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  • Exhibition and Gallery Talk: Sergei Eisenstein: Drawings 1931–1948

    Exhibition and Gallery Talk: Sergei Eisenstein: Drawings 1931–1948

    Alexander Gray Associates

    Exhibition: Sergei Eisenstein: Drawings 1931–1948
    January 7 – February 11, 2017

    Gallery talk: Joan Neuberger discusses Eisenstein’s drawings
    Saturday, January 14, 2017, 4:00 PM

    Alexander Gray Associates in collaboration with Matthew Stephenson presents a rare private collection of drawings by the Russian filmmaker and theorist, Sergei Eisenstein on view for the first time in the Americas. These sexually explicit drawings, completed between 1931–1948, span the period of his travels in Mexico and the United States in the 1930s until his death in Moscow in 1948.

    A renowned film director and film montage innovator, Eisenstein also wrote extensively and made upwards of 5,000 drawings throughout his life, including designs for film sets and storyboards. This group, however, reveals Eisenstein’s sexual imagination, in part informed by his own bisexuality as well as his considerable reading and travel. Arranged in groupings that demonstrate a diversity of content, the drawings on view are intimately scaled, mostly monochromatic, with flashes of colored pencil typically in red or blue.

    As historian Joan Neuberger notes, during his time in Mexico, “Eisenstein confirmed that drawing was no less important in his work as an artist than film-making and theory writing,” though it remains lesser-known. Many of his films are subtly subversive in his refusal to broadly prioritize propagandistic Soviet Realism over experimentation with camera techniques. In his “sex drawings,” Eisenstein engages in pointed institutional critiques, occasionally through the inclusion of Christian iconography and clergy members entwined in sexual acts that might be read as sacrilegious. He also illustrates figures engaged in intercourse in public spaces including the circus, nightclubs, and the streets. One red and black pencil drawing includes the text “Drag,” and features two figures in an environment that evokes a nightclub, likely in New York. One figure wearing a man’s suit appears to be reaching up the second figure’s dress as they recline on a sofa. Through his exploration of this content, Eisenstein constructs succinct and transgressive visual stories in a medium that was intentionally less public-facing than his films.

    Also present in many of these drawings are irreverent depictions of inter-species relations including: a scene of matadors and bulls engaged in oral sex, and a fornicating alligator and rabbit captioned “Fucking, according to the Best System.” These pairings highlight Eisenstein’s fascination with dualities, which he called the “unity of opposites,” as well as his interest in representing a broad range of behaviors and desires reflecting the Freudian topicality of their time. Eisenstein’s experiences in Hollywood are apparent in these drawings, in particular his interest in Walt Disney’s films, which he claimed were “the greatest contribution of the American people to art,” and which informed his sometimes cartoonish style demonstrated in a drawing of a nude man draped backwards over an expressively wide-eyed giraffe.

    After spending six months in California, Eisenstein traveled to Mexico to begin filming ¡Que Viva México!, an epic about the country’s history. He intended his trip to last three to four months; it lasted over a year. In 1946, Eisenstein wrote, “it was in Mexico that my drawing underwent an internal catharsis, striving for mathematical abstraction and purity of line. The effect was considerably enhanced when this abstract, ‘intellectualized’ line was used for drawing especially sensual relationships between human figures.” This interest in line and interplay of figures underscores his connection to the work of Mexican muralists including Diego Rivera, who Eisenstein first met in 1927, and whose work he greatly admired.

    The drawings on view have a rich history. When departing Mexico, Eisenstein was stopped, questioned and his luggage searched at the United States border where the drawings were nearly confiscated for their incendiary nature. Upon his return to Moscow at the height of Stalin’s rule he kept the explicit images hidden until his death in 1948. His widow, the writer and filmmaker Pera Atasheva, donated most of his graphic archive, with the exception of his sex drawings, to the Russian State Archives of Literature and Art in Moscow (RGALI). Atasheva entrusted the erotic drawings to Eisenstein’s close friend and collaborator, the famous Soviet cinematographer Andrei Moskvin, who protected the director’s reputation by keeping these drawings hidden. After Moskvin’s death in 1961, his widow safeguarded the drawings. In the late 1990s her heirs sold the drawings to the family of present owner. A quarter of the drawings were also donated to the permanent collection of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    Also on view to provide visual context and connection to Eisenstein’s cinematic practice is a continual projection of the 1979 edit of ¡Que Viva México!, Eisenstein’s unfinished film which he began filming in Mexico in 1931. The film footage was edited by various people and released without Eisenstein’s participation in 1933, 1934, 1939, 1940, and ultimately by his assistant director, Grigorii Alexandrov in 1979.

    About Matthew Stephenson
    Matthew Stephenson is a London based art dealer advising and representing artists and artist’s estates and assisting private collectors and institutions through the exhibition, acquisition and selling of 19th, 20th century and contemporary art.

    About Joan Neuberger
    Neuberger is Professor, Department of History, University of Texas at Austin.

    Click here for Press Inquires

    Alexander Gray Associates
    Alexander Gray Associates is a contemporary art gallery in New York. Through exhibitions, research, and artist representation, the Gallery spotlights artistic movements and artists who emerged in the mid- to late-Twentieth Century. Influential in cultural, social, and political spheres, these artists are notable for creating work that crosses geographic borders, generational contexts and artistic disciplines. Alexander Gray Associates is a member of the Art Dealers Association of America.

  • Exhibition: A Vibrant Field: Nature and Landscape in Soviet Nonconformist Art, 1970s-1980s

    Exhibition: A Vibrant Field: Nature and Landscape in Soviet Nonconformist Art, 1970s-1980s
    Mar 04, 2017 - Jul 31, 2017
    Zimmerli Art Museum
    Dodge Gallery (Lower Level)
    New Brunswick, NJ

    A Vibrant Field: Nature and Landscape in Soviet Nonconformist Art, 1960s-1980s is the first exhibition at the Zimmerli Art Museum to explore the wide range of meanings that the natural world held for unofficial artists in the Soviet Union. Drawn from the strengths of the Dodge Collection, the exhibition brings together works produced in the period between thaw and perestroika that challenged the link between nature, optimism, and progress, which socialist realist aesthetics had promoted. Approximately fifty objects across media are featured, including painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, and performance, by more than twenty-five artists and artist groups from the Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, and Ukraine. Despite the artists’ diverse backgrounds and creative approaches, together their works establish nature as a vibrant subject matter, push the boundaries of landscape as a genre, and limit the appropriation of landscape imagery in the name of socialist ideology. In turn, the status of nature in late socialism, and one’s individual or collective place within it, is explored as an open–and vital–question.

    A Vibrant Field assembles varied perspectives, vantage points, and orientations that underlie how one experiences nature, both in the physical sense of navigating nature as a real environment and in the conceptual sense of coming to know, describe, represent, or assign it with symbolic value. The exhibition is mapped along three principle zones of inquiry. The first, Visions, draws together work that takes to task the process of visualizing spaces in nature in order to elucidate, reimagine, or critique how humans relate to or inhabit them. In this section, particular attention is paid to works that highlight ecological concerns resulting from the exploitation of natural resources and rapid pursuit of industrialization in the Soviet Union. In Reflections, artists place less emphasis on the material landscapes in nature than on how they become a picture and the role of artistic convention, memory, and ideology in mediating this process. Finally, Encounters considers the emergence of land art and performance-based practices in nature in the 1970s and 1980s that provided a freer alternative to urban communality, ritual, and public space in the Soviet Union. Through their direct encounters with the land, artists in this section approach nature not only as a subject matter or a backdrop to their work, but in some cases as an actor or co-producer.

    Organized by Anna Rogulina, a Dodge-Lawrence Fellow at the Zimmerli and Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History at Rutgers, and SHERA member

    This exhibition is made possible by the Avenir Foundation Endowment Fund.

  • Exhibition: Vincent Hloznik: Between War and Dream

    Exhibition: Vincent Hloznik: Between War and Dream

    August 16 – September 16, 2016
    BBLA Gallery at National Bohemian Hall
    321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor, New York City
    Closing Reception: Thursday, September 15, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

    The exhibition Vincent Hložník: Between War and Dream features 20 Surrealist-inspired linocut prints by Slovak artist Vincent Hložník from the series Dreams (Sny) (1962) on loan from Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection at Hebrew Home at Riverdale. They represent a turning point in the artist’s career as his figurative motifs—always related to the exploration of the human condition—began to take on more symbolic and metaphorical meanings. Detached human limbs, monstrous figures assembled from eyes and teeth, the Angel of Death, and threatening flanks of silhouetted and stylized archaic warriors signal unspecified danger, while angles and voids create an instability that marks the very real threat of annihilation, whether from war or nuclear arms.

    Vincent Hložník (1919–1997) was a key figure in modern Slovak art as both a teacher and artist, and was responsible for establishing the Department of Graphic Art and Illustration at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava after joining the faculty in 1952.

    This event is organized by the Consulate General of Slovakia in New York, Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection at Hebrew Home at Riverdale, with support of BBLA.

    Viewing hours: Monday - Friday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    (Please note that BBLA’s exhibition space is occasionally closed for events. Call 212-988-1733 to verify access.)

  • ANN: Exhibition: Etching Out Dreams: Contemporary Slovak Prints by Dušan Kállay, Kamila Štanclová, and Katarína Vavrová

    Announcing a new exhibition this summer: “Etching Out Dreams: Contemporary Slovak Prints by Dušan Kállay, Kamila Štanclová, and Katarína Vavrová”

    Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection at Hebrew Home at Riverdale, in conjunction with KADS New York, is pleased to announce its latest exhibition: Etching Out Dreams: Contemporary Slovak Prints by Dušan Kállay, Kamila Štanclová, and Katarína Vavrová
    Elma and Milton A. Gilbert Pavilion Gallery at Hebrew Home at Riverdale July 27–October 23, 2016
    Reception and Collection Highlights Tour: Sunday, October 9, 2016, 1:30–3 p.m.

    Three contemporary award-winning Slovak artists will be featured, Dušan Kállay (b. 1948) and Kamila Štanclová (b. 1945)—both students of Slovak master Vincent Hložník (1919–1997)—and Katarína Vavrová (b. 1964), who studied with Hložník’s protégé Albín Brunovský (1935–1997). This exhibition will take place in conjunction with a separate showing of 20 linocut prints by Hložník from the Hebrew Home Art Collection, which will be on view in early September at the BBLA Gallery at Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street in Manhattan. Visit http://www.bohemianbenevolent.org/ for further information.

    The graphic arts have long played a pivotal role in the history of Slovak art, before, during and after the Communist era. Key characteristics of modern Slovak art include figuration, narrative, the influence of Surrealism and an underlying sense of fantasy alongside an incisive, subtle social critique.

    Kállay and Štanclová are both accomplished illustrators who have won multiple awards for book illustration, another tradition with a long, rich history in the Slovak graphic arts. Included in the exhibition are four etchings by Kállay, each rendered with meticulously fine lines and overlapping shapes that demonstrate his technical skill. Kállay often incorporates text into his prints, sometimes confusing the viewer as to which way is up and which down. The works contain an exquisite type of chaos, full of movement and shapes that suggest storylines, rather than depict a literal narrative.

    Štanclová utilizes patterns and figurative motifs in her prints to explore evolving compositions and meanings. Rather than the traditional process of creating a drawing in advance of preparing an etching plate, Štanclová begins by drawing directly onto the plate, continuously developing and changing the image. She considers this process to be a diary that documents her artistic progress. Her etching Dances with the Wolves (2012), demonstrates her technique of repetition, trial, and error, as she uses the repeated shape of a paperclip to fill part of the space and to create complex layers.

    Vavrová’s painterly etchings reflect her background as both a painter and printmaker. Her exquisitely delicate prints evoke a sense of quietude and human pathos, suggesting different emotional states and interpersonal relationships through the use of color and symbols. These dreamlike symbols appear in the background in the form of trees, birds, and other animals, highlighted with sparing dashes of color that contribute to the atmospheric mood of each work. Kállay, Štanclová, and Vavrová all graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava where the graphic arts department was founded by Vincent Hložník in 1952. Known for his humanistic themes, strong imagery, and clever use of spatial relationships in his prints, he reflected on the human condition and war. Hložník left an indelible mark on the next generation of Slovak graphic artists, perhaps most notably Albín Brunovský, who succeeded Hložník at the Academy and received international acclaim for his work.

    KADS New York is a fine art print dealership with consulting practice based in New York City specializing in modern and contemporary Central and Eastern European fine art prints, offering collectors a wide range of prints created by renowned as well as emerging artists using traditional and non-traditional printmaking techniques. For more information, visit their website.

    As a member of the American Alliance of Museums, Hebrew Home at Riverdale by RiverSpring Health is committed to publicly exhibiting its art collection throughout its 32-acre campus including the Derfner Judaica Museum and a sculpture garden overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. The Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection provide educational and cultural programming for residents of the Hebrew Home, their families and the general public from throughout New York City, its surrounding suburbs and visitors from elsewhere. Hebrew Home is a nonprofit, non-sectarian geriatric organization serving more than 12,000 elderly persons in greater New York through its resources and community service programs. Museum hours: Sunday–Thursday, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Art Collection and grounds open daily, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Call 718-581-1596 for holiday hours and to schedule group tours, or for further information please visit the Hebrew Home website.

    This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

  • Exhibition: Making Continuity Contemporary: Eastern Europe in New York

    Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection at Hebrew Home at Riverdale is pleased to announce its latest exhibition:
    Making Continuity Contemporary: Eastern Europe in New York
    Elma and Milton A. Gilbert Pavilion Gallery
    March 13–July 17, 2016**

    This exhibition featuring work by eight artists originally from Eastern Europe addresses themes of personal history, geographical dislocation, identity, and intellectual freedom. In different ways, each artist explores the disruptions and continuities in their cultural backgrounds, whether through pictorial abstraction, participatory projects, auditory or written language, or conceptual reinterpretation of cultural symbols. Their mediums also range widely and include hand-drawn animation and audio, chemigrams, painting, mixed media, photography, sculpture, and installation.

    Maryna Bilak, a Ukrainian artist originally from the Carpathian mountains, came to the U.S. to study art at the New York Studio School in 2012. Using her knowledge of traditional Ukrainian textile motifs, she incorporates these patterns into 3-dimensional paintings in which she manipulates color and shape by folding canvas and in multimedia installations in which she assembles hand-painted stones.

    Alina and Jeff Bliumis’s series “Casual Conversations in Brooklyn” (2007) engages questions of how cultural experiences and identities intersect. The photographers spent a day in Brighton Beach—home to a large Jewish and Russian-speaking community—and offered passersby the opportunity to choose from three different signs featuring the words “Russian,” “Jewish,” and “American,” or to create their own. On view are a selection of subjects photographed holding the signs they chose—sometimes more than two—to represent their cultural identity. Alina and Jeff Bliumis were born in Belarus and Moldova, respectively.

    Yevgenia Nayberg, who grew up in Kiev, Ukraine, is represented by the painting “Bird Dictionary” (2011), a rumination on the process of learning a new language. Phrases in Cyrillic text are incorporated into the work, labeled as ordinary things: “regular person,” “regular landscape,” and “standard moon.” However, the reality is the opposite, and the work touches on the idea that learning a new language is strange and surreal for non-speakers. The artist also pays homage to Suprematism in another work on view, a triptych entitled “Happy Man Series” (2013).

    Bulgarian-born artist Eva Nikolova references Balkan architecture in her hand-drawn animation and chemigrams—paintings on light sensitive paper—that construct narratives about memory and personal dislocation. In the animation “Zemya Zemya” (2008), the iconic architectural form of the Orthodox Christian church is seen through a series of free-associative events, leaving interpretation of the narrative up to the viewer. According to the artist, the title is a doubling of the Bulgarian word for earth, land, or ground and refers to the signage on rockets designating the missile type—ground-to-ground or surface-to-surface. The architectural images in Nikolova’s works function as cultural emblems—whether intact or seemingly dilapidated—and explore shifting identities.

    Acclaimed illustrator Peter Sís’s work using the motif of wings references themes of freedom and liberation. In two illustrations from his adaptation of “The Conference of the Birds” (2011)—a 12th century Persian epic poem published by The Penguin Press—a surrealistic flock of birds in the shape of an eye that spreads across a richly colored surface, one blue, one yellow, demonstrates the process of journeying. Sís emigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia in 1982.

    Diana Shpungin’s “You Will Remember This” (2011) is a hand-drawn animation derived from video footage of her father recorded several months before his death. In it he recounts anecdotes about life in Soviet Latvia, including the tale of acquiring his first car and the black market culture of the USSR in the late 1950s.

    Leonard Ursachi’s drawings of bunkers and a maquette for “Fat Boy”—a large sculpture on view in Prospect Park in Brooklyn—engage what the artist describes as “the bunker mentality.” Ursachi’s native Romania is dotted with bunkers abandoned after the Soviet period—symbols that instill a sense of fear and the unknown. He defected from the country in 1980.

    As a member of the American Alliance of Museums, Hebrew Home at Riverdale by RiverSpring Health is committed to publicly exhibiting its art collection throughout its 32-acre campus including the Derfner Judaica Museum and a sculpture garden overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. The Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection provide educational and cultural programming for residents of the Hebrew Home, their families and the general public from throughout New York City, its surrounding suburbs and visitors from elsewhere. Hebrew Home is a nonprofit, non-sectarian geriatric organization serving more than 12,000 elderly persons in greater New York through its resources and community service programs.

    Museum hours: Sunday–Thursday, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
    Art Collection and grounds open daily, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
    Call 718-581-1596 for holiday hours and to schedule group tours.
    Further information please visit our website

    Full catalogue available online: [https://artathhar.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/making-continuity-contemporary-eastern-europe-in-new-york/}(https://artathhar.wordpress.com/2016/03/17/making-continuity-contemporary-eastern-europe-in-new-york/)

    This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

  • Exhibition: Cyfest NYC: Patterns of the Mind (and related events), Pratt Institute, Brooklyn

    CYFEST NYC: PATTERNS OF THE MIND

    Digital networks provide the traditional means of communicating within a new borderless set of parameters,creating a whole new structure of collective consciousness where dynamic, self-assembling tribes can unify instantaneously. Enabled by digital catalysts, society has gone from local to national and from national to transnational tribal behavior and congregation.

    In this post-post-modern epoch, what defines one’s place in the virtual and the physical world is the ability to communicate convincingly reality or fantasy. Medium matters, but only up to a point, as a conduit for the message.

    CYFEST NYC: Patterns of the Mind enquires into the primacy and power of a creator’s message, in which any medium is only the tool used to carry it across.

    CYFEST NYC: PROGRAMMING

    EXHIBITION “Patterns of the Mind”
    Feb 6 – Mar 3, 2016 Mon to Fri 9am-5pm; Sat noon-5pm @ The Rubelle and Norman Schafler Gallery, Pratt Brooklyn Campus 200 Willoughby Ave (G or C train to Clinton-Washington)

    Curator: Anna Frants (read Curatorial text) Artwork by: Justin Berry, Peter Belyi, Svjetlana Bukvich, Alexandra Dementieva, Marianna Ellenberg, Carla Gannis, Elena Gubanova / Ivan Govorkov, Pavel Ivanov, Peter Patchen, Vitaly Pushnitsky, Alexander Terebenin, Alyona Tereshko, The Window / Romanian Project, Bryan Zanisnik, Alexey Grachev and Sergey Komarov.

    PANEL DISCUSSIONS “Digital Tribalism in Contemporary Art”
    Feb 6 (2pm – 3:30pm) @ Pratt Digital Arts Department 536 Myrtle Ave, 4th Fl (G train to Classon or Clinton-Washington)

    Moderator: Anna Frants (artist and Founder / CYLAND, CYFEST) Panelists: Alexandra Dementieva (artist), Carla Gannis (artist and Assistant Chair, Dept of Digital Arts / Pratt Institute), Natasha Kurchanova (Art Historian / Eastern European Art Critics Society), Lev Manovich (Professor / CUNY Graduate Center), Peter Patchen (artist and Chair, Dept of Digital Arts / Pratt Institute)

    Cutting edge technology has made possible global communication and created a “digital tribalism” phenomenon – in which artists band together not on geographical grounds, but by interests. Historically, cultural tribes have formed among people sharing ideas, observations, and views in proximity to each other. As the world grew a virtual parallel, networks now connect like-minded members regardless of location. This panel will explore the transition of self-assembled, dynamic network structures from tangible roots to digital reality.

    “Infrastructural Aesthetics”
    Feb 6 (11:30am – 1pm) @ Pratt Digital Arts Department 536 Myrtle Ave, 4th Fl (G train to Classon or Clinton-Washington)

    Moderator: Tyler Coburn (artist and Assistant Professor, Dept of Photography / Pratt Institute) Panelists: Ian Hatcher (poet), Shannon Mattern (Associate Professor of Media Studies / The New School), Nicole Starosielski (Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication / NYU), Lance Wakeling (Filmmaker)

    In modern times, “Infrastructure” departs from its conventional definition by becoming a relational field that various agents can potentially influence. Recently art has explored a wide range of sophisticated (often covert) systems, from military black sites to the electromagnetic signals that suffuse our everyday life. Culturally, these artworks speak to the broader concern of contemporary“infrastructure” – a term geographers Steven Graham and Simon Marvin attest doesn’t just describe what “runs ‘underneath’,” but comprises the “multiple, overlapping and perhaps contradictory” arrangements of politics, technology and economy. Drawing on their work in Media Studies, poetry, and film – panelists will inquire into how art can engage with systems that rarely have singular forms, but concatenate physical, immaterial and a signifying processes.

    “Redefining Women in Technology:Tools, Agency, and Representation”
    Feb 6 (3:30pm – 5pm) @ Pratt Digital Arts Department 536 Myrtle Ave, 4th Fl (G train to Classon or Clinton-Washington)

    Moderator: Faith Holland Panelists: Seung Min Lee (artist), Mendi Obadike (artist and Assistant Professor, Dept of Media Studies / Pratt Institute), Martha Wilson (artist and Director / Franklin Furnace, Associate Professor / Pratt Institute)

    In a reality where technology is not new but constantly evolving, multiple generations of artistshave developed approaches to various media. Panelist Martha Wilson was an early adopter ofvideo technology as a way to document her performances that challenge the constraints offemininity. Panelist Seung Min-Lee’s work uses live performances and installation to reflect ourvaried relationships to technologized food across races and classes. A discussion on how womencan mobilize digital media toward political and artistic agendas – this panel will explore the wayfemales, as an intersectional group, can deploy technology to create new pathways to agency and (self-)representation.

    PERFORMANCE “Subjectivization of Sound”
    Feb 6 (6:30pm) @ Digital Arts Gallery, 536 Myrtle Ave, 4th Fl (G train to Classon or Clinton-Washington)

    Artists: Alexey Grachev and Sergey Komarov (CYLAND MediaArtLab)

    There are two technologies of sound synthesis: digital and analog. If we are to forego serial solutions for any given synthesizer, we can find an infinite number of options for creation of sound forms, from simple oscillators to complex generative algorithms. The path of the authors is the ambition to achieve a sound minimalism and a continuity of creative process during the creation of musical compositions and forms where the choice comes down to the subjective tendency of each one to a certain sounding.

    For more information, see http://cyland.org/lab/the-9th-cyberfest-continues-at-pratt-institute-in-february-2016/

  • Exhibition: Nostalgia by Pavel Romaniko at the Harriman Institute

    Exhibition at the Harriman Institute: Nostalgia by Pavel Romaniko

    Friday, January 29, 2016 to Thursday, March 10, 2016 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Harriman Institute Atrium (420 West 118th Street, 12th Floor)

    Pavel Romaniko was born in Pereslavl – Zalessky, near Moscow, in 1980. He received his MFA in Imaging Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology. The artist works with photographs, video and sculpture to explore gaps in the archive and the collective memory, relying on imagery and symbolism found in both the public realm and his own memory. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and collections, including Rovinj Photodays Festival in Croatia, Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago, Mimi Ferzt Gallery in New York, and the Art Center of Orange Coast College in California. Romaniko divides his time between New York City and Lowell, MA where he is a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts.

    In the early part of the 20th century politicians, activists and artists in Communist Russia were involved in an act of building a Soviet myth, creating a new space-time continuum, while violently eradicating the past by erasing facts from history texts, documents, photographs, and from people’s consciousness. In the process, new histories were fabricated, thus creating a new order, new collective memory turning an entire country and its many cultures into exiles in their own land. In the years since, Vladimir Nabokov’s exploration of nostalgia and reflections on exile, and Ilya Kabakov’s reconstruction of the past, to name a few examples, are all part of a ritualistic return, an obsessive homecoming and anxious preservation of memory. Nostalgia in the work of these artists is palpable and real and has great impact on constructs of cultural memories. They do, however, remind us that the images produced and circulated within a culture need to be carefully examined. Perhaps, when remnants of history are scattered all over with no sign of provenance, they have no ability to tell a story of their own but can only remain in a form of melancholic nostalgia.

    From Mimi Ferzt Gallery, New York:

    The work from Romaniko’s project titled “Nostalgia” commenced in 2008. “Nostalgia” consists of photographs of miniature paper versions of Russian interiors. The artist describes this project as “a reflection on the topic of exile, home and the relationship with one’s past and belonging.” Romaniko manifests his curiosity and the desire to conserve history through the precise reconstruction of the modest yet so precious details of a Russian household or office. Devoid of human presence, Romaniko’s interiors bear an almost palpable air of uncertainty and the urge for change emblematic of Russian social and political landscape. “Kitchen” (2009, pigment print on archival paper) documents the Soviet residential experiment known as the communal apartment. The artist deliberately eschews the haphazard dynamics of communal cooking, allowing the viewer to reflect upon the peculiarities of communal living, both intimate and public. “Work Desk” (2008, pigment print on archival paper) is the artist’s tribute to Russia’s ominous past, with Joseph Stalin’s portrait hovering over a vintage piece of furniture, with paperwork scattered on the floor.

    Exhibit viewing hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm, (1/29-3/10)