The name of the exhibition “Parsunas non grata” first emerged more than 10 years ago when Boris Orlov made a trip to Austria. That time, during a humorous conversation between preparations for the exhibition-intervention “Circle of Heroes” at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna), the idea popped up. But the result was a firm intention to make “Parsunas” the artist’s next project. A few years later, in 2023, the fresh decision to combine Boris Orlov and Sergei Shekhovtsov works gave the project a fundamentally new meaning. The initial concept of the exhibition was also supplemented with some sharp agenda picked up from the global information field. It all indicates its timely appearance in the Moscow cultural life. And the lively faces of visitors, who all leave the new halls of Stella Art Foundation in the Mercury Tower with a blooming smile, prove its real social demand.
Now the huge exhibition space of the Foundation contains more than 60 artworks. Many of them are already familiar to the public, but some works are new and being exhibited for the first time. They all appear in social media photographs on a regular basis, attracting increasing interest to the Orlov and Shekhovtsov oeuvre.
Along with the Foundation team and the artists, Anton Kozlov, the collector, who shared a number of works from his personal collection to the exhibition, and Gennady Noskov, CEO of KADO company, who became the main sponsor of the project, also made a major contribution to the exhibition’s making. Mercury Group, Mercury Tower, and ILONA-K artspace also took part in the organizing process.
We asked Anton Kozlov and Gennady Noskov what they think about the project and its presentation, which coincided with the new Stella Art Foundation space opening:
Anton Kozlov, the collector: “I like how the presentation went! I want to highlight the curatorial work — it is noticeable that Alexey Korsi has immersed himself in these artists, that he respects their work — it brings me joy. The renovated premises are now different and look even better than they were before.
Orlov and Shekhovtsov look really cool together, although this is not the most expectable combination of art styles. For example, in my perception Shekhovtsov is closer to Dubossarsky, Monroe, Zvezdochetov, I mean to the context of the “fun of the 2000s”, than to the energy of Orlov. And the exhibition shows that the plasticity of their sculptures matches in an interesting way: lightweight foam rubber with fundamental bronze and wood.
By the way, Orlov looks more modern than usual in this project: as though the fleur of Sots-art vanishes from him. This is especially important, because from the very beginning of his career Orlov is known as a Sots-artist, no matter that he defines his work more broadly than this popular interpretation.
In general, showing Orlov’s works with someone is a complicated task: I have discussed this problem with museum experts many times. But the closeness of Shekhovtsov’s works draw your attention to pure plasticity, so you no longer get pleasure from the Sots-art narrative by looking for the canon of its typical irony, you just admire the plasticity of Orlov’s sculpture as it is.”
Gennady Noskov, CEO of KADO company: “Honestly, I’m glad that this project came to life despite all possible difficulties. We have already made an event with Boris Orlov at the gallery of Ilona Kesaeva (ILONA-K artspace) and that time our guests didn’t have an opportunity to comprehend the true greatness of his personality and art in conditions of small space, which allowed us to show just a few works. But in this project Boris Orlov and Sergei Shekhovtsov created a successful alliance, where the two authors complement each other and get symbiosis of two art styles. I think, the event’s guests (who were there in a great number) got an unforgettable impression about works, techniques, the authors themselves, especially speaking about a rare opportunity to make acquaintance with them. All in all, everything was amazing. I believe it's important to give people joy in these hard times. And, to my mind, this cultural code helps very much when it comes to maintaining people's relationships.”
The exhibition “Parsunas non grata” will last until January 31, 2024.
The Foundation's premises are open from Wednesday to Sunday, 12:00-21:00.
Address: Moscow City, 1st Krasnogvardeisky Drive, 15, 2nd floor of Mercury Tower.