"A Quadroon Woman",
installation."Viewing pad" exhibition, curators A. Erofeev, T. Volkova. "Central House of Artists", Moscow

The installation "A Quadroon Woman" presents a mini retrospection of ESCAPE reviewing some intervening results of the group work over the past 4 years.

The path traversed by the group over this time and the changes, which occurred in its creative work, are considered via the example of one ESCAPE participant Liza Morozova.

Her role, as that of the only woman in the group, is rather specific and even ambiguous: in early projects of the group she had to act as a mediator getting into personal contact with the spectator. Wide experience in the genre of performance (it should be mentioned that Liza Morozova is renowned for being one of the most remarkable performance artists on the Moscow artistic scene) allowed her to stay on the proscenium in most projects of the program while the rest of the participants preferred to remain in the shadow, thus she acted as a member and a character of the group at the same time. Meanwhile acting as a mediator Liza Morozova as if stops being a real author of the ESCAPE projects and turns into an art object taking the role of a typical fetish woman: she's being taken in a cart along the rails (the project "Everything You Could See…") or she is pedaling a cycling training machine "Casanova" (the project "Liza and the Dead"). In this respect Morozova's lot inside the ESCAPE group proves to be a typical lot of woman in the post-Soviet society.

However the image of a woman in the program activity gradually undergoes some dynamic changes. As a turning point here we can consider Liza Morozova's work "From the Floor onto the Table" (part of the project "Tracks of the Middle Class"). Final transformation occurs in one of the latest ESCAPE projects "Where the Wind Blows", in which regardless of seemingly firm traditions the main role was performed not by Liza, but by a professional stripper. Such metamorphosis signifies Morozova's initiation and gives her a new emancipated status.

Presenting the result of ESCAPE activity over 4 years, the installation "A Quadroon Woman" blends together aesthetic elements typical of the group creative work dated to different periods.

Thus originally the group activity traced to the aesthetics of apt-art (apartment art): first exhibitions were held in ESCAPE gallery which was at the same time an apartment and a studio of V. Ayzenberg. Paradoxicalness and at the same time efficacy of the apt-art strategy use were caused by application the principles worked out by the Moscow underground art in early 80-ies to the conditions of political freedom at the end of 90-ies. In this respect the installation "A Quadroon Woman" has some element of apt-art aesthetics since it depicts the only woman in the group as a "hearth keeper" according to the traditional mythology.

But contrary to the usual ESCAPE tactics of achieving new and rather personal relations with the spectator by showing its friendliness, being open and frank and creating situations where the distinction between contemplating the work of art and just having tea in the gallery was completely eliminated, this time the spectator is given a far from pleasant role of a guest witnessing a family row with glass breaking and pulling out (almost literary) foul linen (objects of previous installations).

Thus "A Quadroon Woman" represents an utmost expression and some logical end of another creative ESCAPE theme, i.e. problems and relations within the group, this theme was also employed as a strategy earlier in the group projects ("XI . IX", "Quartette" etc.) However, as everybody knows, it is the woman who always wins family rows.


The installation "A Quadroon Woman" represented a number of objects (such as a cycle training machine, a bathtub, a cart etc.) which were used in previous program projects and concerned Liza Morozova's image and activity within the group as well as symbolized the woman. The objects were in dynamic positions scattered disorderly around the exhibition hall. Composition center of the installation presented a sculpture set on a pedestal depicting in a realistic manner the main character of the project i.e. Liza Morozova a quadroon woman. (The name implies the idea of "blood" relation existing between this woman artist and the group and the fact that Liza's contribution to the group of four participants constitutes one fourth).

The installation also included a video monitor showing video performances of the group, which reflected social roles of each group member. The soundtrack for the project "A Quadroon Woman" consisted of prose extracts by V. Ayzenberg describing everyday life and routine within the group and relations between the group participants. A Speaker read these texts in a manner similar to the rap recitative thus creating some suspense, strain and a kind of "stuttering" effect.

The walls were covered with pictures displaying evidences of the quadroon woman's participation in previous group projects and with elucidative texts explaining origin of every exhibit and describing the quadroon woman's role concerning each of them.

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