Made in Russia at Moscow Museum of Modern Art

Made in Russia
State Museum of Modern Art of the Russian Academy of Arts
October 2 – October 13, 2011

The project of the creative duo Kolesnikov/Denisov 在俄羅斯 (Made in Russia) is a story with an intense plot about love, art, outsourcing, modern capitalism or, maybe, friendship of nations. Reflections of Antonio Negri’s ideas are also visible here: he suggests that the modern concept of proletariat should include not only the industrial working class, but «everyone who is being exploited and who works under the power of capital».

The project consists of seven pictures that create a banal story — man and woman, driven by passion, rush to each other tearing off their clothes. Six out of seven paintings show these sneakers, shoes, jeans, and shirts thrown off in a hurry. The central seventh picture presents lovers themselves, united in a kiss. But in fact the work is not about amorous adventure, but rather about these carelessly thrown, but thoroughly painted clothes. These clothes are by well-known European brands produced, of course, in China. Here it is, the meeting of West and East: marketing, design, technologies, and quality control are Europe, while the production itself is China.

The production of paintings themselves is shown in a video by Andrey Kononov, which is also displayed here. We see an artist’s hand, but when the camera moves away, we see… a Chinese man instead of Russian authors Ivan Kolesnikov and Sergey Denisov. That is a common situation: the idea is Russian, the production — Chinese. However, it is made, literally, in Russia, and the author is not the one who ‘paints’ but the one who develops the idea. In this case, the figure of a Chinese man is a complex metaphor for wage labor, uncommon kinds of employment, and migration. Therefore, the artist is not only a worker in the efficient art system, but also a freelancer and a migrant who is travelling the world in search of job, inspiration, and acknowledgment.