MARIA MIKHAYLOVA

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Russian Actionism Today

Year: 2020

Medium: printed book

Length: 52 pages

Size (height x width): 20 x 13 cm

My main interest lies in doing artistic research and curating. Placing myself as a spectator, I like to write stories and create new worlds with respect to the artworks and their authors. I believe that curating is more than just selection and representation: it is a creation of something that exists only here and now, mesmerizing with its ephemerality and finiteness. With a sincere belief that art is a tool to change the world I explore social topics and their relation to art.


My interest in history, creative resistance and socially engaged practices led to a research on Russian Actionism and inspired me to create book about the development of this movement. Actionism is a unique phenomenon of Russian contemporary art. It is a form of Performance Art, that emerged in Russia in 1990s, during the time of a political and economic collapse, chaos and formation of a new state, and started as a radical contextual reaction of the artists to a new Post-Soviet reality.


Born in the early 1990s, I was witnessing various phenomena occurring in the Russian society: independent media, carnival-like liberty, permissiveness and boldness on TV and in periodicals, war conflicts and terrorist attacks, economic growth and the following financial crises, youth subcultures, growing political awareness, activism, shift towards traditional values, censorship laws, state-controlled media, political prisoners and many more.

 

Actionism has the closest relationship to political discourse and our today’s life in its complexity and versatility than any other artistic movement, and therefore it interests me the most as a researcher. Being a concerned Russian citizen and a contemporary of art activists working with social practice art and Actionism, I want to trace how the societal challenges affect art, and to present my findings in a form of a book. During the process I collaborated with other researchers, curators and artists; the outcome of our conversations is presented in my book.

Download the book:

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