press release

It's OK to change your mind!
Contemporary Russian art from the Gazprombank Collection
20.01.2018 - 18.03.2018

It’s OK to change your mind! Contemporary Russian art from the Gazprombank Collection, curated by Lorenzo Balbi (Artistic Director of the MAMbo - Museum of Modern Art of Bologna, Italy) and Suad Garayeva-Maleki (Chief Curator and Collection Director of YARAT Contemporary Art Space in Baku, Azerbaijan), offers a new vantage point for reflection on the legacy of the early 20th century avant-garde in Russian contemporary art through the works of 21 artists and collectives in various media, from the Gazprombank Collection.

At a time of global political uncertainty and turmoil, protest once again takes a form of abstraction and seemingly apolitical quotidian encounters become a push for social change. The exhibition charts a spectrum of various artistic positions, from those commenting on individual struggles and local vernacular to those exploring the dystopian dreams of building alternative realities.

While the Russian avant-garde of the last century called for concentrated action towards a certain goal, the artistic force today seems to be diffused and indeterminate. Many of the works emit an aura of being suspended in time and space in a state of perpetual expectation of a better future. Nostalgic sentiments describe a desire for a peaceful and more equitable society while the new Russian identity is being negotiated through juxtaposition of old traditions with the new global youth culture.

Evoking at times the philosophy of Russian Cosmism, according to which colonizing space would lead to immortality, one way of achieving a new beginning becomes possible by breaking away from the ordinary and into a new, often post-human realm.

Many works in the show re-appropriate the hard architectural forms of the avant-garde in order to deconstruct them into the building blocks of the new world order. Architecture thus acts as both a stand in for humanity in its intimate habitat and a mise-en-scene for the new societal play.

Artists in the exhibition together herald a paradigm shift despite the confusion and uncertainty facing their generation. The title of the show, suggested by Svetlana Shuvaeva’s eponymous work and itself borrowed from a popular slogan of a multinational corporation IKEA, highlights the sense of play inherent within current artistic practice. The processes of achieving a new status quo remain fluid and manifold, and whether it is through repurposing our immediate environment or landing us on the moon, change is coming and it will be OK.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in English and Russian, with an insert in Italian, published by Corraini Edizioni.

Artists in the show
Sergey Bugaev (Afrika) / Victor Alimpiev / Sergey Bratkov / Olga Chernysheva / Vladimir Dubossarsky / Semyon Faibisovich / Alexandra Galkina / Alexander Gronsky / Alina Gutkina / Daria Irincheeva / Irina Korina / Elena Kovylina / MishMash (Mikhail Leykin and Maria Sumnina) / Anatoliy Osmolovsky / Yuri Palmin / Alexandra Paperno / Pavel Pepperstein / Mikhail Rozanov / Sergey Sapozhnikov / Svetlana Shuvaeva / Arseny Zhilyaev