(b.1969, Norilsk, Arctic Circle)
'Disco-Nexion' (the remix) at Riflemaker, December 2007 - February 2008
The queues outside the Russian Pavillion at this summer's
Venice Biennale were caused in part by Andrey Bartenev's apocalyptic Disco-Nexion.
Bartenev's 'glass discotheque' depicts a lake of mirrored light spheres with
the words "connection lost" circling in endless orbit. A tiny heart planted
inside each one symbolizes the frustration that awaits us all in this world
of virtual and passive communication. The message endlessly reproduces itself
within it's virus-like blur; a whirl of letters and mirrors creating its own
new connective structure. This microcosmic dancefloor, on which the revellers
are almost touching yet still dance alone, becomes a metaphor for the alienation
of today's virtual, simulative communities. Disco-Nexion will be remixed
at Riflemaker from December 2007 through February 2008.
"Bartenev is the last word in freedom of expression. His work invites comparison
with that of Diaghilev and Meyerhold"
"If I weren't an artist, I would be a dancing pianist. When I'm not creating
art, I enjoy swimming in the pool at night. People who know me best might describe
me as a 'Russian from the moon'. They might be surprised to learn that I'm
from Venus. The best advice I ever received came from Paco Rabanne, he said: "Don't
be in a rush to leave". Andrey Bartenev, Moscow 2007
On Monday 14 January, artists, curators, writers and Russian
supermodels crowded into the lower gallery at Riflemaker to witness a unique
performance of MOUTH OFF! by Andre Bartenev. Accompanied by Sasha Fromolova
and her trio and various aides and abetters, Bartenev, constricted by having
his mouth removed by masking-tape, proceeded to list, helped by the audience,
the activities it would not be possible to do without a mouth. This at times
hilarious comment on censorship resulted in a roomful of statements - "He cannot
eat asparagus", "He cannot speak evil", "He cannot kiss Kieta . . ." "He cannot
irritate gallery staff!". After which, the congregation retired upstairs to
use their mouths by imbibing as many Black Russians as they could manage -
lovingly prepared by cocktailmeister, Dr Frank Cobra (MRSA)
The Mouth Off! installation remains at Riflemaker
until 28 February.