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NATIONAL CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS
ANDREI SAKHAROV MUSEUM AND PUBLIC CENTRE
FEBRUARY 7 – MARCH 9 2008

WHY? Aggression as Destruction

Program Director – Vitally Patsyukov
Program Coordinator – Maria Punina
Organizers – GCSI, Andrey Sakharov Museum and Public Center

Participants – Frank Williams (USA), Natalia Turnova, Mikhail Roshal,
AES+F group (Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Eugeny Sviatsky,
Vladimir Fridkes) (Russia)

Idea of the project
The project: “Why? Aggression as Destruction”, correlates with the theme of the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Center and combines both social and artistic relevance. The conceptual structure of the project is defined by a dialogue between the creative platforms of American artist Frank Williams and Russian artists Natalia Turnova, Mikhail Roshal and the AEC+Ô group.

The conceptual structure of the project is internally determined by a theme of resistance to aggression, a drama of conflict between people, nations, and generations and a way of solving this conflict. The question “Why?” asked by Frank Williams, as a manifesto, which naturally creates an answer reflected in the context of the artistic approaches of other the participants thus becoming a visual axis for the project. The three dimensional work of Frank Williams reveals a drama of exposition provoking spectators to experience the phenomenon of aggression creating the possibility of a personal reaction. Frank Williams’ images exist in recurrent situations closely examining the phenomenon of violence and aggression. The sculptor uses expressionistic language to alter scale and perception of his compositions. Allowing the discovery of possibilities conveyed through deep personal issues concerning the global existence of Evil, its archetypes, and the many forms of its presence in our unprotected society.

Participants of the project figuratively react to the question posed by the American artist and consider the ideology of conflict and aggression as destruction. They suggest organic possibilities for overcoming aggression, conveying a real presence of its destructive forms in our world.

Natalia Turnova’s painting explores a type of human for which aggression becomes a natural space. Her art is dynamic and full of energy. Symbolism of her “red” and “yellow” analyzes the nature of aggression where natural human colors of “blue” and “green” are gradually expulsed, creating counterpoints of dissonance and nonlinear harmony. These paintings by Natalia Turnova are connected by an inner storyline progressing from the natural image of a soldier’s face to a group conflict.

A video performance by Mikhail Roshal was carried out at ART-Kliazma in 2004. It combines the endlessness of violence, the infinite diversity of its forms with the avocation of fundamental human values. By using the image of a burning bus with a commemoration for victims of violence, the artist builds a ceremonial structure. The ceremonial structure exposes “earthman’s” reaction to repetitive acts of terrorism emphasizing a decrease in pain thresholds and forms of compassion.

The artistic mode of AEC+Ô group’s installation develops the idea of sacrifice, its ritual images suggesting a social utopia for the upcoming apocalypse. In its layers, children (which historically personify “the ideal” in nature) are transformed into aggressive clones that destroy the universal principles of our civilization. Their advent breaks the positive aspects of evolution and deprives humanity of hope for the future.

Dostoyevsky’s famous formula “Beauty will save the world” naturally penetrates the figurative ideology of artists. It strips off its guidance and suggests to the audience a personal approach to this problem. The resolution is beyond the exhibit; in the very reality where art crosses its own borders approving of ethical human values.

By Vitally Patsyukov