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Curator: Almira Ousmanova

Artist: Ruslan  Vashkevich

In the beginning was the Image. This multimedia project includes video, photography, and installations, and has been progressively developed around it and with its participation. It is important to understand, that this painting initially «required» the development of a story, and the central part of this story has become the painting’s journey/transferral through the city in a search for an object of attention. But what are these objects and places? And what does actually happens there – in this «area of anonymous invisibility» (G. Didi-Huberman) that has «captured» them?


The adventures of a Gaze occur far beyond the artist’s studio and moves to a social space with restricted access. The city damp, striptease-club, church, morgue of the SRI of oncology, kindergarten, prison, hypermarket, cemetery, and other places appeared in the artist’s sight and his painting by no accidence.


The non-accidentality of this choice is rooted in two obstacles. First, if art would go to the streets what happens? How, where and in what circumstances will meet art objects and public? Second, by using the meeting of public and work of art as the ostensible reason one may experimentally discover plenty of visible and invisible restrictions and limitations dividing social space we are living in into many closed cells.


Was this journey safe for the artist and his work? Were the adventures of a Gaze pleasant? Documental video- and foto evidence demonstrated at the exhibition allow to understand to what extent an attempt to create a «without-barriers» urban environment for art would be problematic. It is particularly true for the places that are marked as «non-appropriate» – whether for its functional specifics or difficult access.


It seems that the painting that leaves the artist’s studio for an unpredictable meeting with an object of its Gaze has been created in order to reveal the acts of espial. The artist puts us into an invisible but tangible network of relationships that appears to be a kind of a mouse trap that closes that very moment we find ourselves behind the painting. This exploration of practices of looking includes all the types of visual desire – from scopophilia and voyeurism to exhibitionism and scopophobia.


The positions of the artist, spectators, the characters in the painting, as well as people, that accidentally has become ‘objects’ or inadvertent onlookers are not static; modality of the Gaze depends on the position that one or another participant of this experiments occupies in a visual field at that very moment and the rights he acquires. Will he be under the sight or will he possess it? Observe or be observed? Probably, the viewer will also face this dilemma while meeting the painting in a museum space, that is also not accidental.


P.S. «During the project this painting has seen more that some of us through all our life» (Ruslan Vashkevich).

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