The large group exhibitions of PARAZIT in the galleries in the method of formation inherit the tooth-crushing tactics of the "Roaring Parnassus" of the Futurists, where "kicking a horse's hoof" can be considered the most precise definition of events and is quite suitable as a metaphor to describe the artistic tactics of the creative association PARAZIT. Therefore, it was this time. After another meeting and roll call of ideas for the exhibition at the Cultural Center "Rosa", as an obvious metaphor, the idea of the "The Pink Exhibition" won out. Well, if it is pink, there must be plenty of it! Then there is the "Ninth Shaft" of pink Aivazovsky, which, as in the case of "three wise men in one basin, set sail in a thunderstorm" is transformed into a pool of pink paint. "The Pink Exhibition" is an intuitive premonition of form, a combination of the collective and the individual, the general and the private. Are you in the inner circle of the conventional "pool," or have you already crossed the line and come out to the viewer with your own system of views (with your pink cockroaches), ready to dip your "naked" work of art into the pool of individual pink dreams?
For me, the meaning of PARAZIT is expressed in a burlesque of linguistic and artistic games, where a pulsating fountain of ideas is constantly accompanied by a heated discussion about the meaning of art. Only a collective vote can stop this flow. However, who is "in charge" in this case? Who is the leader or curator? It seems to me that in the case of PARAZIT we are talking about a confederation, a form of association of independent territories or anarchist self-government. At traditional meetings of PARAZIT, though, the eye of the collective teacher and mentor is still felt. His presence becomes noticeable when the time comes for each participant to defend their new work. This procedure is accompanied by detailed follow-up questions, individual interpretations from other artists, and noisy arguments over the success and accuracy of the idea. In this way, the gallery space, in which the works are not yet hung on the walls, but spread out on the floor, is transformed into the Athenian Agora, a philosophical "workshop of opinions. In the moments of "talking through" ideas, there is a coordination of heterogeneous views. The dominating figure of the curator as a mentor, imposing the only correct point of view, is firmly rejected. Although the word "curator" does sound within the PARAZIT project, it is interpreted solely ironically. This is how the "body of PARAZIТ" begins to emerge, which does not devour individuality, but pulsates from the idea, to be then shared, multiplied, bloated, bursting, and poured with the "pink liquid of collaboration.
Art history professor Grant Kester in "Collaboration, Art, and Subcultures" writes: "Collaborative and collective projects are quite different from conventional object practice. The participant is engaged through immersion and participation in the process rather than through visual observation (reading and deciphering an image or object). Today, art history is focused mainly on the analysis of individual objects and images, understood as the product of one person's creative and intellectual activity." To the inattentive viewer it may seem that traditional "PARAZIT" exhibitions are ordinary gallery art with an ordinary method of hanging. However, this "plein air" exhibition is only an external part of the "being an artist" skill to be trained, what is more important in PARAZIT is the joy of meeting, the lively communication, and the continuous mutual transfer of experience.
The American artist and writer Paul Chan in The Unthinkable Community writes: "The desire to communicate, to transmit by word, sound, image or gesture some inner world expressing what we want and who we are (or who we want and what we are), takes on a new function and no longer serves the need to communicate and understand. Telecommunications and related technical industries profit from the need to communicate. Communication has undergone industrialization".
If you count the birth of PARAZIT in 2000, it seems that in 18 years the nature of communication of the creative association has not changed the same Saturday meetings-months, which may seem a rather conservative practice. Meanwhile, PARAZIT is still on trend. Since 2013, there has been an "underground PARAZIT GROUP" on social networks, connecting participants virtually online. Virtual discussions, of course, do not cancel out real meetings and heated off-line debates. These rallies with the flavor of a party, the pop-up collaborations between group members, the stern but gentle criticism and desire for group creativity provide the ground for healthy social interaction and tempt recruits to join the ranks of PARAZIT.
Curator and critic Nicolas Bourriaud in "Relational Aesthetics" remarks that "today, after two centuries of fighting for individuality against group aspirations ... we must return to the idea of multiplicity and invent new ways of being together, forms of interaction that go beyond the inevitability of families, the ghetto of intuitive technologies and collective institutions." We know from personal experience how interest groups are formed in social networks, so we understand that such an association is especially difficult when we are talking about such extreme individualists as artists. The creative association "Parasite" is a prime example of a group of individualists. However, it is also a common "body" assembled from individuals. How does the mechanism work to keep this collection of individuals in the "assemblage point"? It seems to me that the artist, by assembling the collective experience into a single body, thus cultivates an "intersubjectivity". The "body" speaks to the viewer through its particular, already recognizable PARAZIT "language community".
The philosopher Irena Vdovina connects the concept of "intersubjectivity" with the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty: "...in Merleau-Ponty's works one becomes increasingly aware that the relationship between man and the world in his concept is inextricably linked with the relationship between man and man, with what is designated by the term 'intersubjectivity'. The world, the philosopher wrote, is not exhausted by the fact that it exists physically, "in-itself," "by-itself": the perceptible world really exists if «others» perceive it; "in-itself" can appear only after the "other" has appeared. The "body of PARAZIT" is replete with independent organs and control systems, which constitute a single intersubjectivity deployed in the "The Pink Exhibition". The understanding of the event as OUR (PARAZIT group) SO-EVENTION opens in the work "Or and Being" by Alena Tereshko. The artist views complicity as a careful touch of identity. However, questions continue to flicker in the general body: "is it possible to formulate the very existence of the PARAZIT community as a question, as a convention, as a myth or a fairy tale?" The artist does not give a direct answer to this question: "the words and letters blur into a graphic ligature, a drawing in which only emotion, obscurity, dream and tangled lines of connection can be read."
PARAZIT Partnership was born and was given a name. Vera Svetlova's work "Arch" refers precisely to the dual parasitic essence. The delicate manganese and subtle pink treading on the white enamel only lulls the vigilant, concealing the Pink Army's creeping guerrilla takeover of the entire object. Emilia Sanghi reveals to the viewer the life story of the creation PARAZIT through the Jacques Lacan Theory Mirror. "La vie en Rose" is a clear reference to Edith Piaf's famous song "Life in Pink": "The look under which I lower my eyes, the smile on his lips. Here is a man without retouching. The man I belong to. When he hugs me and whispers in my ear, I see life in pink. He says affectionate words to me. They are simple words, everyday words, but they make me happy." The title sentence, written directly on an old oval mirror, reflects the viewer, mixing it up, PARAZIT and, of course, the romantic "pink roses".
Timur Musaev-Kagan's work "Life Line" reveals the scheme of the "author-viewer" relationship. It is a long roll of teletype tape with the author's drawings wound on a reel and attached to a round wooden base. As the artist comments: "The Life Line object is a logical continuation of the "Exodus" project, which the author started back in 2016. The obligatory condition for interaction, specified by the artist, is that viewers must tear a piece from the ribbon with human figures, thus reducing the space of the ribbon filled with human figures (the artist, on the other hand, continues to finish it all the time). These figures are an endless succession of people, from different places and times, situations and memories, who pass in front of the viewer, mingling and building up into infinity. At the "The Pink Exhibition", this object was accompanied by a text written on the Pink page: "Use this piece as a symbol of sacrifice. Tear off pieces of human ribbon and throw them into the cauldron of a common rose idea. Make the soup more rich."
Nadya Ishkinaeva's "Winter Poly Garden" object looks like a scheme or documentation of her own life story and déjà vu return to a familiar space: For two years, my studies at the School of Involved Art "What to Do" took place in the space of the Cultural Center "Rosa". Therefore, for the "pink" exhibition I wanted to create work just about her. School life consisted of hostels, balls and unfinished homework - this helped to build new bonds between us. The convergence and production of new school experiences formed a family tree or decentralized kinship map. In this kind of kinship you can be both mother and sister, you can be a foremother but not for long, you can be the daughter of a feminist duo, you can be the cousin of three Juliettes, and the children of sisters are not necessarily related. Such relationships do not bind, but are reinvented. They may die, or they may sprout in the most unexpected places. This palisade comes from the faculty of feminine sensuality at our school of utopias, where female artists who have influenced me have worked. New kin, new queer connections, a new way of projecting identity with an endless list of names and identities, all blossomed back into a field of pink collectivity.
The joint work of Fedor Hiroshige and Semyon Motolyanets "Land Orientation" is a symbiosis of the two authors and at the same time a direct parasitization. Taking advantage of Semyon Motolyanets' absence, Fedor uses his old and famous work as a frame for his own work. Motolyanets presented this work to Fedor about a year ago, and now she has found a use for it. None of Fedor Hiroshige's works can do without mushrooms. This time the alter ego of Fedor Hiroshige is the Cap mushroom (the famous pinkish Rhodotus mushroom), which she wears in various performances, where Fedor is present as a mute mushroom identity. The mute here is deceptive, as Fedor, even as a mushroom, continues to think and foreshadows the inevitability of human-mushroom (perhaps, a parasitic mushroom) fusion. The mushroom in the geometric hexagon looks quite convincing, asserting the coming victory of nature over the speculative suprematism of humanoids (in this particular case represented by Semyon Motolyanets).
Vladimir Kozin generally declares "Parazit" as a model for the state of the future, built on a new system of attitudes and relationships: "The color pink in the exhibition as a symbol of the liquefaction of the revolution that took place in 1917. Pink consists of white and red-it is the color of milk and the color of blood-and the resulting pink substance is like fertile soil-it is something that gives some kind of perspective; a belief that something will come out of it. We PARAZIT represent the model of the future state. PARAZIT operate on an anarchic principle: Whoever came is the one who brought the work. The Parazit is a family, with elders, the young, the very young, the experienced and the inexperienced – a cross-section of our society. In ideological terms, PARAZIT is a model of society that rejects no one, condemns no one, and oppresses no one. His object in the exhibition is called "THIS IS NOT A SHIT" and is devoted to art criticism, society's pressure on the artist, the artist's resistance to unification and the uniqueness of each creative individuality.
It is worth noting that statehood is based on a set of basic norms and laws and a social contract between citizens and the state, which is called the constitution. In addition, there is a reference to this concept at the exhibition too. This is Alexander Morozov's work The Constitution. Many of Morozov's works reveal his critical attitude towards the practice of manipulation of fundamental concepts by the ruling powers. That is why his "Constitution" is black and white, welded from scraps of metal and looks more like barbed wire. Igor Panin's object "Barbie-Que" (Barbie+barbecue) is a classic ready-made, assembled by the author from a wheel rim and a pink Barbie doll figure. The work is dedicated to children and teenagers subjected to repression by the state police machine, who have been framed by the secret services themselves for the sake of accountability.
Now let's talk a little bit about the optics of view. PARAZIT community has a healthy collective body and a healthy sense of humor. Andrei Sikorski's object "The Complete Optimist" combines two symbols - a skull and rose-tinted glasses. "Even death will not kill the optimism in the optimist," the author explains. The theme of an optical mediator influencing vision (or even worldview) also appears in Ilya Zelenetsky's object. This image was "found in life". The two empty squares (two frames of sight) with dollar and euro signs resemble the sign of a currency exchange office, where the emptiness inside the squares indicates a lack of foresight and uncertainty. To engage the viewer in an imaginary game and to see the entire exhibition in pink, Alexander Strokov hands out glasses twisted from wire. In addition, his project 'Ghosts' refers to the Soviet period of the country's history, as the exhibition is territorially organized in a monument of constructivist architecture. However, in a hundred years the main colour - RED - has lost its power, has had time to blur into particulars and has faded. In Anna Koch's "Cunt-art" diptych, pink is observed as a marking colour stigma: from the infantile choice of a colored ribbon on a roll, to pink as preferentially "feminine" and even a latent soft-body from which life emanates. However, this idea of gender definiteness is immediately challenged in Timur Musaev-Kagan's "What are you willing to do for your dreams"? For The Pink Exhibition, the author chose one of the works in the Domination series, which illustrates the idea that a transsexual body is both a transitional entity between the two sexes, by analogy with pink, which is a mixture of red and white, and some unattainable utopian ideal, which can be aspired to, but is difficult to achieve. Vova Lilo's red-made is plastic dollhouse, which the author has borrowed from his own children, is a toy house. Lilo's architectural invasion trolls the many posters of developers promising a fairytale pink paradise to all investors. However, beyond that, the site has an interactive reference in the form of a phone number, by dialing which one can hear the disturbing "Sound of Prana Injection over the Rainbow Bridge" to the ear.
A rather interesting story happened to my own work "Derzila" during the exhibition. The first photos that appeared online after the exhibition caused a bit of a media storm in distant Perm city. Two local editions requested interviews and printed texts. Why did this happen? Because my work was directly linked to a story that took place in this city in the Urals. There are 2,000 km from St. Petersburg to Perm, but the problems are the same, because they concern the Russian society as a whole. Zina Agisheva, a tenth-grader in Perm, was suspended from school in Gymnasium № 4 for dyed her hair pink. It seems like an ordinary story from life, familiar from many cases, but in this case, both the girl and her parents went into conflict with the principal, challenging the legality of the actions, and the story received media attention. In one of the texts, a word came up that struck a chord with me. Defining her attitude towards the unruly student, the principal pronounced: "She was cheeky" (in the Russian transcription it is a verb "derzila").
That is, the verb has literally become a nickname or definition of a social group. That said, the root of the word comes from ecclesiastical Slavicisms, and the word "insolent" itself is formed in the literary language of the intelligentsia of Nekrasov's time. The word is sonorous, vivid and beautiful and in one word, a fundamental conflict is formulated. It allows a private case to become a subject of interest for contemporary art. One of my lines of artistic work deals with the collision between text and image. The way we communicate with the media has accustomed us to the fact that words often replace the image or become an image in their own right. Naturally, I choose the most striking cases of such symbolic transference for my works. The Russian press gives many interesting examples. In fact, we are witnessing the formation of a modern version of the Russian language.
"The Pink Exhibition" was conceptually divided into two rooms: a dry room ("Individual") and a wet room ("Collective"). Moving from the "dry" to the "wet" room, the viewer was greeted above the door by a wooden Fedor Hiroshige sign with a riddle in the spirit of Zen stories: "It's not what you think". In this case, it read as an invitation to forget all value systems in order to "go to pieces" in a pink collective slurry, where the personal literally dissolves into the social. However, the functional construction in the form of a gallows, built by Pert Shvetsov over a swimming pool, immediately called for responsibility, reminding us of Memento Mori. As a result, it was up to each of the artists to choose the form of the ritual of dipping their author's work into the collective pink.
Kerim Rahimov added a special marker to the framed painting - an indication of the level of dipping. He explained that the work of his literally came to him in a dream and dictated the modus operandi. Andrei Sikorsky used a white canvas, turning it into Pink No 13. Vera Svetlova dipped her work "Terka" in a pool of pink paint. For her, the process was about "dangerous" kitchen utensils as a traditional venue for debating controversial issues. Several wooden pieces with drawings and texts by Fedor Hiroshige ('Utena Revolutionary Girl', 'Bride Rose', 'Kiss of Bride Rose and Revolutionary Girl') returned black and white conventional stories from Japanese manga to the 'corporeality' of everyday life through immersion in pink. Alexandra Ovchinnikova dipped her own alter ego into the font - a plastic "Poups" deprived of the happiness of creative communication and undergoing a pink rebirth. I dipped a wooden poster in pink with the famous paradoxical line from Gertrude Stein's poem "A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose". The collective excitement of the group turned my artwork into a wordless abstract canvas in the spirit of Pollock's 'art of action'. Therefore, poetry becomes an experience of renewal.
Eighteen years is quite a long time for a group activity. By various estimates, between 100 and 300 artists have passed through the group in that time. It seems to me that the strength of mutual attraction in a group is inversely proportional to the volume of differences and contradictions. The group does not proclaim loud manifestos; it carries out an educational process. The PARAZIT regularly rebuilds itself, but some unknown magnetism holds "PARAZIT's body" parts together in a collective identity. It seems to me that this fluidity is held together by solidarity and unpredictability. Remaining individualistic, the band members dive into a common pool in search of the summand that forms the singularity of both the band as a whole and its "The Pink Exhibition" in particular.
Text: Danita Pushkareva
Photo: Yakov Kalmens, Timur Musaev-Kagan
This article was published at https://www.krapiva.org December 15, 2018