Dmitry Vrubel and Viktoria Timofeeva

Vrubel_TimofeevaHave had solo exhibitions in various Moscow galleries and participated in group exhibitions, including “Soviet Art Around 1990” (1991-1992, Dusseldorf-Jerusalem-Moscow), the Cetinje Biennial (1997), “Hidden Art. Nonconformists in Russia. 1957- 1995” (Moscow-Kassel-Altenburg), and a special project for the 2nd Moscow Biennale (2007).

The heroes of Vrubel’s and Timofeeva’s paintings are familiar to everyone. They appear in the news everyday. They stare out at us from the pages of newspapers and web sites. They are big shots and political figures: Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin, Alexander Litvinenko, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and so on. Ceremony in today’s political world is not known for its variety or visual richness. Summit meetings, state receptions and the like are but distant echoes of the glorious processions and festivals held for kings. Every political event is absorbed by the media, reinterpreted and spit out as something new. Nothing is certain: the sheer volume of competing viewpoints prevents us from neatly dividing the world into “good guys” and “bad guys.” Unlike court artists of the past, Vrubel and Timofeeva has no one to dictate his subjects to him. He is fascinated by all media spectacle, irrespective of the political concerns and ideologies of its protagonists. At first glance, huge canvas 2007 looks like one of those Event of the Year or Man of the Year infographics in magazines. It is, in fact, an attempt to create a new kind of abstracted historical painting on the basis of international politics. The faces of 2007 have little in common with each other: a toothless, smiling bum is depicted on the same scale as Putin. 2007 is the pictorial embodiment of an “information democracy,” a historical period in which images proliferate thanks only to their popularity with the audience.
Valentin Dyakonov

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