This exhibition gathers three Moscow-based artists who each examine their relationship to the past, present and future, based on personal experience as a knowing subject. The condition in which precise information about what is happening is substituted with hopes and expectations illustrates the impossibility of total certainty in the knowability of the world and its security.
The works of Alexey Korsi explore the existential suspicion that often gives form to the little conspiracy theories of daily life. Lacking an absolute knowledge of reality, we suspect the worst of it, in any event focusing first and foremost on any potentially ominous signs. In this sense, normal bags – pictured in compositional opposition to the standard urban landscape – can stir up anxiety by suggesting the figures of their owners, who are standing nearby, but do not quite enter into the frame. An end product of evolution, our protective instinct goads the viewer to presume images of silent figures to be a threat. There are processes that remain largely concealed from us, but that play out over and over again in daily life. Secret, but incredibly significant for the course of world events, these processes reveal themselves in the form of certain traces, little lights accidentally left on our dashboard. This secret service goes about its business, so clandestinely that all we can understand about it is that the process is running and will continue to run further. In this work, a connection is forged between reality and the imagination that seeks to deceive us. A similar kind of imagination can be inferred in the still-smoldering ashtray, the focus on which is deeply tied to our experience of time. In a moment of deep thought, that instant when some idea has seized us, time around us can stop, leaving our physical processes to wait for us to return our attention to them.
In the work of Polina Kanis, we see how a place deemed a safe haven for a group of people seeking refuge from the world becomes, in practice, not a shelter, but a waiting room. Darkness, dankness and a lower gravitational force define this space, laden with all its symptoms. People manage to get by in this bunker only because they have experienced true danger outside its confines. Isolated as they are, the developments of what to come hold little importance for them.
Alexey Mandych’s work lays out a history of the inability to conform, to meet the impossible expectations of being the same. While it affects us all, time is only a habit, after all. By breaking the rhythms of time we can uncover the key to the world’s diversity and understand why there can never be complete control over it. The attempt to measure time, to calculate a unified standard, leads to a lack of curiosity, as well as a lack of aging and the development that comes with it.
Audience participation is part of the artistic process. The White Cube – the accepted setting for contemporary exhibitions – denies architecture and prevents viewers from fully participating in creating the meaning of a work. This kind of collaboration demands a conducive environment, set with ‘traps’ for the viewer to help foster engagement. The furniture specially designed and constructed by Korsi fills this function, by providing a comfortable vantage point for viewing the works and absorbing the new ideas they present.