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Anatoly Zverev


Soviet Nonconformist Art from A to Z


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Dear visitors! Note that the AZ Museum will be closed from April 1 due to the exposition change.


Mimicry Systems. Seeing, All-seeing, Unseeing Eye

20 September — 19 November, 2023

AZ ART, Maroseyka st., 11/4 bld.1


At the experimental art space of the AZ Museum, AZ/ART, we unfold the project “Mimicry Systems”, the first one of the three-part exhibition series. The biological term in the title serves as a poetic metaphor, revealing the range of behavioral rituals, social practices, thinking methods and ways of forming the aesthetics that arise as an answer to the turbulence, danger and transformation of the environment. The curator of the project is an artist and art historian Alexander Dashevskiy. Visitors will see the artworks by Anatoly Zverev, Oleg Tselkov, Francisco Infante, Vladimir Yakovlev, Sergey Shutov, Anna Miroshnichenko, Denis Patrakeev, Tanya Raush, Andrey Rudiev, Vladimir Kozin, Nikolay Onischenko and others. The first exhibition of the series is called «Seeing, All-seeing, Unseeing Eye».

Natalia Opaleva, the CEO of the AZ Museum and the AZ/ART:
The exhibition «Seeing, All-seeing, Unseeing Eye» marks the new 2023-2024 season at our space on Maroseyka and features the works of the contemporary artists in the dialogue with its predecessors, the artists of the 2nd half of the 20th century from the AZ Museum collection.»

Mimicry becomes a formal tool used within the curatorial idea that suggests that the exhibition disguises itself as a scientific research, or as a thematic retrospective exposition, or as an association game. By consciously exploiting the unreliable method of analogies, the «Mimicry System» is coming up with rhymes between the epochs that have passed since the forming of the Soviet Unofficial Art movement. Even though each epoch is unique and history never repeats, despite total external resemblance, there’re numerous examples when one epoch «puts on the suits» of the other one. That’s how courage, stealth and fortitude of the artists of the 2nd half of the 20th century could be inspiring, precious and relevant today.

Natalia Opaleva, the CEO of the AZ Museum and the AZ/ART:
«The topic, suggested by the curator Alexander Dashevskiy, opens a field of thought. In nature mimicry evolves as the protective function of living creatures that masquerade under the color of the environment so that they stay unnoticed by the predators. Among human beings mimicry is about the necessity to correlate with the behavioral dispositions of one or another social group to reach recognition and love. Mimicry has another important function — it eases social interaction and helps friendship and other warm feelings appear.»

The first exhibition of the series is «Seeing, All-seeing, Unseeing Eye». One of the most important objectives of mimicry in both zoology and anthropology is to disguise the intrinsic essence of the object, represent it as someone or something else, make it invisible. The exposition is building around interrelation between vision and convictions. It analyses diverse methods of vision, systems of surveillance and observation, situations of blind zones, indistinguishability, invisibility, impossibility to discern and refusal to see. The exhibition features the artworks by Vladimir Kozin, Sergey Bratkov, Francisco Infante, Tanya Raush, Sergey Denisov, Andrey Rudiev, Denis Patrakaev, Anna Miroshnichenko (pennlab), Bailun (pennlab) and others.

Alexander Dashevskiy, the curator of the project:
«”Mimicry Systems” has a striking exposition form: it could be described as an exhibition-polyptych with the slowly developing metaphysics, internal rhymes, «easter eggs», «through stories» and nonlinear narrative. The project is like an intellectual TV series, where action takes time in several epochs simultaneously, and each episode plays out in new decorations, while the viewer feels a vanishing point in the end of all the narrative lines. As in good movies, the genre changes within an action: science fiction converts into tragedy, thriller turns into sitcom, arthouse transforms into biopic with a touch of heroiс drama. Drawing on the collection of the AZ Museum and including works by contemporary artists, the curator of the exhibit builds up a story about life strategies of the artistic society, about fears and tricks of the modern world that discern its reflection in fragments of the past. The first exhibition of the series — «Seeing, All-seeing, Unseeing Eye» — is dedicated, on the one hand, to the instruments that artists design for helping their vision, on the other, to the mechanisms created by the society in order to watch artists and things that are better not be looked at.»

Each of three exhibitions of the series «Mimicry Systems» will delve into one or another type of mimicry, using the language of contemporary art. The second exhibition «The Living Sculptures» opens on December 6, the last one, «Beyond exploitation», in March.

The AZ Museum opened the AZ/ART space on Maroseyka in 2022 as a place for art experiments, contemporary art exhibitions (mainly with artworks from the AZ Museum assembly), group and solo exhibitions of contemporary artists, lectures and art meetings. The new museum space is located in the white stone chambers of the 17th century — the House of Naryshkin-Raguzinskiys.

Dates of the project:
«Seeing, All-seeing, Unseeing Eye», September 20, 2023 – November 19, 2023
«Living Sculptures», December 6, 2023 – February 18, 2024
«Beyond Exploitation», March 6, 2024 – May 12, 2024

Location: art-space AZ/ART, Maroseyka st., 11/4 building 1

Authors of the project:
CEO of the AZ Museum and AZ/ART — Natalia Opaleva
Curator of the project — Alexander Dashevskiy
Exposition architect — Mikhail Maslov


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