Centro Pecci opens 'The Missing Planet: Visions and re-visions of Soviet Times'

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Centro Pecci opens 'The Missing Planet: Visions and re-visions of Soviet Times'
Anton Vidokle, Immortality For All: a film trilogy on Russian ​Cosmism, 2014-17. Still from the movie. Courtesy ​the artist.

PRATO.- The Missing Planet opens a new series of exhibitions that occur semi-annually, conceived by the director, Cristiana Perella and dedicated to developing the themes, time periods and languages of Centro Pecci’s collection, each time entrusting the curatorship of the exhibition to an invited expert under the guise of guest curator while supported by the head of collections and archives, Stefano Pezzato.

The curation of this first exhibition is entrusted to Marco Scotini, who started from the dozens of works in Centro Pecci’s collection, incorporating them with works from important collections and Italian and international institutes, to construct a ‘galaxy’ of principal artistic research results developed in the former Soviet republics, from Russia to the Baltic, Caucasian and central Asian provinces, from the 1970s to today. The original design of the exhibition has been done by the artist Can Altay. Linked to the show, there'll be also a program of Special events, curated by Camilla Mozzato, and a cinema program, curated by Luca Barni.

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent dissolution of the USSR, the question of how the world has changed throughout the decades without the radical alternative that the Soviets’ Country represented for seventy years cannot be avoided. Neither can the question of how the idea of time has changed in the dissolution of, if not History in general, then that history: modern, progressive, finite, and of the metanarratives. What then must have appeared as a new beginning, in fact, had little in the way of goals, since it would have meant the negation of the so-called East (of its values) in favour of a claim (expansion) of the West that, from that moment, would have been omnipresent and omnipotent. In the current cosmic space, in which the stars of ‘capitalism’ are free to move through their own orbits without pressure or friction from alien bodies, does it make sense to go back to the red planet? Does it make sense to wonder if a large chunk of time has now disappeared from the horizon or if, furthermore, it was never there – just like what history would want rewind from its past up until the October Revolution?

Thirty years have also passed from the first exhibition that the Centro Pecci dedicated promptly and in a pioneering way to the non-official soviet art scene, following the wave of Perestrojka. Contemporary Russian Artists (curated by Amnon Barzel and Claudia Jolles) in the Spring of 1990, testified to the euphoria of a crucial moment in progress and, at the same time and paradoxically, the fear of the future that was to come. Centro Pecci followed that first event immediately with another just as important one, which would have, on the contrary, affirmed the disillusionment of the Post-Soviet space with the processes of transition and integration into the West, once the latter had been transformed from myth into reality. Progressive Nostalgia (curated by Viktor Misiano) in the Summer of 2007, testified to another important factual moment in history: that of the financial capitalism crisis, of the dismantling of social rights and of the authoritarian turning point of liberalism, completely questioning the initial sense of optimism and recording discomfort in the face of the failure of the present.

The Missing Planet presents the current and last chapter of the great Post-Soviet trilogy at Centro Pecci in Prato and has no choice but to discuss a binary past: one of utopia on one side and memory on the other, starting from the works that remain from the two previous exhibitions. If Contemporary Russian Artists certified a turning point, with the opening to the East, and Progressive Nostalgia evoked a lost history, staging a sort of mourning or farewell, this new exhibition proposes an archaeological approach where ghosts and reality try to reckon with the "ruins of the future".

Nostalgia has to do with the ruins of what has passed; memory is at the centre of The Missing Planet, and, on the contrary, radically questions the principle of the irrevocability of the past. In an urgency that’s lacking in alternatives for contemporary reality, digging through time means letting the matrix of history emerge, allowing time to manifest itself in its potential, compared to what it could have been and was not. The intention of the new exhibition is therefore to act on time, but also "against time", in favour of time that has yet to happen. For this reason, suspended between metaphor and reality, the exhibition works on a cosmic and utopian imagination that has accompanied the Soviet Union saga, transforming the exhibition space of the museum into a Space Shuttle, inside of which Solaris by Andrei Tartovsky meets Once in the XX Century by Deimantas Narkevicius as well as Kunst camera by Sergei Volkov and Perestroika by Erik Bulatov.

Can Altay has been commissioned a special disposition for the exhibition The Missing Planet, building on his body of work on "setting a setting" and the recent display experiments (his recent works involved public collections such as VanAbbe Museum of Eindhoven and ARTER-VKV of Istanbul). His spatial instruments and architectural features provide the grounds for encountering the other artworks on display, as well as opening up the space of the museum. Incorporating gathering with artworks, the settings he designed for The Missing Planet compose an ecosystem, a network amongst things, stories, artistic positions, and the audience.

Altay investigates the functions, meaning, organisation and reconfigurations of public space. His settings generate communities of things and people in action, in movement, in encounter, in production, also engaging with questions of exhibition-making. His work build devices and spatial instruments that bring together works, orientate visitors for encountering those works. This commission of the Pecci Centre in Prato bring together these notions in the context of the Post-Soviet artistic practices and the conditions of composing a collection exhibition.

Artists: Vahram Aghasyan; Vyacheslav Akhunov; Said Atabekov; Babi Badalov; Ilya Budraitskis - Alexandra Galkina - David Ter-Oganjan; Erik Bulatov; Alexey Buldakov; Vajiko Cachkhiani; Olga Chernysheva; Chto Delat (What is to be done?); Ulan Djaparov; Factory of Found Clothes; Andrei Filippov; Alexandra Galkina - David Ter-Oganjan; Balbar Gombosuren; Andris Grinbergs; Dmitry Gutov; Alimjan Jorobaev; Ilya Kabakov; Flo Kasearu; Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev; Yakov Kazhdan; Anastasia Khoroshilova; Olga Kisseleva; Nikolaj Kozlov; Vladimir Kupryanov; Medical Hermeneutics; Jonas Mekas; Boris Mikhailov; Deimantas Narkevičius; Nikolay Oleynikov; Boris Orlov; Anatoly Osmolovsky; Perzi; Dmitry Prigov; Radek Community; Koka Ramishvili; R.E.P. Group; Andrei Roiter; Vladislav Shapovalov; Leonid Sokov; Andrey Tarkovsky; Leonid Tishkov; Jaan Toomik; Andrei Ujică; Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas; Anton Vidokle; Sergei Volkov; Yelena & Viktor Vorobyev; Arseny Zhilyaev; Konstantin Zvezdochotov

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