Victor Alimpiev "Whose is this Exhalation?"
May 28 – July 28, 2008
"Alimpiev's acrobatic flights of fantasy are meant to free our bodies, our movements and sounds from any immediate need and obvious meaning, turning our lives into an otherworldly mating dance or some inscrutable collective ritual" (Massimiliano Gioni*).
From May, 28 to July, 28 the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation held Victor Alimpiev’s first retrospective exhibition "Whose is this Exhalation?". Comprising some 40 works from between 1999-2007, the exhibition included Alimpiev’s famous videos: "Several Gifts for Oleg" (1997), "Ode" (2001), "Deer" (2002), "Summer Lightning" (2004), as well as a new work – "Whose is this Exhalation?" (2007). Among the painting series are such early pieces as "Us more than 10000" (2004), "We are Here! We’ll be Here!" (2004), "The Far off Fight" (2005) and his latest series – "The Edge of Banner", "The Edge of Field" and "Plait", 2007.
The exhibition provided an overall insight into the artist's painting and the medium’s relation to Alimpiev’s videos. The show was presented as a kind of dialogue of genres, guiding the audience from painting to video and underscoring their inextricable connection in Alimpiev's oeuvre.
Alimpiev's paintings stem from definite real images, which the artist finds and gradually refines. "The image, as with a chemical reaction, comes with many stages and transformations, and as a result, we have a painting where this image provides just a sliver of memory. An important point is that these images always seem monotonous, repetitive, identical and different at a time." (A. Osmolovsky).
The repetition of subject and image is as essential for the artist as rhyme in poetry. The structure of Alimpiev’s painting with its repetitive forms is similar to choreography: it is like the pattern of a dance, a simulacrum of a breathing rhythm or heartbeat. The artist invites the audience to study the identical images - after all it is the very ability to discern that enables one to create exact replicas.
"The idea of distinction, most vivid in Alimpiev's latest works, is one of the fundamental aspects of contemporary art and mentality. Distinction of similar things, definition of their differences and individual characteristics give rise to mental activity. All things in nature are different, there is nothing absolutely identical. It is the very man who managed to create repetitive things" (A. Osmolovsky).
Victor Alimpiev was born in Moscow, 1973. He graduated from the Art School of Memory of 1905, Moscow Pedagogic State University (Department of Art and Graphics), and has studied at the New Strategies in Contemporary Art School at the Open Society Institute and the Higher School of Art "Veland" in Gothenburg, Sweden. Today Alimpiev is a distinct voice in the sphere of Russian contemporary art and one of the country’s most celebrated artists.
His works are included in the collections of such leading Russian and Western museums and foundations as Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art, MuHka, Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, Contemporary City Foundation, Trussardi Foundation, Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation.
A fully illustrated catalogue accompanied the exhibition with an essay by Massimiliano Gioni and conversation between the artist and Anatoly Osmolovsky.
The exhibition was held by the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation with the support of Stroyteks Group and "Regina" Gallery. The information partner is Artchronika magazine.