Dmitry Gutov

gutov_08_0Has had solo exhibitions in Moscow and Italy ( Milan, 2005). Participated in the Cetinje Biennial (1994), the Venice Biennale (1995, Russian pavilion; 2007), the Sao Paulo Biennial (2002), “Moscow-Berlin” (2003-2004), special projects for the 1st and 2nd Moscow Biennales (2005, 2007), and “Documenta” (2007), among others.

The Project Used

Imagine a provincial Soviet department store with half-empty shelves, sparse decorations behind the bleary windows. All the goods and appliances are a little dusty and old, held up by stand-screens of vertical iron rods falling askance Sixties style. A vacuum cleaner flies through space like a Sputnik. Handbags form suprematist compositions; transistor radios hang suspended on welded prison bar insets. There are op art shutterblind effects whenever you change position. In his new series Used, a set of 13 wall assemblages, Dmitry Gutov imitates the basic elements of such an imaginary socialist shop window display. Through his choice of objects, Gutov shows that he was always something of a Kabakovian character, a man who could never throw anything away, a Robinson swimming to and from the sinking ship to rescue all kinds of stuff. But this lyrical image of the collector is sobered up by the prose of artistic production: Gutov is actually framing and selling personal mementos to a very different type of collector.
But why is Gutov parting with these objects now?
Because the post-Soviet era is now definitively over. New generations of bionic knowledge workers grow up in disposable realities. The only way mementos of the material age can survive is as elitist works of art (read: commodities), either tucked away in a museum, or, as is more likely, in the hands of private collectors. They aren’t even safe at home.

David Riff

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