Taisia Korotkova

29.04.2021 – 13.06.2021

New Tretyakov Gallery, 10 Krymsky Val St. , Moscow


Marina Bobyleva 

State Tretyakov Gallery, jointly with Triumph Gallery, presents an exhibition by Taisia Korotkova, Dark Forest. Taisia Korotkova (b. 1980) is a Russian contemporary artist, whose works raise the challenging and relevant theme of the interrelations between man and science. The artist also addresses the issues related to space exploration, state-of-the-art technology in human reproduction, and the Soviet nuclear legacy.

A graduate of the Institute for Contemporary Art and Surikov Art Institute in Moscow, and a laureate of the 2010 Kandisky Prize, Taisia Korotkova continues in her new project to explore advancements of science and manmade impacts on the environment. The Dark Forest got its starting point from browsing blogs by urban explorers (or ‘stalkers’), who produce folklore-like accounts of their visits to abandoned industrial facilities. As an integral part of the traditional magical fairy tale, the forest has remained important in contemporary urban legends. In search of adventure, the so-called stalkers venture into the forest, where they face trials and tribulations, thus, gaining new experiences. Having completed such a journey makes you feel like a hero, which brings you even closer to the characters in magical tales. The forest is like a labyrinth, where you can get lost among the ruins of old military installations or encounter apparitions of the past among the rampant greenery.

Works by Taisia Korotkova ask the question of how our prehistoric roots manifest in the modern culture through fairy tales. The series of panorama drawings, the Dark Forest, depicts secret facilities constructed during and after the Cold War, and shrouded in trees, grass and bush. The test sites look like both the ritualistic pyramids of our ancestors and the future inventions from sci-fi.

Taisia Korotkova makes an unusual choice of medium for this project, going with laminated tablecloth. A reference to the rituals of hospitality, traditionally assigned to be carried out by women, the cloth acts as the flip side of a militarised ‘male’ world that produces weapons. Stitching the tablecloths together, the artist evokes the role of women as storytellers as well as their roles in the ancient rites of initiation.

The exhibition displays over 30 works by Taisia Korotkova made in different techniques. Wandering through the unfolding postapocalyptic landscape, the viewer enters a world that emerged after the civilization has faced its demise in overreliance on technology. This potential future is part of the narrative about human history, which comprises the scientific, the folklore, and the magical.

The Dark Forest is not Taisia Korotkova’s first project under the aegis of the State Tretyakov Gallery. The works by the artist were displayed in Krymsky Val Street at two exhibitions, GENERATION XXI. Donated by Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin (2020) and Museum of Modern Art: Department of Labour and Employment (2013).