The exhibition pairs Althamer with Osmolovsky in a fluid conversation that acknowledges the differences between their works as well as the many similarities and overlaps. Despite the different forms and media they adopt – ranging from sculpture, installation and video, to more politically engaged actions and social forms of practice – the work of both artists often pivots around the idea of the body and modes of perception.
Paweł Althamer (b. 1967, Warsaw) will be represented by works that embody some of the central concerns tackled in his practice: collaboration, self-portraiture and the centrality of subjective human experience. Althamer’s major video cycle So-called Waves and Other Phenomena of the Mind from 2003-4, an eight-screen installation of short films made in collaboration with the Polish artist Artur Zmijewski, will be shown in its entirety. The videos document Althamer’s experiments with an array of mindaltering substances, ranging from hashish, LSD and magic mushrooms to peyote and truth serum, while also exploring hypnosis and the varying psychological states engendered by all of these means. Consciousness, rather than an altered conscious per se, is enacted in one of the videos titled Weronika (2004), which chronicles, in graphic but objective detail, the birth of the artist’s daughter.
The video then jumps forward several years to father and daughter playing in a park together and the way in which seeing things anew through her eyes transforms Althamer’s perception and understanding of the world around him, and through which the quotidian and mundane become marvellous. Althamer will also present a large-scale new bronze cast of the work Parys, which continues the investigation into monumental and statuesque forms of the human body that has spanned his career.
Anatoly Osmolovsky (b. 1969, Moscow) will be considered in the exhibition by a survey of his work in all media dating from the early 1990s until now, most of which have seldom been seen outside Russia. Osmolovsky began his career in the (then) Soviet Union as a writer in the late 1980s and staged a series of confrontational political performances in Moscow as the leader of the E.T.I. (Экспроприация Территории Искусства – Art Territory Expropriation) movement. Most of his production in those years was characterised by collective participation, working closely with the members of the Radek Community, who saw art as a tool for protest.
These important actions will be represented in the exhibition through a series of films and documentary photographs. In 1995, Osmolovsky founded Radek magazine, a Russian journal that put forward a politically radical and intellectually wide-ranging agenda, during the rise of Eastern Europe’s period of ‘wild capitalism’. By the early 2000s, Osmolovsky once again began to consider the more formal aspects of his art practice. Osmolovsky’s move into sculpture over the last decade or so will be examined in the exhibition through a series of major works such as Hardware and Breads, which manifest his radical shift towards investigating the vexed legacy of both Russian icons and the early-twentieth century avant-garde. New works by Osmolovsky that have not previously been exhibited will also be presented.
Althamer and Osmolovsky will also collaborate together on a new sculptural work for the V-A-C exhibition, which will evolve through an exchange of ideas between the two artists.
Paweł Althamer and Anatoly Osmolovsky: Parallel Convergences is curated by Nicholas Cullinan, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
V-A-C Foundation supports as donor the 55th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.
A fully illustrated catalogue will be produced to accompany the exhibition. V-A-C is dedicated to the international presentation, production and development of Russian contemporary Art – across a multitude of forms and within the framework of an invigorated and informed educational programme. Particularly important to the new generation of artists in Russia, V-A-C’s focus is on practically supporting and expanding the platform for home-grown talent, giving artists the opportunity to experience, engage with and interrogate international cultural practices whilst developing an authentic and autonomous artistic language. It is deservedly considered as one of the key proponents in opening out contemporary Russian culture to the wider world, and practically supporting and developing emerging artists through finding new international platforms for exhibition and opportunities for commissions as well as ways of encouraging cross-cultural exchange – especially important in the current climate.
Casa dei Tre Oci
(Vaporetto Stop “Zitelle”)
Tuesday to Sunday
10am – 6pm (free admission)