The Russian Art Show @ Calvert 22

Any authorities reading this will be pleased to know that this exhibition featured no civil disobedience, no governmental insults, or even any vague subversion. (well perhaps a little bit). Calvert 22 presented an immaculately behaved set of artworks from the Russian equivalent of the Turner Prize. Out of everything it was the video artists that did it for me:

Victor Alimpev’s work  Whose is exhalation?  featured a group of choral singers of all shapes and sizes humming in unison whilst one of their number held their breath.

When an individual could no longer hold their breath, the groups humming stopped. Each member of the group took a turn holding their breath. The film at 15 minutes long was beautifully directed and had an amazing tension between the glowing warmth of the choral humming and the ordeal the individual was going through trying to avoid breathing.

Taus Makhacheva presented the work “let me be part of a narrative” To quote the press release “the film is about the intimate human drama of defeats and difficulty amidst the medals and cups” 

The section i watched captured the local (or perhaps even national) sport of dog fighting, and the issues of etiquette, hierarchy and honour within the pastime. It also featured some of the dogs on their day off looking very cute, which sold it to me. (i’m a sucker for a waggy tail).

Overall, the impression of Russian art i will take away from this exhibition was thus: Intelligent. Well presented. Well executed. A bit tame. But thats understandable, as no one wants to end up like Pussy Riot.

Runs until 16th September.

www.calvert22.org

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