Aleksei Taruts

21.07.2014 – 17.08.2014

Central Exhibition Hall “Manege”, Moscow


Part of the Great Expectations project.


Many years ago, in the 1980s, a very important artist appeared who, in time, became a classic, like all classics ceasing to be of interest to the radical and critically minded artistic public. That artist was Bill Viola. His early, almost non-spectacular works taught viewers to be extremely attentive. They explained to the person watching the screen that unlike the films of Warhol, where there really was nothing at all happening, the plot action here could be concealed, and the entire attraction revolved around identifying it. Later (here we must agree that the visual arts are in the avant garde of the creative industries), this approach became customary first in European and then in Hollywood film, and then in commercials and television broadcasting. This attraction was inexpensive, had a noble intellectual shading and, to a certain point, it worked without fail. Now, depending on the specific creative industry and the specific mass media, this approach is encountered increasingly rarely.


In his work Beyond the Ritual, Taruts removes the very presentation of -action as such, leaving only the conditionality. The viewer understands that before him is the result of a camera tracking fights by night clubs, but he doesn’t see the central events. The videos of these fights are freely available, and an internet user can, transfixed, watch the execution of violence and the chthonian emotionality of the participants. What changes when the "document" is turned into an artistic object and imbued with plastic and aesthetic characteristics? This examination is not so much about the provenance of attention to -violence and the reduction of evil to the banal as about what allows the spectator to identify himself with what is happening and with the document, and the extent to which interference in a conditional "reality" is -capable of bringing it out of its customary comfort zone. The -image of a three-dimensional video sculpture of a stone references, at one and the same time, the situationist aesthetics of protest, where "under the paving stones there’s a beach” and a romantic "-escape" from the system through the smashing to pieces of the tracking camera with that same paving stone.


Andrey Parshikov

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