Tilda Publishing
8 June – 14 July 2024

Tilda Publishing
From June 8 to July 14, Bayt AlMamzar and Alisa Gallery present the exhibition Surreal: magic realism in animation and contemporary art featuring Soviet animation film and post-soviet video art, digital, paintings, installations, objects and works on paper. The participating animation directors are Priit Parn, Fyodor Khitruk, Andrey Khrzhanovsky, Yuri Norshtein, Robert Sahakyants accompanied by the artworks by Blue Noses, Diana Kapizova, Nikolay Koshelev, Alina Kugush, Katerina Lukina, Kirill Makarov, Kirill Mikhailin, Slava Nesterov, Diana Shliman.

Curatorial Statement:
Surreal reflects on political and cultural preconditions of Soviet and post-soviet time and space that have formed, if not a new language, but a new turn of what can be seen as a surrealist movement. The exhibition reflects on generational, contextual and plastic rhymes of artists of different genres and generations within the Soviet and Post-Soviet context.

In the artistic system of Soviet art there was a place where the grip of the state order was weakened. Certain works of Soviet animation and individual authors, such as Fyodor Khitruk, Andrei Khrzhanovsky, Yuri Norstein, were able to occupy a spot that did not fit into the construct of the state order of socialist propaganda. The cartoon, supposedly intended for children, actually hovered in the surreal space of fiction, fairy-tale and magical realism. This reality was not only a way to distance oneself from the airless and discoloured Soviet reality, it became a way of dialogue with the wider world that was closed to the Soviet person(and the Soviet artist).

Soviet animation refracted in the distorting mirror of their imagination. Isolation did not allow them the opportunity for open dialogue in the sealed space of the late Soviet Union. In the late eighties, images created by filmmakers gradually floated onto the screen; children watched cartoons on TV, and the distortion of this art form found its way to the public. These animations were not always intended merely for children’s entertainment, but created for liberation, for travel, for the imaginary journey of their creators. This artistic form suddenly constituted the main text of the cultural consumption of adults of that period and culturally and visually shaped an entire generation. This generation thought in romantic, unconventional terms and, as it turned out, was mentally stuck between the bleak Soviet reality and the abundant capitalism that would come a few years later. In this gap, in this pause between state order and complete freedom of consumption, suddenly incredible music was heard, prayers and pictures of floating dreams by artists who had absorbed the language and allegorical delicacy of their predecessors. The artists decided not to wake up and instead show us their dreams.

What else can be expected?

  • PUBLIC PROGRAM includes curatorial tours, public talks, family workshops and lectures, as well as film screenings.

  • SELLING: please contact Alisa Gallery to assist in facilitating the sale, if interested.

PUBLICATION: Bayt AlMamzar and Alisa Gallery is currently commissioning writers for the upcoming exhibition catalogue of the show, which will host exclusive interviews and essays. The production of the catalogue is open for submissions to the curatorial statement and is currently seeking funds through fundraising, grants and crowdsourcing. If you are interested, please get in touch.

Kirill Mikhailin, oil on canvas, 120х200 cm, 2022
Tilda Publishing
10 January - 9 February 2024
Tilda Publishing
Alisa Gallery presents the exhibition I Write Your Name delving into the theme of melancholy and the memories of nomads. The showcase explores the reasons behind our quest for journeys, our yearning, and what drives us to escape. Furthermore, it examines how we navigate our disconnection from places, people, and the past.

The exhibition will encompass diverse art forms including paintings, graphics, objects, sculptures, videos, and NFTs. These works will be contributed by artists represented by the curator-run gallery 2021 to 2023.

Each artist's inclusion revolves around their individual projects and the conceptual challenges they have set for themselves within their artistic practices. For instance, Kirill Makarov employs both painting and video games to explore the realms of information and disinformation in the post-truth era. Sofia Skidan develops the language of cyber shamanism, intertwining questions about the human body's role and image with the post-anthropocene landscape. Andrey Dmitrenko engages with memory by utilizing language poetry, finding avenues for his poems to materialize through objects. Textile works by Varvara Grankova focus on themes of love, hope, solidarity, and community. Diane Schliemann's sculptures delve into the feminine image and theme, contextualizing them within various historical and cultural lenses.

Despite their diverse mediums and conceptual frameworks, the exhibition's artists are united not only by the theme and generational overlaps, but also by a distinct, lyrical perception of the world. Their acute awareness of the world's imperfections drives them to take responsibility for its perception and harmonization, utilizing surrealistic approaches to artistic expression. The exhibition's title pays homage to a poem by French poet Paul Elouard, drawing attention to the powerful impulse that pervades contemporary art and stems from the origins of modern art.

Kirill Mikhailin, oil on canvas, 120х200 cm, 2022
Participating artists:

Varvara Grankova (b.1988, Moscow, currently based in Montenegro), specialises in the mediums of installation and performance as forms of artistic expression. Her artistic practice revolves around the exploration of human relationships, encompassing interactions between individuals, non-human entities, and the environment. Varvara Grankova examines the impact of historical and cultural contexts on contemporary relationships. In her recent work, she focuses on three significant themes: non-violence, feminism, and ecology.

Andrei Dmitrenko (b.1990, Vladivostok, currently based in Rastatt, Germany) is a multidisciplinary artist and a graduate of the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok and the Baza Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow. Andrei's artistic practice encompasses various mediums, including video, installations, photography, graphics, textiles, sculpture, and text. The artist often introduces a deliberate disconnect between their interventions and the original properties of archival materials, resulting in unexpected contrasts. Their artworks feature various techniques such as pressing, needle scratching, etching, and perforating. Drawing inspiration from Moscow's Romantic Conceptualism, the artist employs a poetic visual language in their creations.

Anton Gudkov (b.1987, Omsk, Russia, lives and works in Moscow) favours a variety of media and techniques, including abstract graphics, painting, collage, objects, and found materials. Gudkov's solo shows were held at the CCI Fabrika (Archive, Moscow, 2021), the 'Omsk Art' State Museum (Exercises in the White Room, 2018). He also participated in the Point of Entry group show alongside Alexander Verevkin and Sergey Taushanov at the SPHERE Contemporary Art Foundation (formerly Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin, Moscow, 2020) and the Nemoskva project (The Manege Central Exhibition Hall, St Petersburg, 2020).

Katerina Lukina (b. 1995, Mytishchi, Russia, currently based in London, UK) is a Moscow-based artist. Alumna of the Moscow University of Printing Arts, Department of Graphic Arts (2019). Lukina has participated in group shows at the ISSMAG gallery, the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, the ZDES na Taganke gallery, as well as in international exhibitions in China, Slovakia, Poland.

Kirill Makarov (b.1988, currently based in Paris, France) engages with diverse mediums, including painting and computer graphics. His artistic practice focuses on the exploration of game engines and the dynamics between humans, images, and machines. Through the use of various visual languages, Makarov constructs hybrid spaces where natural, artificial, and algorithmically generated elements coexist. These elements are subordinated to a digital function that preserves remnants of discarded impressions, subtle gestures, and past events. The aim is to evoke a sense of fragmented attention within the realm of machine 'care' concerning time and the reconstruction of experiences through digitally morphed objects.

Kirill Mikhailin (b.1992, Rostov-on-Don, currently based in Paris, France) is an interdisciplinary artist, and a graduate of the Baza Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Saint Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design, and Toulouse Academie of Fine Arts. His practice includes work with installations, objects, graphics, and painting.

Sofya Skidan (b. 1996, currently based in Bali, Indonesia) is a multidisciplinary artist who works with various mediums including installation, performance, sculpture, and video. Her artistic practice revolves around exploring different ways of perceiving the world as information. She ponders intuition and transformations, as well as engages in reflections on speculative history and the viewer's visionary experience. Sofya's work often takes the form of site-specific installations where artefacts of post-digital reality are juxtaposed with elements of a vanished natural landscape. She also incorporates Eastern spiritual practices alongside modern Western critical theory, offering a reflection on the contemporary issues we face today.

Diana Shliman (b.1986, Novorossiysk, based in Moscow) is a multidisciplinary artist, a graduate of the Krasnodar University of Culture and Arts and the Baza Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow. In her artistic practice, Diana explores the concept of the feminine through the lenses of dark ontologies and psychoanalysis. She works with various mediums including installation, ceramics, metal, painting, and sculpture.

Kirill Makarov, Oil on canvas, 120x110 cm, 2021
Tilda Publishing
8 May - 30 September 2024

Tilda Publishing
Alisa Gallery presents The online exhibition Unveiled by Kirill Makarov. The exhibition consists of eponymous video and NFT collection of short video artworks based on large research project Unveiled, dedicated to a consistent representation of war, digitalization and dissemination of information in the mass media during wartime, in conditions close to autocracy. The works will be available on NFT platform IOGINALITY.

The digital sculptures and video sequence presented at the exhibition are part of the archive of testimonies of military actions in Ukraine, based on documentation of situations taken from public media, video material shot by direct eyewitnesses and participants in the events and processed by computer modelling programs so as to restore/reconstruct in digital form the physical space in which this event took place, and assemled in a shape of virtual digital interactive space. The visual material for the project consists of a range of evidence in the public/open access, it is decomposed into a sequence of frames, which is then processed by three-dimensional modelling methods. The space is reconstructed with varying degrees of loss, depending on the quality of the footage, the amount of material, and the situation in which the person was at the time of shooting. The title of each fragment refers to the date it was taken or published in the media. Somehow it is the production of presence of the acts of violence and destruction, but equally, is an attempt to affect the way in which the reality of the war is mediated.

This method is made possible by the fact that these military actions, due to the widespread availability of personal means of photography and communication, are very well documented, compared with previous events of this kind, incomparably more viral and available live – both because of technological advances and the biased view of global media.

Oil on canvas, 54 x 57 сm, 2021
"Virtuality makes it possible to prototype social relationships and interactions, a kind of training for the real. At the same time, it immerses the user in the space of the imaginary, which he can perceive as safe, but this safety is illusory, – Kirill Makarov says, – […] the virtual environment it is limited by the written code, the will and imagination of the one who controlled its writing. But the illusion of limitless physical possibilities is appearing. One of the distinguishing characteristics of humans is their ability to radically empower and manipulate their environment with technical objects."

Within warfare, the soldier becomes a weapons system in which organic and inorganic, man and machine, are integrated to the point of complete interdependence, aiming to strengthen himself in order to unleash a contained inner malevolence, and give power in the form of domination. Violence, as Michel Wieviorka (2009) argues, tends to be the opposite of conflict; it closes the debate and "encourages rupture"

As Kirill Makarov claims media in a kind of reverse engineering transforms bodies within warfare into technically reproducible objects, to quote Guy Debord, "appeasing people with spectacle" and thereby depriving them of the ability to see. Not seeing one's place in the structure creates an alluring comfort zone, making this reassuring alienation a desirable state, not validating one's presence, not validating one's ability to be affected. This is an important property of technology, a necessary part of modern alienation: to pretend to be absent in order to deny the consequences of one's presence, actual and potential, and to consider only the desired consequences.

Kirill Makarov (b.1988 in Saint-Petersburg, Soviet Union, lives and works in Paris, France). Kirill works with various media, including painting and computer graphics, explores game engines, the emergence and production of relationships between humans, images and machines. By using different graphic languages, he creates hybrid spaces in which natural, artificial, algorithmically produced objects and actors coexist, subordinate to a function that digitally retains traces of discarded impressions, minor gestures and past events, trying to convey a sense of atomized attention in the space of machine «care» about time and reconstruction of experience in objects of digital


Oil on canvas, 24 х 18 сm, 2022
Tilda Publishing
15 June – 30 September 2023
Tilda Publishing
Alisa Gallery presents Sofya Skidan's latest NFT collection How can you describe the weirdness that is not assessed enough? p.2 consisting of 8 NFT video artworks which will be available on NFT platform IOGINALITY. The featuring new NFT videos perform an amalgam of nature found objects, man-made materials and portraying the choreography of the human body.

Sofya Skidan rethinks the realm of the sensorial referring to the study of magic, oriental religions, and technologies. Skidan's project ponders the interrelations between changing technologies and corporality as well as their consequences: the instability of the body, the erasure of the notion of a 'norm', the dilution of identity, the alienation of the virtual body – the avatar – from its physical counterpart.

The NFT centres on the multiplying avatars of a cybershaman, whose body is used as a form of incantation. The heroine's body either grows out of the landscape, or merges with it constantly changing and mutating, gathering in new configurations. yet she disintegrates and slips away. Only some elements return the viewers to the current moment of time, referring to the realness of this heroine. Otherwise, it is a virtual body, of numerous, imaginary, and unstable avatars, rather than a real person.An emerging, hybrid identity arises from Skidan's attempt to capture the elusive sensation of post contemporaneity.

Sofya Skidan (b. 1996, lives and works in Bali, Indonesia). She works with installation, performance, sculpture and video. Sofya explores ways of perceiving the world as information, questions about intuition and transformations, reflections on speculative history, and the spectator's visionary experience. Her work is a site-specific installation, in which artifacts of post-digital reality are combined with elements of a lost natural landscape, and Eastern spiritual practices with modern Western critical theory, reflecting the problems of our time. Tapping into the complexities of postcontemporary, Skidan raises questions around updated understandings of human and non-human identity within today's technogenic culture in the anthropocene.

Tilda Publishing

19 August – 13 November 2022
Tilda Publishing
On 19 August 2022 Andrey Dmitrenko's exhibition 'I am both the wound and the sword. I am a delicate flower that has broken through this steel' opens at Alisa Gallery's Cube.Moscow space. It will feature works on paper, prints, objects and sculptures. Curator and art critic Egor Sofronov has penned a piece about the exhibition that explores the poetry of corporality in contemporary art.

Is the body portrayable as a gendered unit? In a family-property-oriented society, rigid codes still regulate the acceptability of perception by divorcing the body that is permitted to procreate from its privacy and marginalisation, if not its secrets and dreams. In an ideal world it should not be an outlet for the latter, but a combination of the former – not primacy, but a right.

When conceiving the project in mid-2020, Vladivostok-native Dmitrenko drew inspiration from a modernist novel by Yukio Mishima, in which speech determined the shapes for creating a masculine body. Gymnastic discipline for the sake of bodily perfection was combined with literary introspection. In a similar fashion, these works were put together around a photoshoot for prints featuring the 'bear' type, right down to pierced nipples on the hirsute chest, that the public may recall from techno parties. However, this phallonarcissistic mirroring does not quite present the full picture: the artist depicts scattered glass beads of techniques developed over the years of research, from poetic wordsmithery to melancholic reminiscence. According to American art historian and critic Douglas Crimp*, ever since the AIDS epidemic, melancholia has been a significant poetic vehicle for queer art whose representatives Alisa Gallery is paying tribute to.

Paper, pigment print, 50.5 x 41 сm, 2022
Edition: 5+1

Recollection is looking for signs of the bygone, as if in a family archive, but retouched in a way that the retro-nostalgic does not interfere with novelty, and the private acquires an impersonal address. The tradition of reusing obsolete marks of history (jewellery boxes – for rebus sculptural miniatures, thick paper – for drawings) dates back to Soviet conceptualism and, more recently, to its assimilation by collage artists such as Yan Ginzburg who taught Dmitrenko while working on Closed Fish Exhibition. Reconstruction (2020). This figurativeness is revitalised by the mnemonic setting of artistic labour: the author was taught to sew and embroider by his mother and started using these feminine-coded handicrafts after reaching maturity; he noted glass beads when interacting with his father's fishing tackle work – Oedipal introspection complicates the gendered division of labour and introduces lyricism into it. As in the sentimental literature of the late 18th–early 19th century, depiction does not present a statement as it is, but hints at it inseparably from concealment, layers, curtains, staying-in-the-box, secrets, and tears concealed by an optical trick.

Andrey Dmitrenko (b. 1990, Vladivostok, Russia) is a contemporary artist, alumnus of the Far Eastern Federal University's Department of Graphic Design (2014) and the Baza Institute (2021). Dmitrenko's solo shows were held at the Zarya CCA and Arka Gallery (Vladivostok), FFTN (St Petersburg). Participated in the Embrace, Almost Envelop exhibition at Alisa Gallery alongside Kirill Mikhailin. Dmitrenko's works are featured in the collections of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and the Zarya Center for Contemporary Art, the Museum of the Far Eastern University, as well as in private collections. He lives and works between Moscow and Vladivostok.

*Douglas Crimp. Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2002.


Textile, beads, embroidery, metal chain, quartz, mixed media, 109 x 19 х 15 сm, 2020
Tilda Publishing
8 July – 14 August 2022
Tilda Publishing
On 8 July 2022, Varvara Grankova's solo show titled Flowers and Grass after a lyric from a song by the Soviet rock band Kino, launches at Alisa Gallery in the Cube.Moscow space.

Artist Varvara Grankova creates her works using unwanted and redundant clothing. In the run-up to the exhibition, Varvara set up a hub for collecting and sorting out garments that Ukrainian refugees might need. The project is an attempt to lend a helping hand to those who find themselves in dire straits and to create an occasion for compassion, solidarity, belonging and solace for those in Russia who are eager to help, to re-establish dialogue and unite both sides through inciting hope for the end of the war and human suffering.

'In the end, only flowers and grass will endure. But as long as we exist, we carry the memory of different people and stories of assistance and support.'

The upcycling process involves those who donate clothes and those who receive them, as well as the audience: the artist's practice comprises communication between different participants and their stories that are interwoven within the fabric of the project. Varvara attempts to forge these connections as part of the show, for which a clothing collection bank that will cater to charity and the future work itself was set up in the Cube.Moscow space on 8 June.

The artist has divided the articles into two categories: to be used in the installation and to be donated to Ukrainian refugees through the Lavka Radostey foundation and relevant Telegram channels.

Clothes can be donated at Cube.Moscow during opening hours from 8 June to 31 July.

You can also bring items to the artist in person, accompanied by your stories. Please schedule an appointment via Telegram (@aprilsleep).

Textile, 70 х 70 cm, 2022
Tilda Publishing
29 April – 12 June 2022
Tilda Publishing
The exhibition of Anton Gudkov's abstract works on paper, In the Shade of Shrubbery, opens at Alisa Gallery on 29 April.

Anton Gudkov creates his works in a distinct manner defined by the use of a rich associative array enhanced by the hatching technique, the linear nature of the drawing, and the fullness or outward emptiness of a single sheet of paper. Tweak each of these parameters in an artwork with a similar expressive background, and the quantitative effect will convert into a qualitative one. In the case of a drawing with a dense visual texture from the start, its transparency and complementary permeability of the image and the background come to the fore. A randomly broken line, which in a different context could pass for a 'squiggle', provides an experience of the richness of the graphic vernacular.

Graphics are characterised by inherent minimalism. A line, a stroke, a dot – ambiguous, multiple-meaning phenomena in their own way, they acquire a higher value in the virtual absence of any other means, with the only available ones put together using combinations of whatever is at hand. Occasionally, painting too can appear minimalist, but its minimalism is contradicted by its illusory nature, the texture of the paint and the sculptural quality of the pigments applied to the canvas. Installation is rendered excessive by the materials selected and the manual or machine labour used to assemble it.

With graphics, every step – that can be 'regarded as a dance' – has a meaning. It is in this unseen 'dance' that a single bush or entire hedgerows sprout from each of Gudkov's 'squiggles', and every single branch can strike out on its own, with many easily discernible nuances.

Paper, oil pastel, 30 х 20 cm, 2021
Boris Groys. Politics of Installation / Politics of Poetics. Ad Marginem Press, Moscow, 2012, p. 61–77 Even though graphics are tangible, and the paper that often serves as a canvas can survive the test of time, as evidenced by the wealth of national libraries and Kupferstichkabinett-like museums of the world, its physical presence is striking in its transience. Installation fences off its own exhibition space that comes with its built-in politics. Performance, even when not intended to be documented, builds everything around itself.

When portrayed in painting, an everyday object or a human figure insistently declares its presence and claims to be real. But when depicted as a graphic image, they embody an idea, a mental cast of their hypothetical existence. The life of objects at Gudkov's exhibition may indeed be taking place in the shade of shrubbery, but Gudkov the graphic artist does not suggest that the viewers immerse themselves in the image, as is the case with paintings and installations or video art. Graphic space is woven from conventions and techniques that the artist has no slightest intention to disguise. It does not represent the space of reality but rather a snippet of a memory of said reality. Life in the shade that didn't necessarily take place in this dimension.

Valery Ledenyov

Anton Gudkov (b.1987, Omsk, Russia) favours a variety of media and techniques, including abstract graphics, painting, collage, objects, and found materials. Gudkov's solo shows were held at the CCI Fabrika (Archive, Moscow, 2021), the 'Omsk Art' State Museum (Exercises in the White Room, 2018). He also participated in the Point of Entry group show alongside Alexander Verevkin and Sergey Taushanov at the SPHERE Contemporary Art Foundation (formerly Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin, Moscow, 2020) and the Nemoskva project (The Manege Central Exhibition Hall, St Petersburg, 2020).

1. Quote from a poem by Yana Tokareva from the On Russian Poetry series http://www.vavilon.ru/texts/tokareva1-2.html
2. Boris Groys. Politics of Installation / Politics of Poetics. Ad Marginem Press, Moscow, 2012, p. 61–77

Paper, oil pastel, watercolor, 84 х 60 cm, 2022
Tilda Publishing
26 February – 24 April 2022
Tilda Publishing
On 26 February, Ksenia Finogeeva's first solo show, INDOOR WARRIORS, opens at Alisa Gallery. The show will feature large-scale canvases depicting mixed martial art fighters.

By setting apart the 'substantial' and 'uninterpretable' as two opposite poles in art, American critic Susan Sontag ushered in an era of the 'flight from interpretation' in contemporary criticism. Sontag deems the approach when all that is obvious is pushed aside in search of a true meaning and latent content to be redundant. Abstract and pop art are replaced by 'mimetic practices''where there is no content, there is nothing to interpret', says Sontag.

However, Ksenia Finogeeva's art remains within the realm of visual tradition and is seemingly open for interpretation. What is her project about?

The mixed martial arts fighters the artist portrays on the huge canvases are all real-life lawyers, doctors, and managers. They refer to their circle as a fraternity, a gated community that exists outside of their real lives, completely inaccessible to their wives and children. Sounds like a great subject for social agenda projects that are in such high demand today. But social projects require a different degree of involvement both from the artist and from the participants, whilst the project presented to us lacks documentation in the form of interviews with participants, videos, or photos.

Canvas, acrylic paint, 140 х 130 cm, 2021
Ksenia is interested in human emotions but for this project she has chosen subjects that tend to be inordinately reserved. It would seem that we are looking at emotions manifested through the aggression of the fight, but Finogeeva's paintings contradict the declared brutality. The figures of the wrestlers cannot by any means be called portraits. On top of that, they all seem to remain in some kind of suspended somnambulistic state, their wrestling is static, and their eyes are either closed or completely absent.

Is this project about corporeality? But the artist is not a performer and does not work with body-related narratives, with a body as a medium. With her interest in the body purely formal, Ksenia is an observer. And perhaps her immediate observation is the most valuable feature of the project. The artist's toolkit is contrasted with an athlete's technique, and although in this case the body for an athlete is not the primary meaning in relation to their action (as may apply to bodybuilding), behind the 'obvious' the artist attempts to search for the 'true meaning': the natural, social and cultural space that constructs our corporeality.

Anna Romanova

Ksenia Finogeeva (b.1989, Crimea) is a Moscow-based visual artist working with painting and graphics. Alumna of the Moscow State Stroganov Academy of Design and Applied Arts, British Higher School of Art and Design and University of Hertfordshire (UK).

1. Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation and Other Essays, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1961

Canvas, acrylic paint, 140 х 140 cm, 2021
Tilda Publishing
Alexander Kiryakhno
27 January – 20 February 2022
Tilda Publishing
On 27 January, the Alisa Gallery in partnership with the Arka Gallery (Vladivostok) will present a solo exhibition by Alexander Kiryakhno in the main space of Cube.Moscow. Kiryakhno is known as one of the most mysterious artists of the Primorsky region and the originator of the Vladivostok aesthetic of eclecticism, sensuality and eroticism. The show will feature objects from different stages of the artist's career, starting from the 90s: paintings, works on paper, collages, assemblages, and fabrics.

From the early days of his practice, Alexander Kiryakhno did not fit into the paradigm of Soviet art and never aspired to meet its criteria. The artist continued to stay away from the mainstream in the post-Soviet decades: a household name in Vladivostok, his shows have nevertheless been few and far between. Curator and critic Andrei Erofeev believes this aloofness stems from his artist stance. While Vladivostok witnessed the clashes of conservatives with the 'agents' of the avant-garde, albeit, with a slightly simplified plot than in the capital, Andrei labels this confrontation as provincial and notes that Kiryakhno refused to play along. 'He was an outsider, an artist who did not fit the "Russian Standard." It was for this reason he could not be considered provincial. His mode of expression could not be called derivative when compared to the metropolitan style. […]'*

The image of the Primorsky region cultivated by Kiryakhno is devoid of any regional or social portraiture, it '[...] contains none of the usual high-rises, the communal housing projects or "Khrushchevki"; it leaves out the [...] prisoners of the gulag [...] and all the other telltale signs of Soviet cosmos. In their place are monuments and religious relics, which Kiryakhno found [...] resting on the altars of his neighbor's homes. These kinds of objects are not only to be observed in the prayer rooms of Buddhists, Shinto worshippers, animists, the Orthodox or cult members, but also in the dark corners of bedrooms, in children's "nooks," on women's boudoirs and bedside tables.' What was important to the artist was not the various belief systems of these cults, but rather the associated aesthetic of these intimate reliquaries, shadows cast by followers of various religions and cultures in the port city of Vladivostok.

Collage, mixed media, 87 x 73 cm
Scrutinising Kiryakhno's works, the critic compares them with 'Timur Novikov's "tapestries" or the "rags" of Konstantin Zvezdochetov, which also depicted the kitschy trappings of the boudoir. Other distant relations could be found in the assemblages of Daniel Spoerri, the "New Realists" and even Rauschenberg's brand of American Pop Art.' The scale of this comparison makes one wonder how, despite the absence of institutional and curatorial support and the lack of professional dialogue, the artist managed to build up a microcosm of his own and develop an artistic language to communicate with the rest of the world.

Alexander Ivanovich Kiryakhno (b. 1950, Novobureisky village, Amur Region) is a Vladivostok-based artist. An alumnus of the Vladivostok Art College (1978–1982). He has participated in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Busan (South Korea), the Zarya Center for Contemporary Art (Vladivostok, 2015), the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Moscow, 2017), as well as in the Netherlands and the USA. His works can be found in the collections of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the Artetage Museum of Modern Art (Vladivostok) and private collections in Russia and abroad.

*Hereinafter: quotes from the Rebels at the Edge: Contemporary Art in Vladivostok, 1960s–2010s exhibition catalogue [Maier Publishing, Moscow, 2016: p. 105–107; translation by Kate Sutton].

Tilda Publishing
15 January – 20 February 2022
Tilda Publishing
Alisa Gallery presents the first exhibition by Diana Romanovich, The Garden, on 15 January. The exclusion and expulsion of women become the leitmotif of the first chapter of the artist's substantial transmedia work, a retrospective and analysis of the oppression of women, starting with the Biblical story of the expulsion of Eve from the Garden of Eden.

The Garden's concept stems from the image of a tree burnt by a lightning strike, copied from a medieval manuscript dated c. 1430. The manuscript recounted the story of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The artist also recreates bits from illustrations by Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th-century nun and proto-feminist. Gothic shapes of the sculptures convey the fragility and morbidity of female nature. The red colour of the walls intensifies the feelings of agony and tension. The installation space imitates an altar, which every visitor without exception is invited to step into.

The curse that was put on Eve in the Book of Genesis becomes the first mention of a woman's communion with Satan and of her accusation for the humans' expulsion from Paradise. The Garden's narrative brings the repressed woman back from her 'eternal exile to the Dark Continent', perceived as an inculcated fear of the dark, instilled from an early age and internalised. According to Hélène Cixous, 'The Dark Continent is neither dark nor unexplorable. It is still unexplored only because we've been made to believe that it was too dark to be explorable.'

THE GARDEN (detail)
2021, ceramic, 40x160 cm
Through examining medieval artefacts in detail, the artist reimagines the concepts of witchcraft and sorcery as protoforms of an anti-capitalist rebellion and a symbolic protest against patriarchy and its power. By delving into various aspects of maternal duties, crossed out and wiped out cultural codes, the artist puts together her own artistic practice and develops strategies to resist the spiralling structures of capitalism.

Diana Romanovich (b. 1986) is a multidisciplinary artist from Novorossiysk, an alumna of Krasnodar University of Culture and Arts, student of the BAZA Institute of Contemporary art (2020–present). Currently based in Moscow.

In her practice, Romanovich examines femininity through the optics of dark ontologies and psychoanalysis. Her preferred media and techniques include installation, ceramics, metal, painting, and sculpture.

THE GARDEN (detail)
2021, ceramic, 40x160 cm
Tilda Publishing
2 December 2021 – 9 January 2022
Tilda Publishing
Alisa Gallery presents Sofya Skidan's solo exhibition based on the artist's new digital collages that combine fragments of landscape and sculpture snapshots taken by Skidan with paintings mapping her imaginary worlds. The exhibition also features new sculptures, an amalgam of nature found objects and man-made materials that gives rise to a new flexible language expressing a not-quite-human perception of reality.

The project features the works produced as the outcome of several years' research. Snapshots, scents and sculptures are linked by a lyrical thread made up of snippets of imaginary and/or real memories, 'which stick together but become tangible'.

Sofya Skidan says, 'These works see natural spaces and sculptures blend into photographs and morph back. I put these fragments together from droplets of billowing allure, continuity of space and attempts to lift the layer of vulnerability from the structure of memory. There is no homogeneity to my works, historical and individual memories mutate, causing natural landscapes, mystical phenomena, body parts, textures, casts and sculptures to juxtapose onto imaginary meta worlds. They may have never come into existence or are already transforming into the landscape of the closest magical, mystical and/or hypothetical future.'

Sofya Skidan's works invite the viewer to reflect on the memory of bodies that are not necessarily living, on their density and fatigue in new temporal registers, in which the present is controlled from the future, and, therefore, turns out to be the past that is beyond our touch.

2021, digital collage, dibond, edition 10+1, 50x37.5 cm
Sofya Skidan b. 1996 — Ukhta, Russia Lives and works in Moscow. She graduated from the Saint-Petersburg State University of Film and Television and Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia. Works with installation, performance, sculpture and video. She explores ways of perceiving the world as information, questions about intuition and transformations, reflections on speculative history, and the spectator's visionary experience. Her work is a site-specific installation, in which artifacts of post-digital reality are combined with elements of a lost natural landscape, and Eastern spiritual practices with modern Western critical theory, reflecting the problems of our time. Tapping into the complexities of postcontemporary, Skidan raises questions around updated understandings of human and non-human identity within today's technogenic culture in the anthropocene.

Sofya Skidan was awarded with scholarship within the program of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in support of emerging artists 2019/2020, is winner of Black Box residency in the Meyerhold center, 2019, was nominated for Kuryokhin prize in the Best Visual Art Project nomination, 2018. She participated in Porto Design Biennale 2021, festivals Rosbank Future Cities and Archstoyaniye, 2021, 6 and 7th Moscow Youth Biennal as well as exhibition in State Darvin Museum, Garage Museum, Moscow Museum for Modern Art, Multimedia Art Museum, CCA Tipography (Krasnodar).

2021, digital collage, dibond, edition 5+1, 75x120 cm
Tilda Publishing
15 October – 28 November 2021
Tilda Publishing
Katerina Lukina's works are densely populated with all sorts of imagery. Surrealistic characters, springing from either Dorothea Tanning's canvases or Andrei Khrzhanovsky's animation, pop up in the interiors or against the backdrop of mysterious and macabre landscapes resplendent in their fantasy power. They are scattered amidst abstract lines and spots, bringing to mind their possible prototypes in the avant-garde. The series, however, has nothing to do with the avant-garde – it portrays a concert at the Seeds Club, which is the title of both Lukina's first solo show and the series on display.

Every act of the concert comes across as whole and complete – and yet its meaning escapes the viewer. The artist leaves no hints as to what is going on on stage. Who exactly is Judy from the opening act? Who plays the out-of-tune piano in the Eleventh Act after 'her kidnapping' outlined in the Tenth Act? And who is the mysterious her, in the first place? The Seeds Club first appeared in Lukina's samizdat book Murashevsky House (2019), but the self-reference hardly adds to the comprehension of her new works.

The works from the Concert at the Seeds Club (2020–2021) series comprise multilayered reliefs on plywood or cross-cut reliefs, sometimes with added metal elements. The images, first created in digital format, were embodied using UV printing. The artist put the images together from scratch: Lukina shaped an abstract spot on the white screen, infused it with volume and colour and surrounded it with other images with no predetermined narrative (she never makes sketches of her future works), based purely on inspiration, immediate sensations and mood, which directed her towards different visual solutions.

2021, acrylic, UV print, multilayer plywood relief, 50x77 cm
None of the ideas and images that pop up in our mind's eye starts from scratch; they are built around the perceived reality, language and the established worldview. But Lukina refrains from deliberate citing of the trivialities and hidden gems of the global cultural archive. She elevates the subjective logic of sensations to the status of a method – not illustrating her private thoughts or stories but visualising Deleuze's idea of the artist as the creator of batches of new, not-yet-familiar sensations, which are folded into and which can be unfolded inside the work.

How is one supposed to look at works like these? How is one supposed to unravel these 'tangles of sensations' that, while having the appearance of being self-sufficient, complete, entitled acts, become phantoms of assumed meanings? And the specific details of each work, including the tags, only emphasise its permanent vanishing act. Perhaps the entire point is in the assembly and adhesive joints of the works, in the way the relief parts are attached to the plywood board and the image is fitted across several wooden surfaces etched with UV light, in the way the Concert acts are interspersed with these barely visible joints, like punctuation marks that give meaning to what has been said.

As the artist builds up her works from randomly selected fragments, they can be viewed in the same manner – by picking out minute details from the whole and 'unfolding' the image in any which way, by focusing on specific details or trying to grasp every act or the entire Concert as a whole. In his article on the politics of installation, Boris Groys defined art as 'a way of making hidden reality visible'. While Concert at the Seeds Club does not expose the hidden reality to the viewer, it indicates the very possibility of its existence without revealing its actual appearance, leaving a gap for what remains unsaid, does not manifest in speech and does not rise to the surface. It remains, in line with Groys's logic, 'a space of openness, disclosure, unconcealment' as opposed to the logic of exclusion that lurks behind the veneer of imaginary completeness and transparency of the current order of things.

Valery Ledenyov

Katerina Lukina (b. 1995, Mytishchi, Russia) is a Moscow-based artist. Alumna of the Moscow University of Printing Arts, Department of Graphic Arts (2019). Lukina has participated in group shows at the ISSMAG gallery, the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, the ZDES na Taganke gallery, as well as in international exhibitions in China, Slovakia, Poland.
Instagram: @lukiplotster

2020, acrylic, UV print, multilayer plywood relief, 50x77 cm
Tilda Publishing
9 July – 31 August of 2021
Tilda Publishing
Alisa Gallery presents the Embrace, Almost Envelop exhibition by Andrey Dmitrenko and Kirill Mikhailin. The artists, the former hailing from Vladivostok and the latter from Rostov-on-Don, are completing a two-year course at the Baza Institute and have already participated in group exhibitions, including the Closed Fish Exhibition. Reconstruction project. However, it is at the Alisa Gallery that they first appear in conversation. The exhibition introduces new artworks – works on paper and objects made from fabric, threads, metal, found materials. The works overlap, touching upon various aspects of corporality, vulnerability and safety.

Andrey Dmitrenko examines the properties of fabrics and embroidery. He makes small cuts embroidered with shiny beads and threads across large-scale blank canvases. The parallel between biological tissue and man-made fabric is perhaps one of the most common in fiber art and related practices since both skin and fabric's function is to cover, protect, embrace and envelop. In a similar fashion, he put together small sculptures using found objects and covered them in enamel, which erases the contours of the inner 'skeleton' and creates 'skin' around the original elements. These works aspire to unite the scattered parts into a single entity, yet hinting at the futility of this endeavour.

Kirill Mikhailin explores a different facet of enveloping. One of his works is a self-tensioning metal structure covered with adhesive mass that was inspired by bird traps. Once trapped in one of those, a living thing remains immobilized forever. The trap 'embraces', yet, unlike fabric that gently envelops the body, this particular kind of embrace and enveloping is extremely perilous. The sticky surface captures the traces of interactions with the object – touch prints, dust, organic matter. The artist is interested in the paradoxical state of the 'domesticated', trite, which offers neither safety nor shelter, and the contradiction of these premises gives way to anxiety.

Both the neat framing of the cuts in the body of the fabric and the collection of entropy traces are devoid of anguish and tension. In contrast to the art of the 90s, which constructed the image of the body's disintegration into components as a result of its weakness, imperfection, and disaster, the position of the artists in this exhibition is rather aloof and impassive. In our day and age, trauma as a personality-shaping event has been elevated to an absolute. However, Dmitrenko's 'wounds' on the surface of the fabric are as neutral as possible, not dramatic or richly decorated, whereas Mikhailin's traps and hooks become the tools of a collector not particularly concerned who or what gets caught in their net – they observe the catch with the curiosity of a naturalist (or a child?).

Curated by Adel Kim

Andrey Dmitrenko (b. 1990, Vladivostok) is a Moscow-based visual artist working with mixed media, comparing textures and characteristics of various materials. He creates fabrics, embroidery, works on paper and related media, as well as installations and video art. Participated in the Special Project of the VII Moscow International Biennale for Young Art. Dmitrenko's works are featured in the collections of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and the Zarya Center for Contemporary Art.

Kirill Mikhailin (b. 1992, Rostov-on-Don) is a Moscow-based interdisciplinary artist whose practices include installations, objects, works on paper and painting. Participated in the Special Project of the VII Moscow International Biennale for Young Art

Tilda Publishing
29 May – 2 July of 2021
Tilda Publishing
Alisa Gallery presents Fountains of Bachikistan by Julia Shafarostova. The exhibition will feature works on paper from the Projects for Non-Functional Fountains of Bachikistan series and the Drinking Fountain installation.

At the Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, artist Yulia Shafarostova presented a project about the ill-famed Muzykalny neighbourhood in Krasnodar, steeped in urban mythology. She transformed the run-down estate into the Bachikistan Khaganate that abounds in culture and infrastructure: it has a sought-after resort, a garden, and an artist residency.

The dichotomy of the structure devised by the artist manifests through pairs of opposites: barely equipped public spaces become a popular holiday destination; weed-ridden urban wastelands and abandoned construction sites turn into a lush sprawling garden; residential kitchen gatherings serve as an artist residency. One of the real-life objects that brings the fictional and the real together is a fountain from the artist's courtyard – a piece of urban decoration that has not been in use for a single day. Bachikistan's roads and courtyards are constantly flooded with rain and sewage, yet the fountain, a source of fresh water, persistently defies its purpose, becoming a symbol of meaningless and dubious luxury.

By directing her gaze at the fountain, Julia Shafarostova amplifies the existing contrasts. Every image becomes a junction for the absurd, opulent Middle Eastern form of fictional non-functional objects and meanings represented by Krasnodar's endemic flora – clover, dandelions, plum and apple trees – all those fruit and plants the artist habitually gathers when wandering the grounds of Bachikistan.

Julia Shafarostova (b. 1991, Krasnodar) creates installations, works on paper and photographs, exploring the themes of identity and myth-making. In her works, she puts a great emphasis on the local context and situations and translates them into universal and accessible narratives.

Studied at the Khmel and Sukhoveeva School of Photography (Krasnodar) and KICA (Krasnodar Institute of Contemporary Art). Member of the Businki Art Collective. Participated in the Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art (Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2020) and multiple group shows at the Typography Center for Contemporary Art (Krasnodar, 2018–2021).

Tilda Publishing
9 April – 21 May of 2021
Tilda Publishing
Alisa Gallery is pleased to announce the launch of the first Moscow solo exhibition by photographer Alexandra Demenkova, who explores the complex, hidden, and often unsightly themes and captures the day-to-day life outside metropolises, carrying on the tradition of humanistic photography.

The exhibition will feature Alexandra's photographs from the Russian Portfolio, Kola Peninsula, Ira and Shurochka and Baba Valya series. The artist worked on them for several years, taking long trips to a handful of villages, where she tried to capture the last vestiges of a disappearing way of life and build relationships with the remaining residents – who booze, toil away, care for their cattle or just live and love.

Demenkova's approach to shooting is considerate and worlds away from exploitation. The unhurried pace of work, sympathy and living side by side with the subjects of her photographs for days or even weeks are all key components of Alexandra's life/work, for which empathy and establishing a safe, trusting space are so crucial. Perhaps that is the reason why the fate of the artist has become closely intertwined with the lives of her protagonists, and why her camera lens naturally finds itself amid their intimate and day-to-day life, which might seem unattractive to us, but, regardless, appears to be filled with love, sexuality, hope, and inexplicable optimism.

'I remember seeing Baba Valya for the first time in July 2016 just outside the gate leading to her house. She came out hearing the car and thinking it must have been her nephews. She was followed by two goats, a black and a white, dogs, cats, geese, ducks, chickens – which all seemed to come out to meet me. Surrounded by them, she stood there listening to me, and there was only one thought ringing in my head – "This is it!"

That time I stayed with her for two weeks. I felt that – gradually – she, too, fell in love with me. She was upset when I first mentioned leaving and tried to persuade me to stay for a month. We agreed that I would be back in two months, in time for her to start ploughing the garden. Saying goodbye, we hugged and could not hold back tears. Since then, I have been visiting Baba Valya at the first opportunity, and she has become one of the closest people in the world to me.'

Alexandra Demenkova, 2019 г.

Tilda Publishing
2 March – 4 April of 2021
The brand-new Alisa gallery for contemporary art, established by art manager and curator Alisa Bagdonaite, is opening at the Cube Moscow space with the first personal exhibition of German Lavrovsky «Reborn». His projects builds and documents, using variety of media,
a relationship with a reborn doll: a 3d posthuman baby. Interacting with the doll, the artist explores questions of post gender reproduction, queer and feminist theories, bioengineering, and alternative configurations of family; and creates speculative practices of emancipatory coming into being.

The project is centered on the community of reborn doll enthusiasts. Reborn dolls are hyperrealistic baby dolls made from manufactured toys, and the process of their making is known as reborning. Reborning emerged in the 1990s and has given rise to an entire industry and a large community of reborners, who exchange tips on social media about taking care of the dolls and making them. The algorithm of care automatically launched through interaction with such commodified objects can act as a starting point for the reconfiguration of values commonly associated with infancy, motherhood, and family.

Reborn does not reside solely within the space of cyberfeminist theory, exploring technological infrastructures and the possibilities of subverting them, but also within the historical legacy of instruction and emancipation. The world's first experiments in offering sex education to pre-schoolers took place in the Soviet Union, at the experimental orphanage International Solidarity (1921–1925), where the curriculum was developed by psychoanalyst Vera Schmidt. One of the institution's tutors was Carl Jung's student Sabina Spielrein, who developed the idea of coming into being through the destruction of the norm, replacing the notion of the individuum with the "dividuum" (a non-unitary, constantly re-configurable subject), and studied the psyche through the physical. "During the process of procreation, two cells merge into one," Spielrein wrote in her Destruction as the Cause of Coming into Being (1912). "Each of the cells is destroyed as a unit, and from the product of this destruction new life emerges."

In the context of the educational practices developed at Vera Schmidt's orphanage, the reborn and the protocol of interaction with it trace alternative paths in our understanding of education, care, and coming into being through deconstruction and fluidity.

The exhibition is curated by Egor Sofronov.

3D printing, decomposable plastic, plaster, vaginal finger sex toy, computer-aided design, 2020
Tilda Publishing
5 – 26 of September 2021
Tilda Publishing
Anton Pashutkin's first show with Alisa Gallery, Tosha, further elaborates on the artist's original research into his subjective experience of gender and sexuality that started in 2020.

The paintings from the series build on individual memory and family history. The cinematic canvases are filled with movement towards pleasure: a heaving body, a turned shoulder, a tossed head, deformed limbs pushing against the edge of the painting. To convey the sensuality and tenderness of childhood photographs, which act as the foundation for the series, Anton Pashutkin makes use of classical compositions alluding to Renaissance and Baroque portraits, thus enhancing the sense of non-linear movement through time.

By offering the viewer access to a traumatic form of visual and spiritual ecstasy, the artist evokes memories of his own sensual experiences, a near-reverence for the passions and awareness of the body. His canvases, painted in bright colours, are dense and complex. Pashutkin breathes the air of visual decadence and polymorphic fetishism into conventional scenes from his childhood photographs and draws the viewer's attention to the tangible side of pleasure.

FINGER (detail)
Oil on canvas, 100 x 100 cm, 2021
Treating images on his canvases like bodies that are being pleasured, Pashutkin seems to convey the idea that sexuality has become a feature of the featureless universe. It is through the body and its sexual capacity that pleasure gets a chance to last. The reverse is also true – we have no pleasures other than bodily ones, there are no pleasures other than sexual ones. The only means of enjoyment that exists for us is through and of the body. Anton's works hint at the possibility of love beyond the narcissism of libidinal capitalism, and it is this love that allows one to stoop to desire – to reach out to another human being means to acknowledge one's wants and insufficiencies. The

impossibility of merging two bodies in the Real is defied in the language, in the Symbolic. If two can melt into one, enjoyment is ultimately possible. The artist has the power to name pleasure, to design and mould something new, which he passes on to us – from his own history of sexuality, gaining momentum and embodiment through the language of painting.

From the article 'Sexuality with Errors' by Ksenia Kononenko

Anton Pashutkin is a Moscow-based visual artist and painter, second-year student of the Baza Institute; has participated in a number of group exhibitions.

Ksenia Kononenko is a Lacanian psychoanalyst, poet and independent researcher; contributing author at the KRAPIVA Mag and F-Writing on Syg.ma; developed a game for the OPEN project of the Russian pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale.

Oil on canvas, 100 x 100 cm, 2021
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