Moscow City Government
Moscow City Department of Culture
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Vadim Sidur Museum
Alexey Buldakov. Cascadeurs
Date: August 10 — September 15, 2019
Venue: Vadim Sidur Museum, Novogireevskaya street, 37a
The Moscow Museum of Modern Art and the Vadim Sidur Museum present Alexey Buldakov’s solo exhibition «Cascadeurs». The show is the result of Buldakov’s research of interspecies interactions in big cities that he carried through participant observation in 2012-2018 as part of the Urban Fauna Laboratory project. His long-term artistic experiment explores the relationships between birds and humans, revealing its different contextual layers: historical, biological, anthropological and philosophical.
Alexey Buldakov’s involvement with pigeons fits into the interdisciplinarity trend in contemporary art at the same time expanding his artistic method. Buldakov notes that the practice of feeding birds considered to be urban parasites evokes the initial etymological and sacred meaning of the word «parasite», which means both a dinner companion (παρά «beside» + σῖτος «food») and a participant in a ritual offering. Reflecting on birds from a variety of perspectives including their exploitation as part of urban entertainment activities, pigeons’ role as infectious agents, and cultural heritage preservation issues, the artist contributes to the contemporary discourse on posthuman and nonhuman ontologies.
The exhibits, including watercolor paintings, a canvas, a copper radiator in the form of a perch and real-time video created with a thermal camera form a total installation referred to by the artist as «cascade». Cascade is a philosophical idea adopted by the French philosopher Michel Serres from biological processes. The term «cascade» describes a form of relationship between living creatures where all the involved are at the same time both a parasite and a victim of a parasite — «a parasite parasitizes another parasite» («The Parasite», Michel Serres, 1980). Since comparatively complex systems are able to create the necessary conditions for parasites to survive, the whole world for the artist appears as an endless corrupted «pyramid of kickbacks» in which he is trying to see a possibility for symbiosis. In the Vadim Sidur Museum exhibition space Buldakov stages a cascade scenario, which, in the artist’s words, «includes waste, sacrifice, noise and a prospect of symbiosis».
Aleksey Buldakov’s exhibition is conceptually connected with the Vadim Sidur Museum. Before the 1991 administrative reform, the districts of Perovo and Novogireevo, on the border between which the Vadim Sidur Museum is located, as well as the districts of Ivanovskoye and Veshnyaki, were part of the Perovsky district. For many years, dovecotes have been the characteristic feature of that part of the city and still can be found in many neighborhoods. The districts of Perovo and Novogireevo retain their reputation of pigeon breeding hubs in Moscow. The «Cascadeurs» project is thus organically connected with the location of the museum, its surrounding environment and the symbiotic relationships between birds and the district’s residents.
Alexey Buldakov is an artist and an anthropologist. He was born in 1980 in Kostroma. In 2003 he graduated from the Russian State University for the Humanities with a degree in social anthropology. In the period from 1999 to 2004, he was a member of an artistic group named «Radek Society» which brought together artists, writers and cultural activists. From 2011 to 2012 he studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Buldakov is the initiator of an interdisciplinary project, Laboratory of Urban Fauna. He lives and works in Moscow.