Perspectives. Where the Body Meets the Mind

14 November 2019 - 30 November 2019

Curated by Iole Pellion di Persano, Stephan Stoyanov

Artists: Sasha Pirogova, Elena Kovylina, Victor Alimpiev

Victor Alimpiev. "Crown". 2012-2013.

Three Russian video artists are participating in the exhibition Perspectives. Where the Body Meets the Mind as part of the LOOP festival of video art in Barcelona. The exhibition implies a dialogue: works by Victor Alimpiev, Elena Kovylina and Sasha Pirogova (from the Gazprombank Collection) are shown side-by-side with videos by Gary Hill, Pablo Lobato and Enrique Ramírez (from the collection of ScreenProject, a platform which supports video art). The curators selected works which expose the contradictions between body and soul and focus on language, both verbal and corporeal.

Commentary (1980) by Gary Hill (a classic of video art, awarded a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, who this year participated in the Pushkin Museum project in Venice, where he decomposed Tintoretto’s paintings into patterns and elements), seems to be based on a bare narrative. It is a manifesto against television, in which the artist doubts the possibility of communication. Two commentators, without a television screen to divide them or the help of an editor, meaninglessly shout over each other. Queue (2014) by Sasha Pirogova has an important literary foundation: the film is based on Vladimir Sorokin’s eponymous novel, in which the writer’s typically nasty questions and remarks are translated into body language. Crossing a Wall (2012) by Enrique Ramírez refers to Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of movement. The subject is constructed from barely noticeable movements, rocking, ticks and shaking hands: silent ferry passengers are sailing somewhere in search of happiness and meaning. In the last frame they find themselves on a broken-off piece of floor anchored in view of a mysterious coast.

But maximum corporeality and emotion is achieved in Boxing (2009) by Elena Kovylina, which is not video art but documentation of a performance that took place in XL Projects at ARTStrelka in 2005. Inspired by the example of the Dadaist, poet and boxer Arthur Cravan, the nephew of Oscar Wilde, the artist defended her place in art in a fair fight in the boxing ring, inviting all comers to challenge her. The fight is shocking, and the artist is simultaneously aggressor, provocateur and victim.

The exhibition will take place at Casa de Rusia in Barcelona.

Elena Kovylina. "Boxing". 2009.