Two major video art shows open in Moscow
With exhibitions at the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture and GMG Gallery, the medium is finally gaining prominence in the city
By John Varoli. Web only
Published online: 21 June 2010
moscow. This month marks the opening of two major video art events in Moscow that underscore how important the medium is becoming for the city’s contemporary art scene. On 18 June, the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture opens a show of new video work by the Russian group AES+F (running for one month), while on 21 June, GMG Gallery opens a show of new video work by the Russian group AES+F (running for one month), while on 21 June, GMG Galleryhttp://www.gmggallery.com opens an exhibition of works by US video art pioneer Gary Hill (closing on 30 June), the first solo project in Russia for the artist who began experimenting with the medium in the early 1970s
“Gary Hill’s exhibition is an extraordinary event for Moscow,” said GMG Gallery owner Marina Goncharenko. “Contemporary art stars like Damien Hirst and other ex-Young British Artists are not a rarity in Moscow, as well as Bill Viola's video works. But this is the first time an intellectual star of such calibre has come here. I hope his exhibition and lectures will stimulate greater interest in video as an art form among the younger generation of artists, many of whom have a strong hunger to express themselves with new media technology.” Hill’s Moscow exhibition will include one of his most famous works, Wall Piece, 2000, a single-channel installation where the author rhythmically beats on a black wall, the moments of impact lit by sharp beams of a stroboscope.
Hill has long wanted to do something in Moscow, and the show at GMG is the world premier of his new work. At the time of going to press the piece was still in progress and the artist could not reveal details. “Hill is a real pioneer of video art, and his exhibition will be important for exposing Russia to the genre of video installation,” said Olga Kisseleva, a prominent video artist from post-Soviet Russia who teaches new media art at the Sorbonne university in Paris.
AES+F’s premier in Russia of the “Feast of Trimalchio”, first shown at the 2009 Venice Biennale, is on nine massive screens and runs for 28 minutes. The work, which took three years to make, is a metaphor of “society in the post-colonial and even post-global world”, said AES+F’s Tatiana Arzamasova. “Video art is still in its infancy in Russia, but in large part that is due to the fact that contemporary art is not very developed in our country.”
Goncharenko said the history of video art in Russia began in 1985 when artists had “the chance to finally hold a video camera in their hands, and these had to be smuggled into the country”. While Russian artists increasingly see video as a powerful form of expression, they are finding almost no support from the local market, and primarily rely on international interest.
“There are great video artists in Russia such as AES+F and Olga Chernysheva, and last year we even sold one of her works to the Museum of Modern Art in New York,” said Volker Diehl, a Berlin dealer who works with Russian artists. “However, there are almost no Russian collectors or institutions really supporting and buying these video art pieces.”
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