"XI.IX"
L-gallery, Moscow


The exhibition was devoted to a half-anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001. The members of the program consider this day to be a starting-point of the third millenium.


Valeriy Ayzenberg, a creator of the ESCAPE, is the only representative of Moscow actual art scene, who happened to be a direct witness of the tragedy. It gave the ESCAPE members moral right to speak about the tragedy in the first person.



However, at the same time, the project is devoted not as much to the American catastrophe, as to the problem of communication. It's quite obvious that the terrorists' weapons were not only the aircrafts but also mass media that multiplied the aftermath of the explosion in the millions of images. How to stop the total pressing of mass communications multiplying the peoples' tragedy? How to brake away from this endless informational flow? - these are the questions that the Escapists raise before the viewer.





Description: The exhibition presented all actual genres of modern art: installation, commixes, photography, video and the performance of Liza Morozova.

The exposition included three structural and contentual layers.

   1. Macrolevel - reflected the layer of real political events, featured in mass media: huge posters representing newspapers of 11.09.01, records of radio broadcasts of 11.09.01.

   2. Middle level - reflected the level of real life at the other end of the world, parallel to the world where the tragedy had happened. It is presented through the comics portraying the members of the program, who were absorbed with a discussion of the latest exhibition. They have steeped in their artistic everyday life and petty squabbles.

   3. Microlevel - reflects the life of a Moscow homeless dog that is far from the problems of the mankind. It is represented through the documentation of photo and video-performance of the artists of the group, who were tracing this dog for the whole day (Anton Litvin) and tried to communicate with it (Liza Morozova wrote a personal letter to the dog on a chunk of sausage).

A separate important part of the exposition is a commix panel depicting absurd images of various America's characters, flying in some airplane. There Mickey Mouse meets George Bush Jr. while the "Taliban" turns into a rock-band. The exposition also included slide projection of the sky at sunset (at the gallery entrance).

In the course of her performance on the opening day Liza Morozova was writing and eating self-addressed notes of a diary nature.


At the participation of Julia Ovchinnikova and with the support of "Art projects" Foundation


Press:

Art is not a newspaper article, even if one of the exhibits is a fragment of newspaper sheet having been enlarged to the size of a curtain, and the exhibition itself has quite a "newspaper" reason. That's why the installation in the L-Gallery, devoted to the half-year "anniversary" of the tragedy of September 11, tries to avoid the factual side of the case, limiting it to this giant newspaper page chosen at random and two photographs of the exploding Twin Towers of the same size. The rest is the denial of logical description of events, which defy logical description.


The revision of the cynical rules of mass media is one of the objectives of the "XI. IX" exhibition. An ink drawing covering the whole wall, made by Bogdan Mamonov, a member of the ESCAPE art-program, is done quite in the manner of an American comics. Being inhabited by Bin Laden and George Bush Jr. together with the typical characters of comics it is a challenge to the rules of gutter press and halfpenny comics. It's a comics that has got mad, a comics that exploded along with the skyscrapers of the World Trade Center. A of set of mixed characters is represented inside a flying plane, but they are trying hard to get beyond it. And also beyond the drawing space.

Meanwhile, there is one more quasi comics by Mr. Mamonov, that is "disciplined" and factographically true. A drawing and a text conveying a telephone talk between the author and another ESCAPE member - Valeriy Ayzenberg - who happened to be in New York that September. But the artists discuss everything but the things that the viewer is expecting to hear from them. A pathological normality of the speech camouflages the psychological shock, a gaping laps of consciousness.

If the consciousness fails, it is replaced by the subconsciousness, as in the comics with an overcrowded plane. If the newspaperese is useless and cynical - the metaphor comes. As in the case with photo- and video-performance of Bogdan Mamonov, Anton Litvin and Liza Morozova, which is the major part of the exhibition. The three imitated the atmosphere of total and absurd fear, hunting after a homeless dog for the whole day. To be more precise, merely following it and photographing each step. (On the screen, barring the hall entrance, you can see Anton Litvinov, constantly following the dog with his camera and along the whole perimeter of the L-Gallery hall there stretches a frieze made of these pictures.) Curiously enough, the dog felt that it was being followed, and the photographs conveyed its emotions. These emotions were to some extent similar to the emotions of Americans who lost peace in their own country.

Anyway, another man's soul is always dark, and neither journalism, nor art can see anything in it. Thought art is able to get closer to it. The first hall - empty and dark - the hall of the installation with the endless flow of inarticulate records of American radio news broadcasts, brought by Mr. Ayzenberg, is perhaps the literal metaphor of this darkness. With the constant buzz in the head - of horror, commotion and stress. At the same time, this "radiobuzz" is a surrender of mass media, enacted by the artists; it is a disclamation of their own absolute power and knowing-all. Being helpless in the face of the sudden emptiness.

The "XI. IX" exhibition begins with a slide - an image of a blue sky projected on the wall. The sky, that was recently shut in by the Twin Towers.

Weekly Journal, 19.03. 2002, p. 68
XI. IX. , an Installation by the ESCAPE program
Alexander Panov (Fyodor Romer)














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