“The allegorical form of art can train and possibly awaken the mind with piercing glimpses into the inexplicable, expressing it in its visual meta-language. For that purpose, Zen masters used to employ their koans; similarly, we used our concepts. Art was always our thread of Ariadne that led us through the labyrinths of life: as in Russia, so in America. The running streams of ideas and forms in our art have been fusing in one organic union, whose balance is maintained as in a live organism. On every occasion, it was necessary to rise in consciousness above the limitations of the moment, to break free from the temporal aspects of events and to glance from the particular to the universal – in such case geographical localities become less significant than expected. The surviving idea of antiquity concerning the necessity of self-knowledge (nosce te ipsum) suggests that one has to gain the maximum independence from the collective mind, which entails another equally old rule that one has to carry in himself all that one needs (omnia mea mecum porto). Consequently, these parables were repeated in our life just like in lives of many others who traveled the same way before us.” (p. 7) (further...)
“…Be-lie-ve (1990), a color photograph measuring four feet by four feet, for example, reveals how language can create layers of meaning…in the case of their reformation of the word believe, the artists pinpoint its contradictory core, thereby demonstrating how truth and falsity are both present in the word. In analyzing this artwork, the artists noted, “The Sufi master Mullah Nasreddin once said, “I never tell the truth.” If this is true, it contradicts his statement. But if he was lying, as he indicated, it means that he really was telling the truth.” According to the artists, their photoglyphs offer paradoxical riddles for each viewer to ponder: Language conceals more than it reveals until we reduce words to their hidden meanings.” (p. 291)
The Centre Pompidou, Press Release for the exhibition Kollektsia! Contemporary Art in The USSR and RUSSIA 1950-2000 A Major Donation. Sept. 14- May 27, 2017 (the full text) (Art and Houses, review) Collection Centre Pompidou (Cubes) (Mirror Game) (2x2=4) (Ursa Major)
“…The 1970s then saw the emergence of two major movements, their boundaries somewhat loosely defined. Moscow Conceptualism achieved a certain ascendancy with the work of Ilya Kabakov, Viktor Pivovarov and Rimma and Valery Gerlovin, then followed by Andrei Monastyrsky and Dmitri Prigov. According a leading role to language and working at the intersection of poetry, performance and visual art, these artists proposed, in the Moscow of the Brezhnevite stagnation, a conceptual art that reflected the primacy of literature in Russian culture. The first Conceptualists were joined in the late 1970s by a second generation that included the Mukhomor group, Yuri Albert, Mikhail Roshal, Viktor Skersis and Vadim Zakharov.” Press Release, p.1-2
The Centre Pompidou Press Release, Press Visuals, p.21
Extrait du communiqué de presse:
Les années 1970 voient l’émergence de deux mouvements aux frontiŹres poreuses. L’École conceptualiste moscovite prend une ampleur déterminante sous l’impulsion d’Ilya Kabakov de Viktor Pivovarov, de Rimma et Valéry Gerlovin, suivis d’Andreē Monastyrsky et de Dmitri Prigov. Accordant une place prépondérante au langage, travaillant ą la croisée de la poésie, de la performance et des arts visuels, ces artistes proposent dans la Moscou de la « Stagnation » un art conceptuel reflétant la primauté de la littérature dans la culture russe. Une seconde génération d’artistes rejoint la communauté conceptualiste ą la fin des années 1970, comme le groupe Mukhomor, Yuri Albert, Mikhaēl Roshal, Viktor Skersis ou Vadim Zakharov.
View of installation at the Center of Pompidou, 2016 - 2017
"Dans les années 70, un autre mouvement voit le jour, le « conceptualisme moscovite ». Sous l’impulsion d’Ilya Kabakov se développe un attrait des artistes pour le texte, le langage, la poésie, la performance et les arts visuels. Les conceptualistes témoignent de l’absurdité du réel et du quotidien. Vicktor Pivovarov avec ses tableaux laconiques ą base de peinture-émail industrielle, Rimma Gerlovina et ses poŹmes cubiques, Andrei Monastyrsky conćoit des appareils destinés ą attirer l’attention du public sur leur perception."
Something Possible Everywhere: Pier 34, NYC 1983–84, Hudson Gallery, Hunter College, New York, Sept. 30 - Nov. 20, 2016, curated by Jonathan Weinberg, photographs of Andreas Sterzing, catalog
“…the first exhibition to revisit the extraordinary place and time when David Wojnarowicz and his friends and peers including Jane Bauman, Mike Bidlo, Keith Davis, Steve Doughton, John Fekner, David Finn, Jean Foos, Luis Frangella, Valeriy Gerlovin, Judy Glantzman, Alain Jacquet, Kim Jones, Rob Jones, Ruth Kligman, Stephen Lack, Liz-N-Val, Bill Mutter, Michael Ottersen, Rick Prol, Russell Sharon, Kiki Smith, Huck Snyder, Betty Tompkins, and Ruth Zwillinger among many others, effectively seized a city-owned pier and filled it with art. Andreas Sterzing’s remarkable photographs document how these artists turned the Ward Line shipping terminal at the foot of Canal Street, into a series of makeshift art galleries and studios.”
Valeriy Gerlovin, two ladders at Pier 34 (in the catalog) and at the exhibition, The Big Icon with syringe mosaics
Exhibition SerpentiForm at Museo di Roma in Rome, Italy, and book Serpenti in Art, text by Anthony Downey, (Bulgari, Roma and Canvas Central, Dubai, 2016), pp.96-101. Participating artists: Paul Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, Henry Rousseau, Alexander Calder, Niki de Saint Phalle, Sigmar Polke, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Adam Fuss, Mike Kelley, Marina Abramovich, Robert Mapplethorpe, and others.
“We regard art as an organic union of interrelated parts whose balance, as in any living organism, is important to maintain.”
…the New York-based couple are also inspired by mythology and philosophy, and have published extensively on a range of related subjects. Their aim is to shift the focus from the conceptualisation of an object to the conceptualisation of the subject, often using very basic media to create their images. They also use their own bodies as vehicles for their work, further compressing meaning in a practice that embraces paradox and playfulness.
In Gerlovina and Gerlovin’s Serpent (1989) this shape shifting is literalised as the female becomes one with the snake, down to the ‘forked’ tongue that they both apparently share. The relationship of women to snakes has been used by a significant number of female artists to promote a more empowered image of femininity and to dispel the negative connotations of women and their association with serpents. Text by Anthony Downey, p.96
The New exposition at the State Tretyakov Gallery, 2016-17. On the left photograph, works by Rimma Gerlovina: Paradise-Purgatory-Hell is in the middle, the original work and its copy below, in which the spectators can move the cubes. On the right, under the glass, there are small cubes. Valeriy Gerlovin's works are on the right photograph: The Leonardo Cube in the unfolded position and the white Age Apparat.
The Art of Typewriting, Marvin and Ruth Sackner, Themes& Hudson, 2015 (The Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry)
"An artist book that Gerlovina composed in 1973 is replete with pages of “typed artpoem” with a concrete poetic sensibility. Her poems with a Neo-Dadaist or sound poetic structure were intended for readings by the Gerlovins along with one or more of their friends in the sanctity of their dwellings… Such poetic expression was designated “Samizdat Art,” or self-published art, and consisted of intense messages dealing with moral and ideological problems that circumvented official censorship…” Ruth and Marvin Sackner (Link to The Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry)
Eyebook. Sixty Artists. One Subject. Edited by Jenny Lynn, Damiani, Italy, 2015. The book features such artists as Magritte, Man Ray, Dali, Kusama, Araki, and Warhol. Lyrical quotes by many authors, including Blake, Proust, Poe, Sartre, Kerouac.
«The images, and the words that accompany them, are treasures, by diverse and brilliant artists, writers and thinkers from around the world, and from many eras. Presented chronologically, this vrief ode to the eye in art begins in the 1500s, and ends in our own time.» Jenny Lynn (more)
Exhibition and book Performance in Russia: Cartography of its History, Garage Museum, Moscow, Russia, 2014
Перформaнс в России. 1910-2010: картография его истории, Гараж музей, Москва, 2014, curators Sasha Obukhova and Yulia Aksyonova
Performance Zoo - Homo sapiens (1977), the most important in our Moscow period, touches upon the primeval state of human nature. The deepest layers of the anima/animus correlation are found in many veins of life, including its social aspects, Dionysian bohemian infrastructure, or gender issues. Upon tasting the forbidden apple, anima and animus are fixed within their physical body entailing all the consequences – the necessity of preserving and feeding their bodies as a supportive vehicle for the soul. Even worse, they seem to be preordained to sin before sinning. Whether we like it or not, the humanity lives precisely in their skin. It entails the temporal amalgamation of matter and consciousness, which must share its live and its thoughts with its body. The idea of limitation, per se, is contained within the concepts of time and space, in which we are encapsulated. On the other hand in certain situations, self-caging also implies self-imposed isolation. That is not only a symbol of limitation, but also some kind of a safeguarding, helpful in the process of formation and reformation of psyche. (p.72)
Exhibition and book Moscow Conceptualism. The Beginning, curator and editor of the book Yuri Albert, 2014, Arsenal, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Book includes the interviews with several artists, their early texts, and many illustrations. (Russian lang.) «Московский концептуализм. Начало», составитель Юрий Альберт, 2014, Арсенал, Нижний Новгород (Link to the book, pdf, ISSUU)
Russian Artists at the Venice Biennale, 1895-2013, authors: Nikolai Molok (editor), Faina Balakhovskaya, Matteo BertelŹ, Boris Groys, Ekaterina Degot, Andrei Kovalev, Maria Kravtsova, Geraldine Norman, Sandra Frimmel; Stella Art Foundation, Moscow, 2013
“As well as the main project, which showed pictures by Kandinsky and Malevich, the Biennale, as usual, included several special exhibitions. One of them, Materialization of Language also had substantial Russian involvement, with works by the ‘amazons of the avant-garde’ (Goncharova, Rozanova), and also Rimma Gerlovina, who showed Cubes, which had been seen for the first time at the Biennale of Dissent in 1977.” Nikolai Molok (p.466)
Multiculturalism in Art Museums Today, ed. Joni Boyd Acuff, Laura Evan, “Taking It Personally” by Terry Barret, Rowman & Littlefield, Maryland, 2014
Islands of Yury Sobolev, ed. Galina Metelichenko, Anna Romanova, Nelli Podgorskaya, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2014 ("Острова Юрия Соболева", ped. Галина Метеличенко, Анна Романова, Нелли Подгорская, Московский музей современного искусства, 2014)