Anatoly Osmolovsky. The Way Political Positions Turn into Form
Stella Art Foundation at Mytnaya street
December 23, 2004 – January 29, 2005
"A new era has arrived. Russian contemporary art has entered a new phase of its evolution." These are the opening words from Anatoly Osmolovsky's introduction to his personal exhibition at the premises of Stella Art Foundation. These words sound symbolic, if one takes into account that the project is being presented at the gallery's new site at Mytnaya street, which has earned in just a couple of months a reputation of one of the most promising artistic venues of the Russian capital.
"The signs of the new times are clear and tangible: new galleries are set up, art awards are being instituted, large periodical exhibitions are held," continues the artist, participant of many international exhibitions, from the Venice Biennale to the recently held "Moscow-Berlin. 1950 – 2000. " It is therefore no coincidence that the opening ceremony of the First Moscow Biennale will feature a "gala closing" of Anatoly Osmolovsky's personal exhibition.
Another Osmolovsky's thesis is this: "Technologies of scandal and mass media provocations that were practised at the times of actionism have long exhausted their potential." It is noteworthy that Anatoly Osmolovsky, an action artist who managed to convince dozens of people to lay out a three-letter word on the Red Square, who provoked unfolding a slogan "Against All!" on the Mausoleum and once climbed onto the shoulder of Mayakovsky's monument, appears in the Stella Art's exhibition for the first time in a role of an abstract artist.
The exhibition The Way Political Positions Turn into Form will present several series of abstract works created in 2004. All of them are formally signed with the word "Untitled", since, according to the author, it is this expression that best fits to truly avant-gardist works. In passing, however, Osmolovsky refers to the series of his black sculptures as "Bugs", to the pink ones as "Pieces", to the grey ones as "Nails" and to the yellow ones as "Details", although the external similarity with things suggested by these names does not at all men that they carry any real artistic meaning.
Anatoly Osmolovsky insists that "any works of art, no matter how silent and formal, are necessarily loaded with some content. And the content is right here, around us, it is the thing that occupies the minds and feelings of virtually every person in Russia – the Caucasian terrorism. Creating an atmosphere of hidden threat and aggression is the substantive aspect of these works…"
Still, the viewer may fail to notice this "hidden threat". For some people Anatoly Osmolovsky's sculptures will remain simply "Bugs", "Nuts", "Brains", "Bread" or ideal surfaces in various colours and forms.
The Foundation has published an illustrated catalogue of the exhibition with an essay by Victor Miziano and Anatoly Osmolovsky's interview taken by Vladimir Levashov.