Olga and Alexander Florensky

Florensky1Florensky2Live and work in St. Petersburg. Were organizers of the Mit’ki artist group. Have participated in Russian and international film festivals (1993-2006). Works included in the collections of the Tretyakov Gallery, the RussianMuseum, the Victoria and AlbertMuseum ( London) and Kiasma ( Helsinki), among others.

In Russian Trophy Olga and Alexander Florensky come armed with their best strategic designs from the time they were part of the Mit’ki folk art movement to their post-Mit’ki period. Their toy arsenal was assembled as part of the Russian Design project, in which artists made objects for war out of old household junk such as tubes and oil stove burners, acting as a people’s inventors, a rubbish-heap Mikhail Kalashnikovs. Their battle pieces and other visual aids are made in their trademark aesthetic of pseudo-childish popular print and old comics. Their enemie’s flags demonstrate “the psychology of the common font” used for housing department announcements and fence aphorisms. Everything together comprises a would-be military-historical museum where the Florenskys act as curators-cum-anthropologists. Russian Trophy is conceptualism with a Petersburg accent. With an absurdist irony derived from Daniil Harms and the Oberiuts, they thoroughly dissect the whole range of Soviet-era myths, from the great-power myth with, its cult of the military-industrial complex, to the communal one. The outcome of this artistic study of Soviet mentality is couched in a form that resists verbal description; it demonstrates an antiquarian passeї quality typical of Petersburg since the World of Art movement. However, the loving attitude toward the spoils of a past civilization and the ironic attitude toward newly extolled militarism both expressed here give a clear answer to the eternal question of whether Russians want war.
Anna Tolstova

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