mishmashMisha Leykin. born 1968. 1997 – 2001 a member of group «Iced architects». Education – Moscow Architectural Institute.
Masha Sumnina. Born 1977. Education – Moscow Academy of Printing.


The new MishMash duet exhibition throws together a number of topics that have been relevant for the artists in the last few years. Rough texture being one of the project basic plastic components was explored by MishMash in collaboration with Pavel Gerasimenko, a prominent Petersburg intellectual, in the blog “Found Art”. “OGLANAZ” is based stylistically on the interpretations of random bricolage practices which are inherent to the workings of government agency of social projects’ renovation staff, as well as on the heritage of Moscow conceptual school.
“OGLANAZ” begs to describe it using the term from the musicians’ vernacular: at the first sight we find an “oldschool” exhibition adapting techniques of conceptualism, minimalism and found art. But emotionally “OGLANAZ” is tuned to the enjoyment of endless frustration coming from encountering art as a surface. Introducing a virtual figure of “a dull critic” juxtaposes image and speech in a combination which can be described easily by the old Soviet proverb “when you look in a book you see a middle finger”.
While creating objects for “OGLANAZ” the artists were inspired by the lines from most inadequate reviews of modern art exhibitions that appeared in the media in the last ten years. All the quotes are by the same author – me. MishMash cannot help being surprised at how skillfully a spectator – even a professional one – manages to lead a conversation astray hiding behind the words and covering between them “unnecessary” feelings and emotions. Due to that art is being overrun with rhetoric fences and “No Entry” signs. At the same time MishMash are aware of their own constant inclination to hide behind their works playing a glass beads game (with meanings) or a game of give-away, hinting or winking, sticking nose up in the air or shadowing themselves. Thus, work and its interpretation are getting to be like two parallel lines that do not converge.
Nevertheless, the artists try to be quite open with the “dull critic” underscoring “texture”, “drawing” and “metaphysics”, i.e. the things which can be ever understood by a spectator irrespectively of the quality of a work.
MishMash explain the approach used for making up the exhibition as “diligence and indulgence (economy and extravagance)” – here the true environmental friendliness of the materials and the principle of recycling are strongly supported with the visual diversity, the fact that allows to apply to “OGLANAZ” the term “retrospective” – though it is not quite clear whose retrospective exhibition it is.
However, another word beginning with “R” seems more appropriate here – the word “restoration”. The MishMash’s fences are not just mental, they are physical as well; behind them one more historical layer can be found – that is Soviet and classic art, or any decor, which has been kept lively like a mummy. Its original forms have been fading and wearing off, and as a result in comes to us only in the interpretation of house service workers – everything is repainted, calked up and patched over and over again up to the total lost of the original form as it always happens in the retelling the retold. Then retelling in his own way is what the “boring critic” is busy with. All together creates a new but so familiar universe of absurdity and inadequacy – the kingdom of everlasting repainting and redecoration.
Valentin Diaconov

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