Anya Zholud

0Born in 1981 in Leningrad, studied at the Shtiglitz St. Petersburg State Art Academy. Finalist for the 2008 Kandinsky Prize and longlisted for the 2011 Kandinsky Prize in the Young Artist: Project of the Year category. Winner of the 2010 Innovation state art prize in the New Generation category. Participated in the main project at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). Lives and works in Moscow.

“Exercise” is an interdisciplinary project at the boundary between sculpture, performance, photography and literature. It was created in 2012-13 and first exhibited at XL Gallery, Moscow, in June 2013. The project intentionally combines phenomena that are usually located at the opposite aesthetic and philosophic poles in modern art: sterile geometric abstraction and an expressionistic cry of despair. Against a background of wireframe structures inspired by the endless combinations of the Rubik’s Snake children’s toy, all in Zholud’s recognizable “formalist” manner, audiences can observe the artist’s body covered with wounds and bruises, evidence of “depressive” behavior, and a confessional text by a young woman who has fallen victim to aggressive machismo at home and institutional indifference and people’s misunderstanding in her professional life.

The glaring discord between the tranquility of the artist’s language and her existential suffering is the purpose and subject matter of the work. It was born of the artist’s tragic personal circumstances and at the same time is typical of the work of a whole generation of artists in the 2000s. The crisis of dumbness — the lack of an appropriate language for depicting the world — is their common problem, if not their calamity. For this reason the project is crucial not only for Zholud’s oeuvre but for all of Russian contemporary art.

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