"Win/Lose", Liza Morozova, ESCAPE gallery, Moscow


What does it mean to win or to lose in the contemporary art? What does it mean to win or to lose in life? To win?/To lose? For someone it is one and the same and for the other these are two absolutely unrelated to each other questions.

So, we'd write them with a slash "win/lose".

These questions logically and naturally arise in the life of a person and in the creative life of an artist on the definite stage, when a certain leg of way has been accomplished, some success achieved and it is necessary to make the choice to make the next step.

Concerning Liza Morozova, whose first personal exhibition opened in the ESCAPE gallery, it may be admitted that the motif of the internal and external success, marginality, appears soon after she had reflexed on her learning experience and on belonging to her first artistic society - "Emergency Exit" group from Tsarskoe Selo. As some sort of summary of almost five years of work with the ESCAPE group, crowned this year with deserved success, came the first big award at a most established art-festival (Workshops of Art Moscow), and the following series of engagements to take part in massive projects. Finally - the exposition on the "Viewing Pad", where the group had to cast a retrospective look upon itself.

And here, as a matter of fact, the ESCAPE saw its own history as the history of Liza Morozova's reincarnations in the projects of the group - and that's a sign. And the last publication of the artist ("Art Journal" #50), devoted to the school of Yury Sobolev, Morozova's teacher and guru, also seems a sign.

Thus, both for the artist herself and for the entire ESCAPE project, Liza Morozova's exhibition became the logic ending of some inner cycle and looked as a summary. As a sign of transition to a new state.

However, "Win/lose", didn't outline a sharp change in the language of the former Liza Morozova's projects. We see the same polysemy, the minimalism of gesture, autobiographicalism typical for Liza and remarkably free synthesis of techniques.

Numerous objects - mainly edible - are photographed so that the feeling of uncountable quantity is created. In each photo this quantity includes an object that is cognate to the whole mass, but visually different from its components. That is, outstanding from the mass. Among the dirty potatoes there is one clean-washed, in the cluster of black grapes - there is one white grape, in the string bag with eggs - there is one boiled and shelled…

As it turned out to be, the metaphor win/lose is conventional enough. Above other things, the story of a "white crow" is visible here. (In case you don't see anything but the photographs.) But Liza Morozova involves the viewers into some actioning (that becomes an organic whole for each particular viewer - with the beginning, climax, denouement and even an intrigue) and adds a video-installation to the exposition. All this breaks down the binary univocacy of the photographic images.

And what does exist except good luck/bad luck? Let's take Stalker, a man with a supersensible psychological apparatus - did he win or lose? Having got what the others haven't got, from their point of view he has rather lost than won. His gift looks like a punishment, the sign of loss. Actually, the point isn't this. The outsider exists out of the scale "win?/lose?", he just provokes the two (the winner and the looser) to think about the meaning and significance of their own status (win/lose).

Why Stalker? The installation itself brings about associations with the texture of Tarkovsky's films. The image of an old faucet, projected to the wall, the sound of dripping - is a meditative texture resembling the poor in coloring, as though monochrome, space of the screen adaptation of the "Picnic". And the water, and the monotonous sound give here the image of the same - not endless, but limitless - time of a human life, that flows in the same measured and irreversible way, that the film does.

The floor of the gallery is scattered with the "Sprint" duckets. You may pick up any. While doing this you may succumb to temptation and wish luck for yourself, opening it. It is in vain: even if you win the prize - it's impossible to get it. The same as it is impossible to win.

The question is - are there any losers in this case? And the next - is there a point in asking this question?

Maybe we should just live. In art. Being a white grape. And when the people considering themselves winners or losers will go past you - let them see that "the only one" is the category where no distinctions work any more.

Andrew Kudryashov "Moscow Art Magazine " #54, 2004.

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