If you enjoyed Grisha Bruskin’s book, translated from Russian by Alice Nakhimovsky, titled Past Imperfect: 318 Episodes from the Life of a Russian Artist, check out the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow’s solo exhibition.
The talanted Artist and Author, Grisha Bruskin, was born in Moscow in 1945 and grew up in a Jewish family under the Stalinist and post-Stalinist state. He now lives in New York and Moscow and his works can be seen in museums worldwide, such as MoMA in New York, the Museum Ludwig (Cologne), Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, National Gallery of Art in Caracas, Art Institute of Chicago, State Russian Museum, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, State Tretyakov Gallery, among others.
According to The Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, “Grisha Bruskin’s new sculpture project ‘H-Hour’ (2012) has no specific historical or geographical ties and examines the myth of the enemy in very diverse manifestations: the hostile state, class enemy, enemy of the subconscious, ‘the other’ as enemy, Time, Chronos and Death as enemies, the Enemy of the Human Species, and so on.
Bruskin’s installation of several dozen sculptures plunges the viewer in the atmosphere of a strange Kafkaesque world where an emergency situation is in force. All the ‘H-Hour’ sculptures – soldiers, people in gas masks, blind wanderers laden with suitcases and knapsacks, terrifying androgynes, mythological guardian creatures – are in one way or another related to the artist’s personal experiences. But the visual inspiration for them was neither direct impression from life nor high art, but on the contrary ‘low’ art that is anonymous, collective and archetypical. Pictures found in the products of mass culture – in foreign language textbooks, civil defense posters and all kinds of instructions. The author identifies these pictures and endows them with his personal experience, giving them a new and different life. Even when the subject is ‘high’, for example, melancholy (the melancholy androgynous warriors), the artist turns to the plasticity of primitive popular sculpture from the 16th to 18th centuries, rather than to the plasticity found in superior examples of West European Catholic sculpture from the same period.”
‘As in my childhood, in the modern world a person’s life is spent, like the life in Valerio Zurlini’s movie ‘The Desert of the Tartars’, in anticipation of the enemy. Real or mythical. That is why neither the time nor the geography is specified in ‘H-Hour’. ‘H-Hour’ is a parable about the enemy, manifested in absurd metaphors. Just as in the civil defense posters, ‘H-Hour’ exists in an emergency situation. According to Giorgio Agamben, when the boundary between law and life is lost, both are lost, and the strange world of the state of exception arises, where law is superseded and human life turns into pure ‘biology’, under the supervision of the expert bio-powers. In our times (the struggle against the enemy and, primarily, against international terrorism), the state of exception is no longer an exception but becoming the norm everywhere, including democratic countries. It is becoming routine. Today, arriving in Moscow or New York, the world seems to me in both places as it did when I was a child staring at civil defense posters, with the horror and stupor of an ‘outsider’.’ -Grisha Brushkin
Visit the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow for more information on the exhibition.