The Owls Are Not What They Seem
We open our eyes and see the world before us. We look away, and what seemed obvious a second ago transforms into the speculative. Images, feelings, associations accumulate in our memory. They make the world around us recognizable. They emerge in our minds, and what we see begins to make sense. Though sometimes that clarity is illusory…. We see the world through the haze of thoughts, and that is the magic of life and art. This joint project, „Owls Are Not What They Seem, „ by artists Tanya Sherstyuk and Victor Skersis from two different generations, can be seen September 12 to October 17 in Gallery 21 at Winzavod.
A game of visible and imaginary, quoted and implied, personal and mythical forms an environment of total metaphor at the exhibition, each element of which refers to something else. Even the name of the exhibition quotes „Twin Peaks” by David Lynch.
The exposition consists of video projections, rotating antique sculptures and the shadows cast by them, transparent collages, flags, and paintings. Here is an „Octopus on a tree in the garden of Moscow State University, „ but turn around and you begin to suspect that you are in the Garden of Eden. „It is all simple in Paradise” seems to be suggested by another work, although perhaps it's Gorky Park? Those flags must be from there! The quiet dialogue between Tanya and Victor sounds like a conversation, or is it blank verse for two voices? This is two artists painting a picture of the world.
The exhibition is built on the principle of an environment, that is, the natural setting in which art takes place. This scene is open to other artists: Olga Shirokostup and composer Kirill Smirnov; artist Masha Kechaeva and composer Alexei Kokhanov; artist Natalya Danini will conduct art-interventions in the same surroundings.
From the authors:
Tanya Sherstyuk: „I describe my artistic practice as conceptualism, and I'm closest to 'analytic conceptualism.' Victor's ideas always seemed to me if not radical, then very elegant, clean, innovative: for example, the 'Skersis paradox, ' which is that 'The most important part of the conceptually new work of art is that which is not art.'
We belong to different generations, and we certainly have different views on many things. However, I am surprised by similarities in our approaches. That's probably because we studied at the same art school, Moscow Art School No1.)
In each new project, first of all, I am interested in development and transformation. And this is exactly what happens in creative collaborations. Therefore, I consider it a great success to create something together with Victor.”
Victor Skersis: „Why do we work together? In my opinion, if your art is built on self-expression, then you need to work alone, although you then risk becoming a lonely person screaming at the mirror. On the other hand, in a large team, you always have a supervisor, somebody who knows what you should do and how you should think. You might even have to be expressive on demand! In my opinion, it is optimal to work in a small group.Tanya and I work together. This creates a fruitful balance between the opportunity to speak out yourself and to hear the other. People are unique, and that's why they are complementary. Complementarity is an addition; it's something that you do not have. And of course for me it is an opportunity to see the world and art through the eyes of such a brilliant artist as Tanya Sherstyuk.”
About the authors:
Tanya Sherstyuk is an artist, curator. Graduate of the Institute of Contemporary Art. Her art was greatly influenced by interaction with members of Moscow conceptualism. She has participated in a number of Russian and foreign art exhibitions since 2001, including the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Moscow International Biennales of Contemporary Art, the Dakar International Biennale of Contemporary Art, and the Moscow International Biennale of Young Art. Her works are in private and state collections, including the State Tretyakov Gallery.
Victor Skersis is an artist, author of performances and objects, and representative of the analytical branch of Moscow conceptualism. He worked independently and in the groups The Nest, SZ, Cupid, Bestiary, and others. He created and participated in personal and group exhibitions in Moscow, New York, Cologne, Paris and other cities. His works are in private and state collections, including the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), the Pompidou Museum (Paris), and the Tate Gallery (London).