SERGEY SHNUROV. BRANDREALISM: A RETROSPECTIVE
Sergey Shnurov, "Vegan", 2016, plexiglas
Sergey Shnurov, "Epiphany Frosts", 2016, oil on canvas
Sergey Shnurov, "Credit", 2016, oil on canvas
Sergey Shnurov, "Like", 2016, plastic
Date: 7.06 — 12.07.2017
Venue: MMOMA, Tverskoy 9
The Moscow Museum of Modern Art presents a solo exhibition by musician Sergey Shnurov entitled «Brandrealism: A Retrospective», which is a continuation of Shnurov’s highly-acclaimed exhibition recently held in Erarta Museum in Saint Petersburg. The show in MMOMA features Shnurov’s paintings and installations inspired by the author’s concept of «brandrealism».
The idea behind brandrealism is that the individual of the 21st century is surrounded by artificially generated brand-products and is naïve enough to believe that all these brands, thought to be the result of human labor and progress, are real. Not only goods of prime necessity are considered brands but also politicians, diplomats, higher education institutions, corporations and tourist cities. It is believed that one can only receive a decent education in one of the top ten universities; one should make a career only in companies the names of which are meant to instill envy in peers and holiday destinations ought to be chosen from those featured in billboard advertisements. As a result, the latest model of some product — it does not matter what as long as it has a trendy brand — becomes an object of desire while TV shows and computer games become a source of emotions. Shnurov’s theory describes the role of brands in modern life, stating that people tend to express their identity through the choice of brands. The main idea of the theory, as understood by the artist, is outlined in the text and shown in the clip for the «Exponat» song by the Leningrad band.
Brandrealism takes up a critical stance toward today’s realities and particularly toward contemporary art. Does the art world function according to the concept of brandrealism? What is the role of inspiration and craftsmanship in the work process of contemporary artists? Today, artists tend to align their work with their potential client’s image — a prosperous, smart, humorous, well-respected person attuned to the latest fashion trends. The temptation to conform to all these characteristics can hardly be avoided. The notion of creative process is subject to the risk of becoming a brand itself.
It is no coincidence that Sergey Shnurov and advisor of the project Dmitry Ozerkov have chosen MMOMA as a venue to host this exhibition. The museum as a neutral institution independent of government control and market influences and aiming to provide the most diverse perspectives on culture and art to wider audiences is the most suitable place to present Shnurov’s work. Showing the transformation of contemporary society through repurposing advertisement images, brandrealism lays claim to a new art movement bringing to light yet another side of Shnurov the musician.
«Brandrealism: A Retrospective» presents Sergey Shnurov as an artist revealing the musician’s previously unknown talents to Moscow audiences. His works give rise to a discussion of whether freedom of criticism is possible in the situation as described in the theory of brandrealism, where everything meaningful is reduced to a symbol and eventually to a brand. Addressing this question brandrealism enters into its second decade.
Sergey Shnurov (b. 1973) is a Russian rock-musician, actor, TV presenter, artist and composer. He is the frontman of both the Leningrad and the Ruble bands. Sergey Shnurov was born in Leningrad. He received his degree from the Saint-Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering as well as graduated from the Restoration college, specializing in woodwork restoration. In 1991 he embarked on a musical career and set up the Alkorepitsa project which was the first Russian hardcore-rap band. In the 1990s he was involved in the electronic project Van Gogh’s Ear before starting his famous Leningrad band in 1997. In 2008 in parallel with the Leningrad band he established the Ruble band. Shnurov has also released two solo albums. Shnurov has worked as a TV presenter and actor. Shnurov’s work «Shirt» rendered in the style of brandrealism is in the collection of Erarta museum in St Petersburg.
Dmitry Ozerkov (b. 1976) is a Russian art historian, curator, Head of the Contemporary Art Department of the State Hermitage Museum, Head of the Hermitage 20/21 Project for Contemporary Art (since 2007), curator of French Prints at the State Hermitage Museum (since 1999).
Dmitry Ozerkov has curated numerous exhibitions of classical and contemporary art in the State Hermitage Museum such as «Education of Cupid» (2006), «Jake & Dinos Chapman: The End of Fun» (2012), «Jan Fabre. Knight of Despair | Warrior of Beauty» (2016). He also curated the Hermitage’s exhibitions «Dmitri Prigov: Dmitri Prigov» (2011) and «Glasstress 2015 Gotika» (2015) respectively at the 54th and 56th Venice Biennales. Dmitry Ozerkov’s projects are frequently built around a dialogue between contemporary art and works by the Old Masters. Dmitry Ozerkov was the Commissioner of Manifesta 10 (2014).