Once Upon a Present

Stills from ZAIBI Group, "By Accident," 1998.

As riots rage in Moscow, determining Russia’s future, curator and sometime Baibakov Art Projects-collaborator Elena Yaichnikova offers a view at the present, with this group show of five Russian contemporary artists opening today at galeria sc in Zagreb.

In her intro to “Once Upon a Present,” Yaichnikova describes the present as “unstable, ambiguous, controversial by nature.” Her elaboration strikes resonance, given the current events on Teatralny Ploschad:

 This exhibition takes an opportunity to speak about Russia in the present time in the light of the social subconscious. Somewhere between modernization and conservatism, imposing the past and hopes for future changing, Russia nowadays has all visual signs of a capitalist society and a relative economic stability. However, what is hiding under the glorious image of a “new strong Russia” formulated by those in power? The situation in which the possibility of political action is limited, a few activist initiatives aside, has particular relevance with the present.

The included artists – Victor Alimpiev, Sergey Sapozhnikov, ZAIBI Group, Factory of Found Clothes, Arseny Zhilaev and Baibakov Art Projects’ alum Ira Korina – touch on the present political situation through nostalgic evocations of the past, from Zhilaev’s collages of found “Proletarian Art” in the Oktyabr Paper Factory, to ZAIBI’s animations of Lenin and Stalin, recast as abstract figures.

The show runs from December 7 – 18, 2011.

Arseniy Zhilyaev, "New Museum of Revolution. Proletarian art 1970-2011", 2011

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