Vadim Voinov at Moscow Museum of Modern Art

Vadim Voinov. «The plot of an object»
State Museum of Modern Art of the Russian Academy of Arts
September 24 – October 30

Vadim Voinov is one of the leading figures of Saint-Petersburg contemporary art. His special area of interest is Russian history of 1900s—1980s; and the real objects that, being out of use, have lost their relevance are his material of choice. The artist reclaims them to construct his pictures and, while transforming a material object into a symbol, creates an efficient and polysemic representation of Time. The artistic effect of Vadim Voinov’s works relies on the existence of several tension fields: between the symbolic interpretation of an object and its actual materiality, between the abstract representational value of an image and the physical reality of the object composing it, between the title — concept — and the syntax of the image, between people and events that are now gone and passed within the veil, and things that, even when appertaining to the past, dwell in the present.

From the perspective of the established world art classification, Voinov’s oeuvre fits into the assemblage tradition, which operates with the so-called found objects. However, this term refers not so much to the conceptual aspect of his artworks, as to the technical one. What matters to Voinov is not an object as such (a real physical body, idiom, language element etc), but precisely the thing, with the mark of its past existence on it, with the memory of human lives it was involved in, the thing as a participant, a witness and the guardian of history. At artist’s will, the objects enter into unexpected compositional interactions, produce semantic combinations, which their appearance and destination can’t fully account for. Still, they maintain their utilitarian, historical, emotional and sociopsychological identity.

The architectonics of Voinov’s art as a set of compositional principles, textural contrasts, spatial dynamics recalls Tatlin’s counter-reliefs and Malevich’s suprematic constructions. However, another Russian tradition, that dealing with the narrative, literary potential of the image, is no less important for the artist, who may be rightly called the master of history genre now — at a new stage and with new media available — succeeding to the experience of Russian history painting. Yet, what really appeals to him, is not so much a historical event, as psychology and mentality of the time.

Vadim Voinov’s exhibition at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, which is part of the Parallel Program of the IV Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, will be the first solo exhibition of the artist in Moscow. His works are held in the collections of major Russian museums. They are a regular focus of Museum curators and make part of most large-scale projects initiated by the State Russian Museum. Three of his solo exhibitions have taken place at the State Hermitage, while the Museum of Non-Conformist Art has established a special gallery dedicated entirely to Voinov’s art.