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15 Feb 2011

Double Life by Olga Kisseleva at Gabarron Contemporary Art Museum, Valladolid

olga kisseleva / cube

Double Life by Olga Kisseleva
Gabarron Contemporary Art Museum


Feb 15 till Apr 25 2011 in the frame of Focus Russia program opening Feb 14th

Julio Cesar García Rodríguez

C/Rastrojo 1-A
47014 Valladolid

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Russian artist Olga Kisseleva creates her work in the same way as a scientist would approach their work in biology, geophysics or social science. She observes life and society, then follows a scientific process as she carefully detects a discrepancy, formulates her hypothesis and finds a solution. It is these solutions which are presented as films in her new project Double Life, created in collaboration with the Sorbonne's Laboratory of sociology and social sciences. The project seeks to understand and define the connection and relationship between a higher intellectualism and social status. She asks the question – 'Does our society really need artists and intellectuals?'

A serious, science-based approach to art makes Kisseleva akin to the Russian avant-garde artists, who always viewed their work as an intense experimental effort for the good of future mankind. Continuous deliberations on scientific sources impart primordial creative magic to her compositions. Her belief that artistic endeavor leads to progress also relates her to Russian avant-garde philosophy.

In fact, the video diptychs displayed at the exhibition deal with the artist's role and place in today's society. They demonstrate the environment of the future-already-come and discuss what reality should be considered true and what should be viewed as make-believe. It is important for a practicing artist to decide what is a passing inconvenience and what is immutable destiny. However, contemporary society, which lays down its own laws, makes it hard to answer the fundamental question, 'am I an artist or not?' The composition Life on sales makes it clear that today's society actually has little use for all those worthless intellectuals---artists, philosophers, and poets. Indeed, the activities of most artists make no sense for society because they do no tangible good that can be measured in physical terms. What makes the artist unique is that he lives by his own wits and makes the laws by which he lives and thinks. However, since these laws have no social support, the artist often becomes an outsider and has to look for other ways of subsistence and lead a parallel life in order to survive. He paints and works the register in a supermarket, devises a new choreography system or makes up sales charts in an office. Such a 'double life' not just lays bare the screwed-up priorities and double social standards, but raises the key question: who can be considered an artist, by whom, and on what grounds?
Kisseleva raises the problems of the artist's social integration to an international level. In the process of her artistic research, she experimentally finds that the futuristic gene of genius is hard to detect and, most importantly, is incompatible with the real state of affairs: society creates no conditions for its effective evolution. The avant-garde utopia, according to which every individual is a creator, becomes a double life and ends in failure. The marvelous society of intellectuals is doomed to fail under conditions of dominant market relations. The artist-researcher has to record this state of things monitor its dynamics and call intellectual revolution. There is few hope that society will change its 'optics': the only way is the individual who always has at least a minimum chance to take a different view of the world.

In the frame of Focus Russia program Olga Kisseleva invites Spanish artists to become co-author of one episode of the project Double Life, whose main characters combine creative activities with 'money-making' professions in everyday life. Each new episode of the project is a video-diptych consisting of a documentary material of the protagonist's life and an artistic endeavor, conceived by the co-author.
The first phase of the project is a discussion, which will be followed by the formation of an artistic group of the project's new co-authors.

Curated by Elga Wimmer & Julio Cesar García Rodríguez.
With the support of the the Russian Ministry of Culture, in the frame of Year Russia-Spain 2011.