Taus Makhacheva

makhachevaBorn in 1983. Graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Goldsmiths College (London, 2007) and from the ICA in Moscow (2009). Selected exhibitions: “Aluminum” (IV International Biennale, Baku, 2009). “History of Russian Video Art, Volume 3” (Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2010). “Practice for Everyday Life” (Calvert 22, London, 2011). “Affirmative Action (mimesis)” (Impronte
Contemporary Art, Milan, 2011).


The social dimension of my work resonates with personal history. My parents are from Dagestan, so I’m deeply familiar with instinctual societal reactions to members of another culture. Understanding the difficulty of overcoming those differences forms the essence of my artistic practice. My work is not aimed at changing society or documenting some kind of social crisis. They incorporate into routine and ordinary situations a definite symbolic element that lends them a sense of intentionality and makes them accessible for an individual or social response. When I flew home to Makhachkala from Moscow to shoot this video I learned that at the corner of my house, right by School No. 13, three policemen had been shot to death. What should a video work involving weapons be about when it is made in such context? I shoot into the sand with a Makarov, a service gun used by Russian police. As soon as I take the gun, I feel that it is an instrument, and ask my cameraman to move away for fear of the bullet ricocheting. I shoot. There is the recoil, sound, a crater in the sand, and as I start digging I realize that the crater was only on the surface, and it is impossible to distinguish the trajectory of a bullet and I need to dig at random. By the time I find a bullet I have fired almost the whole magazine. I leave a big hole behind. All the bullets that I couldn’t dig up remained somewhere in the beach near the city of Makhachkala.