Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA)
Feb 1st – Feb 26th, 2017
The exhibition project «The Border» explores and reflects upon borders and the origin of borders of various kinds: as territorial exclusions or, conversely, inclusions; as cultural, personal or social dividing lines; as an instrument with which to distinguish between «us» and «them» which actually generates this dichotomy in the first place. Thus the word «border» should be taken as a metaphor, as a conventional, received image, which is subject to change — a pressing issue for Russia and the former Soviet republics, as well as for Germany and Europe. The geographical and cultural border between Europe and Asia is the topical thread running through the exhibition. The project approaches these topics from an artistic point of view and cultural dimension: «Our aim is to promote the most diversified analysis of processes and motives of and reasons for the appearance of borders,» states Astrid Wege, Head of Cultural Programmes at the Goethe-Institut, Moscow.
The project focuses on the young generation of artists who, starting from 2017, will present their insights into and reflections upon the matter at the travelling exhibition in Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia and Germany. In her series of photographs «The Edges of Gilea», Anastasiia Zhyvkova explores three natural «cordons» in the South of her homeland in order to illustrate the abstract notion of «border» using wholly visual means. The group «Where Dogs Run» (founded in Yekaterinburg in 2000) turns to the subject of temporal borders. The smallpox vaccination scar is a physical mark or emblem of every person who grew up in the USSR. People belonging to the younger, «smooth-armed», generation appear to live on the other side of the border, as if they were a different biological species. The electro-mechanical theatre «Phobia of the Other» will demonstrate how these distinctive marks were made. Olga Jitlina, together with a group of artists and migrant workers from different countries in the post-Soviet space, searches for common cultural traits. In her work «Nasreddin in Russia», she explores the binding, unlimited power of humour. Can laughter, at least temporarily, make people forget about the things that divide them? Can humour provide protection from racial prejudice? The notion of freedom plays a crucial role in another work — «All Borders Are Within Us» by Viron Erol Vert. The work takes the form of a headscarf with a women’s hairstyle printed on either side. When a woman dons this headscarf, she «tries on» one of these hairstyles, though her head remains covered. Thus, it suggests a solution for Muslim women (or non-Muslim women in Muslim countries) to the necessity of covering their heads. The installation «100 Pialas» by Katya Isaeva is a kind of cultural research conducted on the basis of one artefact. In the Soviet era, a trip to Central Asia was one of the few possibilities to get acquainted with another culture; people willingly brought pialas as an exotic souvenir. Each object has its own story, and together they constitute an allegorical narrative about cross-cultural interaction. Something like cultural «field» research underlies the work «19 a Day» by Taus Makhatcheva who, accompanied by the wedding photographer Shamil Gadjidadayev, visited — uninvited — nineteen random weddings in Makhachkala within a day. The artist congratulated the newlyweds respectively, danced, ate and took stereotypical wedding photographs under the professional supervision of her assistant.