Secession, Vienna: Time Capsule


Time Capsule. Artistic Report on Catastrophes and Utopia

November 21, 2014 – January 25, 2015

Press conference: Thursday, November 20, 2014, 10 a.m.

Opening: Thursday, November 20, 2014, 7 p.m.

Chto Delat’s exhibition Time Capsule. Artistic Report on Catastrophes and Utopia combines a complex environment centered around the sculpture A Resurrected Soldier and the film The Excluded. In a Moment of Danger (both 2014) with an archive comprising posters, ephemera, fragmentary footage, and documents that illustrate the oeuvre of the Russian collective in the more than ten years of its existence.

Chto Delat’s work on the exhibition—conceived, in keeping with their theatrical-dramatic praxis, as a “tragic” show—was overtaken by the most recent political events in Russia and Ukraine, which are symptomatic of an ongoing dramatic transformation that changes the face of the world. For Chto Delat, these developments pose an almost existential challenge to the possibilities of artistic action. As they write, their work “[…] reflects what art could be at a moment when familiar politics and everyday life start falling apart. The events of recent months have thrown Russian artists and creative workers into a completely new reality: a new Cold War atmosphere, an escalating search for enemies, evertighter repression of all dissent, and an open military confrontation with Ukraine leaving thousands of dead on both sides.”

The picture of the present situation they paint in the exhibition is dismal: a scenery composed of media images from disaster scenes and war zones. Cutouts confront the visitors with events in Russia, Ukraine, and Palestine as well as images of Ebola victims and IS fighters. At the heart of this dystopian arrangement stand a fragmentary monumental wood-and-papier-mâché sculpture of a soldier and a small sculpture depicting a dysplastic organ: half heart and half ear, it contains the time capsule announced in the show’s title and its utopian impulse. As Chto Delat explain, the time capsule, for which each member contributed a significant object, links the show to what may yet be: “Because we believe the future is there to be made.”

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