Knoll Garléria Budapest: Russian Renaissance 2.0


Polina Kanis: Eggs, video-installáció, 2010

Russian Renaissance 2.0

14 June – 28. July 2012.

Participating artists: Alexander Brener-Barbara Schurz, Ivan Gorshkov, Polina Kanis, Viktoria Lomasko, PG-Group, Victor Ribas

Curators: Vasilina Verdi – Hans Knoll

According to the eminent literary critic Dmitry Likhachev, the Russian Renaissance “was only prepared, but for some reasons weren't materialized in time and acquired long-term, diffuse nature”. So we could trace Renaissance in any historical period of Russia from 15th century till now. For example, Nikolay Berdyaev proclaimed the beginning of XX century as a starting point for the national “spiritual renaissance”, expressed in the human's struggle for “the spiritual culture liberation from the yoke of social utilitarianism”. We all know what was the result of this ideological battle from The Internationale hymn: “This is the eruption of the end/ Of the past let us make a clean slate”. In 1922 Berdyaev were deported from Russia on the board of legendary philosophers’ steamer[1] – the conception of renaissance were defenetely changed.

During the years of Perestroika, punk-band “The Stupids” shaked the country with the new, post-internationale hymn, named Russian Renaissance. The song refrain were about Russian “big bad guys” who will sooner or later wake up from their sweet     lethargy and show Europeans and the democrats what exactly a real “russian renaissance” means. At first glance absurd word usage, illustrated new contextual opportunities for this phrase as a metaphor of awakening and blossoming of something, as a kind of mental deseas diagnosis, as something very spontaneous and frustrating and finally, as something on the edge of vulgarity (as a pathetic title for the porcelain dinner set). Russian Renaissance – is something beautiful in ugly sorroundings with any hope for salvation.

Starting with the post-perestroika period and another crash of reality, a nation once again plunged into the search for the delirious idea of ​​the rebirth of Russia. On this occasion, mass media compared the country with a patient who is more alive than dead and is in urgent need of resuscitation. These medical metaphor accurately describes the long-term period when Russia was sleeping in coma, like enchanted bride in crystal coffin waiting for the rescuer – Prince Yelisey[2]. However, besides the fabulous bride, in a crystal sarcophagus rests another Russian "Snow White", the leader of the world proletariat and communism god-father – Vladimir Lenin. And perhaps, in anticipation of the destiny kiss, too… The moral of this story is that, there are many different «Russias» – the Tzar time Russia, the Soviet’, the Putin’s etc. And every time we talk about the Renaissance or rebirth, the question arises: what kind of country you are going to revive, to whom is it necessary to give the invigorating kiss and the rejuvenating apple? And for many years political and cultural forces are deciding what should be new Russia.
In this complicated and extremely dramatic situation artists, visionaries and culture protagonists can not stay aside. Everyone is trying to solve this burning question for him/herself.

To some extend all revolutions in Russia started in the spheres of culture. And nowdays political activity, especially the series of Protest meeting against unfair elections in December 2011, shows how the art strategies became political.

Art-activism is one of the most popular trend in contemporary russian art-scene. PG art-group started their activity as a followers of Rastafari movement and gradually transformed to radical political group. The funny posters from the project Somali is already here shown in 2009 – in the end of 2011 looks like gloomy prophecy comes true. Russia is on the edge of next palace revolution.

Victoria Lomasko – master of social-critical scetches (at russian court-rooms and juvenile prisons) made her impact in the Snow Revolution[3] chronicles. Big Meeting series – is an expressive reportage about the biggest in modern history demonstration on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow on 10.12.2011.

(…) Victor Ribas is examining symbols of masculinity (war technics, tanks, rocket-launchers) and femininity (breast-feeding woman, ballet-dancer etc.). Expressive technic of lazer-graphia helps author to show the illuminosity of main human symbols of life and death.

(…) And what about Renaissance? It lays in the essence of russian art, soul, philosophy and life and from time to time it used to burst out in form of the absurd and cruel russian riot. Or, as we already see on Bolotnaya Square and Sakharov Bulevard, in form of well-organised citizen marches…

Vasilina Verdi

Art-historian, co-curator of «Russian Renaissance»

[1] philosophers’ steamer – the unofficial name for Lenin's political campaign, when more than 160 intellectuals (teachers, doctors, students, priests etc.) with «wrong» political views, were sent out from country.

[2] The russian knight – hero of the Puskin’s “Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Heroes” (1833)

[3] The unofficial, poetic title for the russian political activity in the end of 2011

[4] The Sugar Kremlin. Sergey Sorokin, 2008

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The introduction of Hans Knoll in German: www.knollgalerie.at/elozetes0.html

Knoll Garléria
Liszt Ferenc tér 10
1061 Budapest
www.knollgalerie.hu

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