49.jpg 07.09.2020 - 31.10.2020

Olga Bozhko Every Cook

Just ten years ago, the national identity seemed to have become obsolete. It was awfully
inappropriate to say “I am French” or “I am Russian”. The enthusiasm related to the former glory of
one or other nation vanished when it turned out that all that heritage is absolutely worthless in the
new world, where people are constantly transforming throughout their lives. However, by the end of
the 2010s, a new wave of national identity washed over the world. With no irony or no critical
distance. The previously oppressed nations have risen and inspired at once those who were
anything but expected at this festival of national renascence – the power nations that made the
world shake. We started hearing people say “I am Chinese” and “I am American”. Now it has
become inappropriate – I would say, even impossible – not to identify oneself in any way in the
table of ethnic groups, cultures and state entities. But seriously, we did not return to the 19 th
century. Then why all these national antics? Is it a sort of a global cosplay? Maybe, after all, this
second awakening of nations has some kind of historical relevance, practical worth, or, at worst,
applicability in the national economy? Scientists are arguing, journalists are disputing, emotions are
running high on social networks. They cannot find a clear-cut answer.

And here the pot holder comes to the rescue. It is a simple yet perfectly symbolic object. It protects
hands from the fire when they are engaged in the ancient art of cooking. That is exactly what is
expected from the perfect nation state – to take on the function of protection while citizens are
peacefully doing their business. Peace and quiet. Decorated with the colors of the national flag, as
in Olga Bozhkos project, the pot holder allows you not only to define your identity but also to get
quite definite benefits from it, here and now – day after day. Even with football fan scarves, created
to clearly distinguish no less imaginary identities, this does not work – they are certainly scarves,
yet they are rarely used to keep warm. But Bozhkos pot holder demonstrates a strong and
harmonious union of the symbolic and the practical. You can even take it with you to a
manifestation. Lets imagine: hundreds, thousands of people marching and smiling, waving their
pot holders with, for example, a Chinese flag. It looks like reality. Now imagine the same with
Czech, Danish, Moroccan flags... Unexpected, but quite realistic.

And since, according to the recent events, the national question 1 is here to stay, shall we focus it on
similar areas? At least, it will be useful. In the art of cooking, despite any globalization, the ethnic
trace is strong. We understand well when people talk about Italian, Indian, Japanese cuisine. So let
the kitchen space itself be a national reserve! Just imagine visiting your friends and seeing the potholder with a Georgian flag hanging next to the stove – you can get straight away that within these
four walls there is a culinary consulate of khinkali, phali and khachapuri. Thats good. You can get
a stamp in your passport at the entrance. Meanwhile, the neighbors have a German pot holder and
a queue for sausages in their kitchen. And they pour beer – everything is clear. We just have to
choose which gastronomic tour to go on. Stereotypes in this case even seem to be adorable. And
may no national question with conflicts and claims of the past, no insults to the feelings of ethnic
groups, and definitely no “great power chauvinism”, go beyond the walls of the kitchen!
But I wish it was only about the new nationalism – as the artist shows, everything is much more
serious. Recognizable symbols of the Soviet project are being reconstructed for the tenth time. The
emerging post-Soviet rituals – from official St. George ribbons to protest emblems – are on air.
Every day we are invited to join one or other party which suggests, in particular, the adoption of a
certain set of symbols. A filter (attitude) for a profile picture, a sticker (worldview) on a laptop, a T-
shirt with a slogan (accusation), a graffiti (challenge) on the way home – all this is so ubiquitous
that no flags can compete with this amount of political declarations. You cannot hide, you cannot
run away. The key question is how to live with it. Well, the same way Rimbaud answered and the
same way Olga Bozhko repeats in her project: day after day.

Sergey Guskov


15.12.2016 - 11.01.2017

Maria Arendt, Catherine Charreyre Ailleurs, nulle part

Artists not necessarily give just a comment on ongoing social and political changes or situations, how important all that may be or not. That is daily business for politicians, analysts, journalists, commentators, but these comments surround us day for day more and more make deaden our true human feelings. In away on the opposite is standing the artist being touched by what is going on in the world and reflecting it in his or her work. 
Art does not need catchy headlines, loud colors, vulgar depiction of misery to make us think, to touch us and to understand. Artistic means make us see and understand not only by our eyes, but with our hearts and souls.
This is what I was thinking when I first time got acquainted with the works of Catherine and Maria on the topic of migrants I was thinking exactly this and their work, as different these two artists are as perfectly these two group of works work together, not only in formal ways but because of their way to approach the topic of migration. 
Maria Arendt´s embroidered maps could be populated, they make the impression that something would happen now and the maps that normally would be expected to be from paper and have no personages find their counterpart in the work of Catherine Charreyre whose fabric shirts make the spectator feel the fragility of human being and especially the one who had to leave behind everything.
The whole exhibition is held in white, a color that stands for a lot and for different. It stands for innocence as it stands for immortality, respectively life and it also can stand for grief and so white is very interesting color to work on the topic the artists have chosen. 
With this exhibition we want to create a space without a point to focus, there should not be any fix-place and no direction, like the little people drawn onto glass plates. 
Gallery Iragui hosting this exhibition makes sense - I know the gallery as the one and only gallery specialized on graphic art in Russia, the for sure most international in Moscow, delicate and thoughtful, characteristics that give the artists of this exhibition the best possible environment to present their project. 

Simon Mraz

assistant to curator: Maria Pavlova

10.11.2016 - 10.12.2016

Olga Bozhko A different culture


Olga Bozhko's new project A different culture is a total installation created from a series of easel paintings, based on the mixture and interpenetration of two visual traditions – of  Central Asia and Western Europe. The unifying element here is carton door mats that will not allow to break the museum cleanliness of the gallery as a product of western democracy. Tracing the external manifestations of the labor migration process in post-Soviet countries, the artist by all means supports the popular post-colonial discourse but remains true to her own ascetical ban on direct (and thus so uninteresting) political statements. She also manages to move away from Orientalism, the main danger of politicized art practices within the framework of this rather difficult subject – and she does it expertly, literally at the last moment, being on the edge. In her works, Olga definitely shows how the carriers and actors of bright authentic visual environment have to adapt when they find themselves in a civilizationally different design spaces and objects, and what kind of chimeras are born out of these unions. The artist creates the museum works, appealing to the history of art and Russian avant-garde in her “Skullcap” and to boisterous design of metropolitan boulevards and squares in “Hydra”, and to patriotic poster surge in “Go, Russia!”, and to the Soviet visuality of landscape sculptures in “A girl with a shovel”. The video from “Cheburek forever” literally becomes the anthem of the exhibition, representing the different culture as the psychoanalytic Different dissolved in the environment, but this does not make it less frightening, which only indicates the psychological trauma of the those who are frightened. The saddest work of the exhibition is apocalyptic “Island”, a material that would look appropriate in the construction market or in the anthropological museum of the future.


download the invitation card
03.10.2016 - 14.10.2015

Nikita Alexeev Fishing and Bubbles Part I Philosophical Fishing

I spent several months in Montenegro (its national motto is “let the impossible be”), deep in the interior, squeezed between the mountains and the narrow Kotor Bay. Every day, giant cruise liners would arrive, and the tiny town of Kotor would fill up with thousands of tourists. Then these oceanic giants would sound out their deafening horns and carry the visitors off to distant realms. Kotor would be left deserted. 

I sat on the shore, gazing at the liners, at the sea, and thinking: according to the laws of probability, among the hordes arriving on The Euro Dam or The Princess of the Oceans, there were bound to be some who in terms of their intellectual abilities were on a par with Aristotle, Hegel and Wittgenstein. But I, sitting on the shore, didn't meet them, didn't get to know their thoughts; they boarded their vessels and, like the passengers of the “philosophers' ship”*, disappeared into the distance. I remained sitting on the shore. 

All I could do was try and fish out from the sea those thinkers whose illuminations I was at least to some extent familiar with. But what should you use to catch Aristotle, especially there, where they believe in the possibility of the impossible? Brick, maybe? Which bait is most likely to catch Husserl's attention? Is it not a piece of cheese?

Nikita Alexeev

06.09.2016 - 01.10.2016

Carlos Noronha Feio as you do on earth...

Galerie Iragui and narrative projects, London are pleased to announce first solo exhibition in Moscow by Carlos Noronha Feio (born 1981, Lisbon, lives and works in London). Noronha Feio has a diverse practice that includes actions, performance, video, drawing, painting, photography, rug works and multi media installation. He consumes, manipulates, juxtaposes and performs or re-sites media as research into cultural, local and global identity.

07.06.2016 - 02.07.2016

Valeria Nibiru Roundelay

Having chosen herself the name of the solar system’s mythical twelfth planet on the eve of the apocalyptic proximity to the Earth, Lera Nibiru began to create worlds at the crossroads of sleep and wake, myth and reality, ethics and politics, adults and children, large and small. Nibiru is a cosmogonic concept in the Sumerian mythology which signifies a transition point, a crossing. The borderline state, the ecstasy, the transition from the terrifying to the sublime, the art emerging from the foreboding disaster – here are the themes of installations, paintings and drawings by Lera Nibiru.

Descended (or risen) from the frightening sphere of an ancient ritual to a seemingly harmless children’s room, the roundelay retained its topos. The roundelay embraces the time in which there is neither past, nor future. One can say that the circle dance embodies a spatial representation of the archaic time with its isolation and cyclicality binding the living and the dead.

The New Year’s children’s costumes are spinning around the Christmas tree on the pages of the folded booklet. The centripetal force of the empty center attracts the empty shells of children once lived and those who are not yet born, but who will have to carry inevitably the burden of the cardboard myths. Despite the brightness of these cherries, little suns, teapots, flowers and fishes, their characters - just like Fedor Sologub’s quiet children - dance "their quiet, sad circle dance" in a still moonlight.
The roundelay of lifeless pale girls comes out of the pond in Nikolai Gogol’s “May Night, or the Drowned Maiden”; "the inanimate circle dance… of the dark creatures " wanders around in Yuri Mamleev’s texts; "the inhabitants of the last visible tier dance a peaceful transcendental roundelay” in Pavel Pepperstein’s "Mythogenic love castes" (whom Lera Nibiru names as her Zen teacher).

The circle dance of neither alive, nor dead creatures, of the spirits and hallucinations is spinning in Lera Nibiru’s watercolors. Who are they, these bunnies, bears, swans, gnomes, pioneers, astronauts and matryoshkas holding each other’s hands, paws, wings? What is their center of attraction? Astronauts float in weightlessness around a candy cane which is parodying the mysterious Monument in the "2001: a Space Odyssey". Naked pioneers are whirling around a smirking snowman with a phallic carrot-nose. Matryoshkas surrounded the mother-Matryoshka from which they all came out. Nibiru’s roundelay is a riddle in which there is no solution. One myth is superimposed on the other. Characters which used to live peacefully in children's rooms suddenly become heroes of the old and new myths. Hand in hand they lead it to the ecstatic world of chorea where Apollo Musagetes gathers his muses who dance in ‘karagods’ and ‘haragods’. The wheel of fate turns, the imaginary celestial sphere spins. Nibiru’s circle dance is a cosmogony of the childhood fears that the artist puts in a category of the sublime. Finally, Nibiru is the world-axis around which a rotation gradually turns into a spiral. It brings a circular motion of runaround to a different dimension which is the dimension of personal experience where we find ourselves face to face with what the artist visualized.

Olesya Turkina