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Varvara Grankova «Nonviolence»
Date: June 16 — July 15, 2018

Curator: Anya Sintsova 

Curator of the MMOMA Program for Support to Young Artists: Daria Kamyshnikova

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art together with the Free Workshops School of Contemporary Art presents a new solo project by Varvara Grankova titled «Nonviolence». The exhibition is held as part of the MMOMA Program for Support to Young Artists and the 6th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art.

Over the past years social networks and the media have abounded with articles about violence and aggression. Featuring personal stories told in the first person, they have caused controversial reactions in society, varying from empathy to victim blaming. For victims such stories are a means of self-help treatment, an attempt to accept traumatic events and cope with them. Aiming to contribute to the public discussion on this theme, Grankova’s exhibition has at its core the artist’s reflection on her own and other people’s experience expressed in the forms of installation, video and performance.

The first of three sections of the show focuses on the mechanisms of reproduction of violence, including media representation of violence as spectacle. A video titled «STBY», directed and scripted by Stas Fedosov, consists of several stories and explores the roles of aggressor and victim. The second section focuses on the distribution of roles of aggressor, victim and witness in various social groups such as family, orphanage, hospital, maternity home, school, army and prison. Each of these groups has its «tools» for implementing violence, which serve as «physical evidence» of abusive actions. However, the artist does not want the viewer to sink in despair and offers a way out through collective trauma therapy depicted in the video-documentation of the performance of the group ROY (Anna Butenko, Varvara Grankova, Antonina Gorbenko, Lyuba Sautina, and Victoria Khrenova).

An installation titled «Mask» constitutes the third section of the project. The artist borrowed the form for the masks from the fabric self-sewn face masks that prisoners of forced labor camps wore to protect themselves from cold (authentic masks are exhibited at the GULAG State History Museum). The artist considers these masks a symbol of compassion and invites the viewer to look at the world through the eyes of victim, thus offering a way to escape violence. The artist has created an Instagram account «nenasilie» as an interactive continuation of the exhibition in MMOMA. She has uploaded there pictures of people with the words that caused them pain written on their bodies. Visitors are invited to publish their photos under the hashtag #nenasilie.

MMOMA and the authors of the project express gratitude to Anastasia Yeremyan and Aivar Yakubov for help with the installation «Initiation»; Andrei Vasilyev, Alexander Lemeshkin, Alexei Shcherbakov and Lyuba Sautina for help with the masks; Alexei Neretin for shooting the video «Washing»; Mitya Grankov for the soundtrack for the «Mask» installation; Alexei Ermolaev for the tattoo; the group «stop: narcissus psychopath abuse sociopath» for help in finding models for the online project #nenasilie; and to the project’s partner Demeter Aromas Library for providing its products for the exhibition.

Varvara Grankova

Varvara Grankova was born in Moscow in 1988. She graduated from the National Institute of Design, Department of Art and Design (2015) and the Free Workshops School of Contemporary Art (2016). Since 2012, she has participated in numerous group exhibitions held at Moscow exhibition venues, including the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the VZ Gallery on Taganka, the Museum of Moscow, the Center for Creative Industries Factory, the Zverev Center for Contemporary Art and the State Tretyakov Gallery on Krimsky Val. She currently works as an illustrator at the Vedomosti newspaper. Varvara Grankova lives and works in Moscow.

Free Workshops School of Contemporary Art

The Free Workshops School of Contemporary Art is an educational platform for young artists and curators working in the field of contemporary art. The school was set up by a group of artists and art historians as part of the Museum in 1992. The school’s students study theoretical and practical aspects of contemporary art under eminent lecturers, distinguished figures of culture, philosophers and theorists of contemporary art. The school offers its support to young artists at different stages of their artistic career through organizing group and solo exhibitions and acquiring their works for the museum’s collection.


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