MARK KELNER presents
SOLARIS: Shelter for the Next Cold War
April 12 – 14, 2019
Washington, DC -- Galerie Blue Square is pleased to announce a multimedia installation by Mark Kelner; part of UMBRELLA, a three-day DC pop-up exhibition, at 2114 14th Street, NW. The event opens with a public reception on Friday, April 12, from 5 pm – midnight. Curator and installation designer, Zachary Paul Levine, will lead tours on Friday at 6 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 3 pm.
Kelner’s collection of kitsch and fine art – exploring clichés of Russia and America – is woven into a satire of cultural and political commentary. He mixes a DC punk aesthetic with sleek printmaking, painting and video. Solaris calls visitors into a rich multicultural environment that vibrates, with tensions between individual and national identities, between fine art and political propaganda, and capitalism and communism. As stated by the artist, “the story within my work is deeply personal; it is an emotional, unconscious narrative that is at once autobiographical and conceptual.”
The installation’s centerpiece is the Bunker Solaris, a free-standing structure suggestive of a safe room that houses the contents of a shelter. Different from an archetypical shelter that protects physical properties, Kelner infuses his shelter with icons of emotional survival -- paintings, photographs, prints and memorabilia fill the interior of the structure while video, music and news clips surround the exterior. Bassist-composer Kai Filipczak has produced a soundtrack especially for the installation.
Currently living and working in Washington, DC, Mark Kelner was born in 1974 to parents who fled the Soviet Union. His roots in both Russian and American cultures form the basis of his artistic creations – from advertising and corporate branding in American media to symbols of Russian and Soviet visual culture and art history. Solaris draws upon this body of work that includes themes of authority, power and commerce.
The artist has exhibited in the DC area and, most recently in Paris, France. He is a visual artist, filmmaker and writer. As a graduate of George Mason University, he studied with famed novelist Vasily Aksyonov. Kelner’s work has appeared in Artenol, The Atlantic, and The Times, which published his humorist essay “How to Sell Art to Oligarchs.” His visual works have been showcased in various media platforms and his short performance film; “So We Beat On…” was featured recently by The Washington Post.