Toward the Source is the first initiative at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art to invite artists to conduct research in Garage Archive Collection and make a new work—or a new interpretation of the archive materials—in response to their discoveries. Five intergenerational practitioners with varying creative interests have each spent eight months exploring a collection from Garage Archive Collection that they found compelling, which in turn has led to further research that both expands and deepens the specificities of each particular item under scrutiny.
Traditionally, artists—particularly those involved in the underground art scene in the Soviet Union—have been some of the key figures to establish and build archives, but to draw on an institutional archive for research is a new departure. Addressing the issue of subjectivity that underpins aural histories and personal accounts, this exhibition bridges the gap between past and present, with artists offering a contemporary perspective on the legacies of their collective histories.
Olga Chernysheva (b. 1962, Moscow. Lives and works in Moscow) focused on Leonid Talochkin’s archive collection.
Vyacheslav Kuritsyn (b. 1965, Novosibirsk. Lives and works in Ekaterinburg and Moscow) focused on the press collection of art articles and cuttings from the Russian newspapers of 1900s–1920s.
Vladimir Logutov (b. 1980, Samara. Lives and works in Samara and Moscow) focused on the Art Projects Foundation collection.
Andrei Monastyrsky (b. 1949, Petsamo, Murmansk region. Lives and works in Moscow) focused on Igor Makarevich’s archive collection.
Kirill Savchenkov (b. 1987, Moscow. Lives and works in Moscow) focused on the library collection, the Art Projects Foundation collection, and Garage video archive.
Garage Archive Collection is the largest public archive in Russia dedicated to the research of Russian contemporary art from the 1950s through to the present. Established in 2012 and in continuous development, it currently comprises twenty archives totaling over 400,000 items from galleries, artists, collectors, and curators. Containing important material that underpins the development of what was once known as “unofficial” art in Russia and the subsequent growth of Russian contemporary art, the Archive Collection includes articles published by local and foreign media from the late 1970s to the present day; a stills library consisting of exhibition documentation, portraits of artists, and reproductions of their works from 1960 to 2010; video documentaries related to performances and exhibitions in Moscow from 1985; and a corpus of texts written by artists from the 1960s through the 1990s, as well as unpublished critical articles, artists’ biographies, press releases, catalogues, and other materials from exhibitions (1985–2013).
Toward the Source coincides with the first Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, the largest-ever survey of art produced across the country. Through these two exhibitions that introduce Russian artists to international audiences, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art intends to draw attention to the people creating the art scene in Russia now.