architecture history.
The Russian Dandy tells a fascinating story about the development of a Dandy phenomenon and raises questions about the meanings and acceptances of dandyism in different Russian societies, cultures and epochs.The Russian dandy inhabited a world in which brilliance & perfection were valued at every level and persons strived to shine, dazzle, and signify an imperfect form of self- presentation. This research focuses on the rich personalities of the Russian people of elegance and taste and their preoccupation with art objects & possessions they accumulate during their lifetime. It is about charms and wonders of visual and material cultures that were essential to dandyism over the last hundred years, from the bourgeois salon culture to warehouses & fashion catalogues, from the commercially reproduced advertisements to satirical prints.
Pauline Michgelsen studied Russian language and literature in the 1980s in Amsterdam and Moscow, visited Russia dozens of times since, saw exhibitions, artists studio's and museums, organised exhibitions of Russian art in the Netherlands and of Dutch art in Russia, and managed a guest workshop for artists from the former Soviet Union in Amsterdam in the 1990s. She has been writing about Russian art and culture since 1985. In 2013 she published Portret van Rusland (Portrait of Russia), telling the history of Russian art through thirty-five works of art. She is also an author of children’s books and a translator, and lives in Toulouse, France.
"There are certain youthful memories that transcend the past in a way that makes it appear to have been impossibly perfect." Maxim D. Shrayer
(1967, author of Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story, about a day in spring in Moscow in 1985)
In her lecture Pauline Michgelsen focuses on the artists of the last Soviet generation: those who were born around 1960, grew up under Brezhnev and became full time artists under Gorbachev, some of them rising to fame.
Born in 1961, Michgelsen belongs to the same generation. In the second half of the 1980s she witnessed the performances, exhibitions and concerts of her peers in Moscow and St. Petersburg (still Leningrad at the time), saw them painting in their studio's and listened to their stories while drinking loads of tea, and some vodka. Her contribution therefore has a personal touch. Michgelsen will be looking back at this now so impossibly perfect past, without forgetting the imperfection and even chaos of the art and art scene of the last Soviet generation.
Dorine Schellens studies German and Russian at the University of Leiden and European Literatures and Cultures at the University of Freiburg (MA Thesis: ‘NE PREDSTAVLJAJU SEBJA MAJAKOVSKIM’. Die Rezeption der historischen Avantgarden, des Moskauer Konzeptualismus und des Moskauer Aktionismus im Werk von Kirill Medvedev, Roman Osminkin und Pavel Arsen’ev). Currently she is a PhD student at the International Graduate School ‘Cultural Transfer and Cultural Identity’, University of Freiburg. Title of Project: ‘Citaty iz raznych kontekstov’: Die Rezeption des Moskauer Konzeptualismus als Kulturtransfer zwischen Russland, Deutschland und den USA seit der Perestroika.
‘(Ne)soveršennye teksty’: Trash Aesthetics and the Problem of Representation in the Work of the Laboratory for Poetic Action
With his long poem “Punktirnaja kompozicija” von 1973, the conceptualist artist Andrej Monastyrskij invited his audience to draw pictures based on the impression that his performance of the text would make on them. Almost forty years later, the challenge of interpreting Monastyrskij’s hermetic poem was met once again by the St. Petersburg based art collective Laboratory for Poetic Action, which was founded by Pavel Arsen’ev and Roman Osminkin in 2010. A video shows excerpts from the poem sprayed or written on run-down walls, isolated back alleys, public garbage bins and damaged road signs. The artists’ deliberate use of trash aesthetics as well as their active engagement with the legacy of the Moscow conceptualist movement, to which the video testifies, characterize a great deal of both the lyrical output and the performance art of the LPA. Drawing on Scanlan (2005) and Snake-Beings (2015),1 who link the concept of ‘garbage’ or ‘trash’ to the problem of (linguistic) representation, I will propose that the study of trash aesthetics in the work of the LPA provides insight into the artists’ reinterpretation of conceptualist art practices for today’s sociopolitical context.
1 John Scanlan (2005): On Garbage. London (Reaktion Books). Also: Emit Snake-Beings (2015): “Trash Aesthetics and the Sublime. Strategies for Visualizing the Unrepresentable Within a Landscape of Refuse.” URL: http://www.nanocrit.com/issues/7-2015/trash-aesthetics-and-sublime-strategies-visualizing-unrepresentable-within-landscape-refuse