press release

The artistic scene in Moscow, where exhibitions of Russian art are now becoming less and less frequent, has reacted drastically to the new political and economic situation in the country. The Soviet past no longer supplies the main theme for artistic production. Instead, the newly introduced capitalist system, the fast moving times and the momentous changes that have affected everyone's lives in the ten years and which no one can avoid form the new themes. Accordingly, the artists' reaction to their environment is just as radical as the situation itself. All of the artists participating in the group exhibition in the Vienna Secession are distinguished by their very personal and direct way of reacting to the political and economic situation - often by introducing seemingly absurd, sometimes self-destructive elements into their work that are full of humour, yet devoid pathos and any claim to universality.

These works, which were largely created in situ, are being presented alongside previously unknown documentary videos that illustrate the activities of the "father generation" of the '70's.

ARTISTS Alexander Brener, Vladimir Dubosarsky & Alexander Vinogradov, Fenso Group, Vadim Fishkin, Ludmila Gorlova, Alexej Isaev, Oleg Kulig & Mila Bredikhina, Tanja Lieberman, Nezesudik Group

Short biographies of the curators

JOSEPH BACKSTEIN born in Moscow 1945; graduated from Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering; dissertation at the Institute of Sociology, Moscow; since 1991 director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow; publishes contributions for journals and catalogues; curated numerous exhibitions, i.e. "Exhibition in the Bath House", Sandunovskiye, Moscow, 1988; "Expensive Art", Palace of the Youth, Moscow, 1989; "Perspectives of Conceptualism", Exhibition Hall in Peresvetov Pereoulok, Moscow, 1990; "Between Spring and Summer", Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma; The Instiute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 1990; "Perspectives of Conceptualism", PS1, Clock Tower, New York, 1991; "Stalin's Choice: Soviet Socialist Realism 1932-1956", PS1, New York, 1993; "Personal View on War", Museum of "House on Embankment", Moscow.

JOHANNA KANDL Artist, born in 1954 in Vienna; studied painting in Vienna; one year's scholarship in Belgrad 1979/80, which led to a special interest in Eastern Europe. Exhibitions since 1979 include: Galerie Ariadne, Vienna, 1982 and 1984; Galerie Six Friedrich, Munich, 1984; Galerie Knoll, Vienna and Budapest, 1987, 1990 and 1994; Graphic Cabinet in the Vienna Secession, 1991; Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago, 1996; Salzburger Kunstverein, 1996; Center of Contemporary Art, Vilnius, 1997. The artist has been working increasingly outside normal galleries since 1983, i.e. the project "Arbeitszeit" ("Working Hours") in the Vienna State Opera in 1994, "Der Kreis ist noch lange nicht geschlossen" ("The Circle has not yet Closed") at the Heldentor in Vienna in 1995, in "No Loitering" in Chicago and "Choose Life, Choose a job, choose a career" in Vienna. Catalogues include "Portraits", 1990, "Akte/Nudes", 1993, "Arbeitszeit", 1994 (ed. by Johanna Kandl), "Geschlossene Gesellschaft", 1996, (ed. by Salzburger Kunstverein).


only in german

Russian Actionism and its Context
Kuratoren: Joseph Backstein, Johanna Kandl

mit Alexander Brener, Dubossarsky & Vinogradov, Fenso Group, Vadim Fishkin, Ludmila Gorlova, Alexej Isaev, Oleg Kulik & Mila Bredikhina, Tanja Lieberman, Nezesudik Group