Solo exhibition by Rinat Voligamsi
Без названия. Объект. Сталь. 2017
В штабе. х.м. 120х160 2012
Пять нимбов. х.м. 120х120 2013
Date: February 13 — March 18, 2018
Venue: Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 25 Petrovka
Curator: Valentin Dyakonov
The Moscow Museum of Modern Art together with the Contemporary Art Gallery 11.12 and Mardjani Foundation presents «Dvoegorsk» — a solo exhibition by Rinat Voligamsi. The retrospective will bring together pieces created over the last ten years including the «Snow» (2011-2013) and «Unofficial Album» (2006) series.
Voligamsi’s photorealistic paintings are brought together into a chronicle of daily life in a fictitious town called Dvoegorsk the likes of which were ubiquitous in the USSR and still can be found in contemporary Russia. The town is believed to be situated somewhere near a military base; its main utopian construction is Minus-Mausoleum. Covered with snow and surrounded by barracks, it leads underground to Dante’s circles of torment.
Drawing on his childhood memories and illustrations typical of Soviet newspapers and posters, Rinat Voligamsi’s imagery reconsiders the utopias of both the Soviet past and today’s realities. Following in the footsteps of the representatives of Sots Art, Voligamsi addresses a subject defined by the exhibition curator Valentin Diaconov as the «correspondence between a realistic image or a photograph and the reality it depicts.» By dissecting the attributes of military service, the artist calls into question Russia’s national pride predicated on military force. Dvoegorsk’s iron structures and stars have rusted; its ammunition depots are filled up with snow; an eerie crooked roof silhouette cuts the skyline. «A curious child takes a toy to pieces to see how it functions. Voligamsi dissects militaries, barracks, and winter scenery in order to understand how the country that roughly occupies one sixth of the world’s land area is governed,» Diaconov explained.
Voligamsi’s works — monochromatic, hyperrealistic and symbolic in details — reveal themselves over time. On closer scrutiny, the realism of the seemingly familiar images dissipates, bringing to mind the stories of Kharms — a writer greatly favored by Voligamsi.
The Dvoegorsk chronicle encompasses 119 works including iron barracks and the artist’s version of the Kremlin stars, paintings such as «At the Headquarters» (2012), «The Wave-Landscape» (2013) and the series «The Conditions of Winter» (2010-2011) and «Five-Storey Buildings» (2015). The exhibition also features digital collages from the «Unofficial Album» series (2006) presenting a fictitious account of Lenin’s life.
Rinat Voligamsi (real surname Ismagilov) was born in 1968 in the village of Ermolaevo in the Bashkir Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1989 he graduated from the Ufa State Petroleum Technological University specializing in architecture. Voligamsi is a laureate of the State Russian Award in the field of literature and art (1994), RSFSR State Repin Prize (2014), and a Kandinsky Prize nominee (2014). His works are featured in public collections including the State Russian Museum (Moscow); the Moscow Museum of Modern Art; as well as in private collections such as the Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin (Russia), Redbase Contemporary Art Foundation (Indonesia), Fondation Francès (France), Tsukanov Family Foundation (London), and Aksenov Family Foundation (Moscow).
Rinat Voligamsi’s selected solo exhibitions include «Village» (11.12 GALLERY, Moscow, 2016), «Snow» (11.12 GALLERY, Moscow, 2013), «The Conditions of Winter» (Erarta Gallery, London, 2011), «People, Talks, Flies» (Central House of Artist, Moscow, 2002), «Untitled» (Amadeus Art gallery, London, 2002), «Untitled» (Central House of Artist, Moscow,2001).
Valentin Diaconov (b. 1980, Moscow, Russia) is an art critic and curator at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. He holds a PhD in Culture Studies; his post-graduate thesis explores Soviet cultural policy during the Thaw period. He frequently contributes to Frieze.com, «Iskusstvo» magazine and other specialized publications. He also frequently lectures on contemporary art in various private and state institutions including Russian State University for Humanities, Garage Museum for Contemporary Art, Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center (Moscow), Moscow Museum of Modern Art.