Andrei Monastirsky, Winter of 1983 - 2008

20 December 2007 - 27 January 2008
Mala Galerija, Slovenska cesta 35, Ljubljana

Andrei Monastirsky is one of the most eminent and internationally acclaimed figures in Russian art in recent decades. In 1976 he was the founder of the Collective Actions group, which focused on conceptual performances. The performances followed a uniform dramaturgy: they took place in front of a special group of spectators, who took a train to a railway station in the suburbs of Moscow, from where they headed to a large field, which served as the stage for the majority of the Collective Actions esoteric rites.Afterwards, the spectators would describe and interpret the actions, and discuss the works theoretically with the performance practitioners. Monastirsky organized these discussions in his apartment, documented them and filed them, to subsequently bring them out as a special publication. Once made public, the detailed scenarios of the Collective Actions performances finally clarified the original intent of the groups' activities. As Viktor Misiano points out, it became apparent that the audience could observe only a portion of the works, while the salient events happened outside their field of vision.
The Winter of 1983-2008 installation is based on documents and materials for the unrealized action entitled "Sound Perspectives of Going to the Country" from 1983 and presents a typical example of the Collective Actions method of work, involving a poetic context and symbolic images and underpinned by the sophisticated theory and special terminology created by Monastirsky and his adherents, also presented at the exhibition (E. Elagina, I. Makarevich, N. Panitkov, S. Romashko and others).

Exhibition curator: Igor Spanjol.

Related events:

The lecture of Sabine Haensgen on Friday, 18 January 2008, at 7 p.m. at the Mala galerija
Sabine Haensgen
Collective Actions. Event and documentation in the Aesthetics of Moscow Conceptualism

Sabine Haensgen studied Slavic Literature, History and Art History; she received a grant of the DAAD for studies at the VGIK (The State Institute of Cinema), Moscow. She is currently working at the Research Colleague "Media and cultural communication", University of Cologne. Since 1985 she has been participating in the performances of "Collective Actions", founding the video archives of MANA (Moscow Archive of New Art) museum.

About the lecture:
...In the western art of the post-war era, performance may be regarded as a reaction to late-capitalist consumer culture, but the performance of Moscow Conceptualism represented a debate with the ideological Soviet culture - as a culture of texts, manifestos and slogans. Performance, the intention of which is to create aesthetic events in an everyday life context, thereby touches on a neuralgic field in the history of Soviet culture; the relation of art and life, especially in the epoch of the avant-garde and the "total culture" of the Stalinist period.
This polemic debate with the ritualised communication forms of official Soviet culture is already expressed programmatically in the name of the performance group "Collective Actions". The connecting theme of its "Trips out of Town", which have been taking place since 1976, is the journey of a group of participants into the countryside around Moscow - usually to a wide, empty field, i.e. away from the symbolically saturated sphere of the metropolis into an "empty" natural space. Often a field of untouched snow represents the stage for minimal actions.
However, the performances by "Collective Actions" are not a naive, neo-Rousseauian flight from culture; they are not limited to the direct perception of a situation. Their aestheticising extends beyond the action of the event into documenting discourse. In a later stage of development, the group began to compile documentary volumes about its actions, in which a range of materials (descriptive texts, narratives by the participants, theoretical comments, discussions, photographs, drawings, diagrams) form a descriptive - narrative - interpretative artwork of documentation....

The project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.
Special thanks to Teresa Mavica.

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