21.02.2017 - 21.03.2017

Dazibao & Landscapes

MIKA’s first encounter with the oeuvre of Vladimir Fedorov was while preparing a show of graphic works of Odessa proto-conceptualist artist from the collection of Petr Shirkovskiy,
as a part of Manifesta 10 parallel program. In that catalogue we wrote that “conceptual art in Odessa was invented in the late 1970s by two classmates, Vladimir Fedorov and Alexei Kotsaevsky. In 1982 Fedorov introduced Leonid Voitcekhov to Sergey Anufriev, giving rise to an art group that is known in the history of Russian art as Southern branch of Moscow conceptualist movement”.

Vladimir Fedorov is mostly known as a senior inspector of a group “Medicinal Hermeneutics”, co-author of many of group’s text and installations, including the famous “Empty Icons”, shown at the Venice Biennale. In the second volume of “Hollow Canon”,
collection of MH texts published by Herman Titov, in the paragraph “MH structure” it is said that “V. Fedorov, apart from serving as “senior inspector of MH”, also holds the status of “MH’s precious fetish”.

The “Dazibao & Landscapes” exposition is constructed as a dialogue between two authors. It includes Vladimir Fedorov’s suprematist works which were made within the Pavel Pepperstein’s “natsuprematist” project and were partly shown in “Futurologia. Russian utopias” project at CCC Garage in 2010, five landscapes by Moscow-based artist Mariya Lvova, painted in spring 2016 in reply to those older works, and Fedorov’s new canvases from 2017 — which serve as a response in the dialogue, however, not yet the closing one.

In the summer of 1915, while working on The Last Futuristic Art Exhibition "0,10", Olga Rosanova wrote to Alexey Kruchenykh: "One may say about Malevich that "they want to
seem educated and talk about something incomprehensible". And also: there is more rationality and intellectualizing in his creative work, than in anyone else's. But if for anyone else it's not a sin, for a person, who denounced intelligence at a public lecture, it is
not permissible”. In fact, in the book "The secret sins of academics", published the same year, Malevich stated: "I denounce soul and intuition as unnecessary and, at a public
lecture on February 19th 1914, I denounced intelligence”.

In December 1915, when the atmosphere around the preparation of the exhibition was tense to the limit, Rosanova wrote to Kruchenykh: "Suprematism is completely my stuff, combination of flats, lines and disks (especially disks) without adding of and real objects. And after that all this scum is concealing my name…" This centennial accusation of plagiarism is practically interesting as a testimonial of the revolutionary times when great many artists independently came to the notion of the old world falling apart, refusing to perceive an object or word as whole. “Painting died like an old State” (Malevich).

Blank canvases that topped off the UNOVIS part of the 1923 exhibition in the Academy of Arts under the name “Suprematist Mirror”, and the treatise of the same name, became the
quintessence of Malevich’s suprematist philosophy. Blank canvas, just as the Black Square, serves as a manifestation of the Zero of forms, Nada, Nothing: own Self expands to the size
of the Universe and becomes one with it in a “rhythmical excitement”. All is Nothing, and Nothing is comprised of All.

The mesmerising paradox of the avant-garde is that professing such a “thickly spoken” recension of Zen Buddhism could not stop Malevich, from flinging himself into formalist construction of the new world, alongside with emerging constructivists (“Revolution and Suprematism are two poles of one world”). Though Malevich reproached Lisitskiy in his letter of June 17th 1924 ("You broke the contract as well; you, constructor, got scared by Suprematism... and what is now - constructivist-installer; where you got to? wanted to free your personality, your Self, from everything that I did, but instead you got to Gan, to Rodchenko, became a constructor, not even a prounist”), it does not seem so hard for a
common man to mix up Malevich’s Architectons with any other example of constructivist architecture, while suprematist buddhism, in general, materialised into design and decorative-applied arts: remember the artel in Ukrainian village Verbovka, where most of
embroidery and appliqué was made after suprematist designs. It is porcelain and textiles that made Suprematism one of the most recognised displays of modern Russian culture in the West.

Therefore only Suprematism, unmistakably perceived in the West as “Russian”, was chosen by Pavel Pepperstein as a ground base for a new representative “Russian” style, named “national suprematism”, or “natsuprematism” (even the dates of the first
natsuprematist exhibition, “Either - Or”, coincide with the dates of “0,10”). Suprematist elements in Pepperstein’s designer treatment become objects again (that could be stepped on, in particular) and even reach the level of a personage, become a subject character
equitable to the Hollywood gangster (while subject in painting is something Malevich went against).

Suprematist canvases by Vladimir Fedorov, senior inspector of the group “Medicinal Hermeneutics”, seem to follow the “natsuprematist” designs of his colleague: they depict
objects like yachts and a moon-walker placed onto a suprematist landscape with a clear line of the horizon, and put out political skits, like the “Crisis” dazibao* — while five canvases made especially for the exhibition by Marya Lvova go back from design to painting again. Supremas in the works of Lvova does not destroy the realist landscape, are not applied to it, but serve as a main instrument of constructing the landscape, therefore becoming a perfect commentary on Vladimir Fedorov’s oeuvre of constructing new topological and rhetorical figures.

Moscow Institute of Kosmic Anomalities
Mitya Nesterov is a Moscow-based photographer and curator, founder of the Moscow Institute of Kosmic Anomalities - virtual community, whose curatorial projects include shows at Bangkok Art & Culture Centre, "The Apothekaries' Garden" (the Botanic Gardens of Moscow State University), Galerie Iragui (Moscow), Zvezdotchka space (Saint-Petersburg). Со-founder of Moschaos art center in Moscow. 
*handwritten, wall-mounted posters using, used as a means of protest, propaganda, and popular communication.