Stella Art Foundation is proud to host an exhibition by Artistic co-op Cupid. This the fourth exhibition by the Cupids at Stella Art and, like its forerunners, it consists of a highly intense installation and an eccentric performance. It goes without saying that, for the Cupids, the density of the exhibition environment is equivalent to the semantic density of their text. Judging by the fact that the installation takes up, not merely the walls and floor, but also the ceiling, and that the performance is a full rap recitative in a dead language, the authors must surely have an important message.
The Artistic co-op Cupid artists have this to say about their project:
“There is a theory that the artists of the Renaissance did not want to invent anything new — they wanted to revive antiquity, to be like the ancients. We can say that their project went drastically wrong. Irish monks of the 7th century had tried to write in exquisite Latin, and Ingres would dream of being the new Raphael. But the monks and Ingres achieved something different. This craving for beauty, for another world, is not merely a feature of under-developed societies or Irish intellectuals of the Middle Ages, but of all those who demand Great Art, including us, the so-called conceptualists. “There is a suspicion that all great achievements in art spring from mistakes and misunderstandings, confusion and false erudition. What has to be done to make this happen again and always? Such is the theme of the new project by Artistic co-op Cupid. Rap, written in Latin patois, humanitarian aid from the past (fragments of antiquity parachuted down on brassieres, a nun flying out of the wall on skis, aquariums with frozen sections of images) await their audience to reflect on how ‘art instead of art’ is made. We count on your misunderstanding. Thank you!”
As can be seen, the Cupids make no secret of what they intend to show their public — they give a virtually complete list of the exhibits of the forthcoming exhibition in advance. They know that seeing their work is not equivalent to understanding what they have to say. Indeed, the artists count precisely on our misunderstanding, thereby gently pushing us towards free interpretations, and so towards mistakes. Towards those productive mistakes, which they believe to be the source of everything that is best in art. Indeed, everything that is correct is a rule, a law and a norm, and the contrary of these is freedom, without which creativity cannot exist in principle. That may sound shockingly romantic coming from the lips of “so-called conceptualists”. But this very freedom, along with with misunderstanding and mistakes, is what they are asking us, the audience, to share with them, as they entice us into their game, into their “art instead of art”. Whatever else the Cupids’ new project may be, it seems to be a conspiration. Not only and not so much a conspiration of the artists themselves — their intentions have been clear since long ago — but of their whole team together with us, the audience, who have been co- opted into their gang in advance. How else could the exhibition have got its name?
Artistic co-op Cupid was set up in 2008 by three outstanding representatives of the Moscow Conceptualist School, Yuri Albert, Victor Skersis and Andrei Filippov. The fourth member of the co-op, Paruyr Davtyan, joined them in 2015. Since its establishment, the Co-op has implemented six large-scale exhibition projects: Vitya and the Hares; Fragma, Pragma, Enigma; and Artistic co-op Cupid (all three at Proekt_Fabrika, Moscow, 2008); Show and Tell: Still Waters Run Deep (Stella Art Foundation, Moscow, 2009); Water Intake (Proekt_Fabrika, Moscow, 2010); Caspar, David, Friedrich at the Aesthetics vs. Information exhibition (Center for Cultural Communication, Klaipeda, 2010); Metamorpheus (Stella Art Foundation, Moscow, 2011); and The Stationmaster (Stella Art Foundation, Moscow, 2015).