A review of Recycle Group: Heaven Carrier, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York


The psychoanalytical study of a renowned case of paranoia, the instance of German judge Daniel Schreber, mentions a particular feeling by the patient. He certainly was sure he was the one to redeem the world and give back its beatification. This precious message was conducted, as Schreber vowed, by a plethora of divine rays that he was able to feel after a nervous and intellectual overstrain. The neurotic explained that God was communicating with the early prophets through the same rays, but later the human body had lost this wonderful ability.


A collective of Russian-born artists, Recycle Group, grips the paradox, our total, almost neurotic «online-ness» and exaggerates it to the point of absurdity. Can you imagine that instead of answering a secret question when you forget your Facebook password, you would have to measure the goodness of you previous deeds, especially those you hadn’t posted on Twitter or Instagram? The comical utopia of the physical world cut by the web / divine rays is visualized in Andrey Blokhin's and Georgy Kuznetsov's first solo exhibition in the Unites States Heaven Carrier. The artists imagine a genuine chapel of virtual reality in a recently opened space, Richard Taittinger Gallery in Lower East Side.


The spectator follows his path to the cross under a cupola though the rows of sacred images. The cross is replaced by the letter F, a logotype of the Facebook, torsos of supposed saints are indented with contours of I-phone applications, protagonists of antique-like bas-reliefs keep tablets in their hands. Blokhin and Kuznetsov jokingly foresee the époque when technology and social media would subjugate a human being. The artists obviously coin a cyberpunk visual story: idealized classical forms of busts incorporate emblems of applications, one can be brainless, but blessed by Skype. While using canons of Antic shapes and alluding to possible aftertime, they unavoidably join a archeomodernist tendency that asserts a non-linear comprehension of time. It's is an anecdote about a future that has already happened. However, the humor of this yarn seems to be quite grim. A viewer’s eye may be pleased by the accented elegance of refined sculptures that give an impression of being amorous of the human being. A kinetic sculpture in plastic mesh represents an itinerant in white garments that endeavors to find his track through a GPS application. The character undeniably prompts Mouses tale - his followers are portrayed nearby on a large-scale mesh bas-relief The Wayfarers (2015). A contemporary Laocoon (2015) is tied up by wires instead of snakes. Philosopher and art theorist Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, in his consequential essay on classical art Laocoon: An Essay on the Limits of Painting and Poetry (1766), points out the crucial trait of antique sculptural creation: it never reveals the highest bond of emotion. The expressive outcry is ugly, above all, it bereaves a spectator of their freedom for imagination. The image of any concentrated passion is the last to provoke a fanciful mind, according to this respected thinker. Unbearable suffering of Laocoon by Rhodes masters is reduced to a groan: antique visual culture could not insult itself by the effigy of rage or accidie. It’s a known fact that the ancient Thebaic state officially forbade its creators to mime ugliness. Following this logics and keeping in mind the archeomodernist approach of the Recycle Group, that predetermines historical leaps of forms and meanings, one would see an extremely sarcastic, black humored image. They will descry a farcical cyberpunk tragedy, where its ostensibly tranquil protagonists either stubbornly search for an escape, either desperately hanging on by the skin of their teeth to steel away, or are already threaded by the divine rays and have conceded their flesh to foreign matter.


Ekaterina Shcherbakova

April 2015

info
×
info
×
info
×
Using Format