A laconic and remarkable antithesis to contemporary mass culture, built upon the basic visions of the mundane and the natural
The apparent simplicity of title sets the vector of perception and at the same time identifies the content of artworks on display. Kolovsky’s straight photographs and Mitlyanskaya’s videos are based on excluding anything superficial and entertaining from the field of art. The artists single out of the endless scope of reality the timeless and therefore always essential subjects: plants in a summer field, wave-covered surface of a lake, asphalt dusted with snow, pulsating sprays of fountain, city skyline behind a blurry window glass; figures of passers-by on a pedestrian crossing.
The expressiveness of minimalistic artworks in the Exhibition is achieved by the specifics of composition that always has a reason behind it. The authors intentionally show less, achieving the desired effect by diminishing, simplification and isolation — thus making ordinary subjects essential as they are enhanced by the viewer’s imagination. In these works, emotional intension is expressed through calm and distinctive restrain. The focus is not on the subjects but rather on their relationships, as well as on the line and form.
The austerity of expression is brought the farthest in works dedicated to nature. Such is Alexandra Mitlyanskaya’s video with contours of tree enlivened by the wind suddenly showing through the motionless plane of garden plants. Zakhar Kolovsky, in his landscapes compact filled with detail combining into a patch of color, implements multiplication of images with the next photograph as if growing from the previous one, like in a film footage. The specific dynamics of these austere frieze compositions is meticulously planned.
The main character is the time, the fourth dimension that always appears in new variations. It may expand to reflect the long process of the growth of plants, it may shrink to show the fleeting change of shadows, it may, finally, break to allow sudden change from winter to summer or from age to youth.
The “montage” principle of interrelation between Zakhar Kolovsky’s images is similar to the way Alexandra Kolovskaya plays with time in her work Babylon. The static, frontal view of building under construction is divided into boxes of the future rooms, life running in each of them: workers occupied by laying bricks, conversations inaudible to viewer or leaning against the side of the door opening to take a rest.
At times, the movement slows down to allow the viewer — who remains within the picture frame — see a single image instead of a film. The screen can “imitate” color photography in the way that it happens in Mitlyanskaya’s Still-life where the action is the flecks of sunlight roaming on the surface of water in a glass. Other works allow to sense the constantly pulsating scale of time. The steady, metronomic working of waves around the bench in the tidal waterway is the essence of movement without beginning and end, repeating in a loop, like Alexandra’s videos themselves. The decayed bench in the space of oblivion, pulled out of its mundane everyday context and placed in the center of symmetrical image, becomes truly symbolic.
Obviosly, the authors of the Exhibition assign secondary, subordinate role to contemporary technology, without disregarding its capabilities. Staying true to her former serious experience in painting, Alexandra Mitlyanskaya stints herself to using camera fixed on a tripod without any change of focus or perspective, with no movement around the object. Formally feeding upon the possibilities of photography, Zakhar Kolovsky creates multiple piece compositions unfolding in space. For Kolovsky and Mitlyanskaya, neither photography nor video are an aim in itself but rather the form that manifests a system of visual language used to express specific content. The project prepared for ROSPHOTO is about the search for the visual image of the time, about many modifications of this problem. It is a laconic and remarkable antithesis to contemporary mass culture, built upon the basic visions of the mundane and the natural.
Born in 1956.
1984 Graduates from Leningrad Polytechnic Institute, Control Automation Faculty.
2000 Graduates from Art History faculty of the St.-Petersburg Academy of Arts.
1986 Appointed General Director of St.-Petersburg branch of the A-Ya Society established by the Academy of Sciences and Moscow News office. Among the important institutes of St.-Petersburg art life established under the auspices of A-Ya are the Free Chair of Visual Art (1990), Contemporary Art Research Center (1991), Art Engineers school (1991), Sergei Kurekhin’s Space Research Center (1991), Contemporary Art and Design Center (1991).
1995 Appointed Director of St.-Petersburg branch of the National Centre of Contemporary Art.
1996 exhibition «FLUXUS VIRUS». St.-Petersburg – Moscow.
Projects created in partnership with ARS BALTICA international cultural organization:
• 1996 — ARS BALTICA – TRIENNALE DER PHOTOKUNST. Helsinki-Berlin.
• 1998 — Kaliningrad – Koenigsberg, the Fifth International Biennial of Graphics in the Baltic States, Kaliningrad.
• 1998 — Baltic Photography School established in St.-Petersburg with active participation of Z. Kolovsky. The Baltic Photo School is a unique educational structure for young photographers allowing them to learn from the experience of well known international and national masters through a series of lectures and practical seminars.
1996 Becomes Director of the Contemporary Art Project Curators School in St.-Petersburg. One of the many educational programs of the School is Use of Information Systems and Internet Resources for the Preparation and Implementation of Contemporary Art Projects (1999). School graduates take part in a number of outstanding projects including Yellow Movement, the exhibition of Vladimir Zagorov in the State Russian Museum (1997).
2002 Appointed Director of the National Centre of Photography established in St.-Petersburg. Meanwhile, Zakhar Kolovsky continues his art practice. The artworks by Zakhar Kolovsky are part of the collections of the State Russian Museum and the Latvian National Museum of Art. He considers the most important of his series the following:
2001– 2002 Windows
2005–2007 Naval Architecture
2010 Emergency Ascent
Urban Landscape. Personal exhibition. Latvian Museum of Photography, Riga
Urban Landscape. A-YA Society, Saint-Petersburg
Alexandra Mitlyanskaya was born in Moscow in 1958.
In 1981, she graduated from the Faculty of Arts of the Moscow Polygraphic Institute. From 1989 on, she is a member of the Moscow Union of Artists. In 1995, Alexandra received a scholarship from the Berlin Academy of Arts. She conducted workshops at the Tufts University, Harvard University, and Parsons School of Design (USA). Winner of the Now and After video art festival competition. Nominee of the Kandinsky Prize 2017.
During the past decade, A. Mitlyanskaya has been working mostly with video art. She has created films and multi-channel video installations in which time and its duration in human visual perception play the major part.
Works by A. Miltyanskaya were exhibited in solo exhibitions at the State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), Radischev State Art Museum in Saratov, State Museum and Exhibition Center ROPSHOTO (St. Petersburg), Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Khanty-Mansiysk State Art Gallery, ERA Foundation (Moscow), Spider&Mouse Gallery (Moscow), Krokin Gallery (Moscow).
Alexandra took part in a variety of group exhibitions both in Russia and abroad. Among them are: Results, 1995, Academy of Arts, Berlin, Germany; Abstraction in Russia. 20th century, 2001, Collage in Russia. 20th century, 2005, Adventures of a black square, 2007, Art about Art, 2009, St. Petersburg, Russia, Collage in Russia, 2003, State Pushkin Museum of Arts, Moscow, Russia; ART-Index, 2008, Latvian National Art Museum, Riga, Latvia; Day of Open Doors, 2009, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia; To See Sound, 2011, National Center for Contemporary Arts, Moscow, Russia; Walks around Moscow, 2012; Lalit Kali Academi, Delhi, India; Between Reality and Fantasy, 2015, Wooyang Museum of Contemporary Art, Gyeongju, Korea.
Works by Mitlyanskaya are held in collections of the State Hermitage, State Tretyakov Gallery, State Russian Museum, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, National Center for Contemporary Arts, State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSPHOTO, as well as in the collections of regional Russian museums and art galleries, and foreign institutions, such as Denver Museum of Contemporary Art (USA), Wooyang Museum of Contemporary Art (Korea), and Wilhelm Otten Kunstraum (Austria).
Lives and works in Moscow.
Video works by Moscow-based artist
Memories of the world’s ambiguity