Exhibition "Zverev and Chirik" by Bogdan
Zverevsky Centre of Modern Art.
exhibition is a part of some projects which include in the program
ESCAPE. That projects are connected with an attempt of going over
the history of art ( "The Dead & Alive", "Liza and the Dead").
If earlier art critics put famous artist in whose honor named
Zverevsky center Anatoly Zverev in one line with Pollok or Van
Gog that now Bogdan Mamonov tried to represent him as a one of
the first russian performance artists. Anatoly Zverev established
in the sixties a radical "invisible art" and using the phrase
of Zverev where said: "Guy, Art - it is you, you are living -
you are art". (This phrase has become motto for the work of the
In as much as Zverev is keen on football and even affirms that
his painting appeared owing to this game, the opening day looked
like a football match in the course of which Bogdan Mamonov was
playing with enthusiasm with spectators.The second hero of the
exhibition has become famous football player of the eiteenth Fedor
Cherenkov (Chirick) and also Zverev marked off by the "sacred
madness" of the genius.
Mamonov's exhibition "Zverev and Chirik" that took place
in Zverev Centre of Modern Art, surprises with virtuose freedom
of artist who draws former cult but currently not interesting
characters out of "history naphthaline and actualises them
using the original plastic and conceptual approach. Sheets of
paper, framed in red, with Zverev's sayings (for example, his
famous "Guy, art is you, you are living - you are art"),
photocopies of his graphics, fixed along the gallery walls, looked
rather impressive and even stylish. The exhibition space was skilfully
turned into soccer playing-field, where the author of the project
dressed in a sports uniform was enthusiastically playing soccer
with the visitors.
This exhibition is one of the projects carried out within the
framework of the ESCAPE program and is an attempt of going over
the history of art. ("The dead and Alive", "Liza
and the Dead").
What is the cause of this maniacal desire to rewrite the past?
Maybe it happens because the actual artist finds the legitimacy
of his activity not in the works of masters of "brush and
chisel", but in the crazy performances of the great eccentric
names of history, whose actions entered the culture, but couldn't
be marked and interpreted, remaining a sort of white spots.
are living in a situation, where the former single cultural context
has broken down and a new one is forming spontaneously. The basis
of it is in the past for it is the only matter that bounds the
fragments of the present that fall apart.
Bogdam Mamonov was always taking interest in the issues of power,
which has its prerogative right for rewriting the history, for
manipulating with the past. This was the subject of the "Kaligula"
project, and it is also the main theme of the exhibition "Zverev
To persuade the visitors that the drunkard-artist was actually
a radical leftist, a creator of Russian performance (even before
"Collective Actions" group!), range him not with Pollok
(what has already been done a number of times), but rather with
the Vienna's actionists, using the whole stock-in-trade - from
the visual presentation to a theoretical discourse, support his
own position with a direct speech of the character (aphorisms),
having broken nothing in it but at the same time having changed
the emphasis - these are the tasks successfully met by Bogdan
It's important to keep in mind, that it's not the exhibition of
Zverev or Chirik that is concerned: both of them are just the
characters of B. Mamonov's creation, no more than mythical heroes.
And in this case it doesn't matter if they lived ten or a thousand
years ago, and whether Mr. Zverev's paintings owe their appearance
to his devotion to football.
Another thing is more important: football as a branch of culture,
according to Mr. Mamonov, provokes the world's crowd to a most
drastic resistance to the civilisation, because no institution
or idea gives birth to such strong, at once absolutely total and
mindless violence, as football in the person of its fans.
A schizophrenic Fedor Cherenkov in the playing-field and a paranoiac
Anatoly Zverev, seized with the delusion of persecution, jumping
from one grandstand to another during the match - are the two
poles, that are an ideal metaphor of today's cultural rebellion.
The author of this project creates an image - the figure of the
artist who has created the radical "invisible art" and
has never been appreciated by critics or public.
The exhibition by Bogdan Mamonov was a success not only in the
context of the ESCXAPE project, but the whole Moscow's artistic
life. It produces an impression of spontaneity, facility of execution,
entirety and the expressiveness of the single artistic gesture.
Elena Kovilina "Art Journal" #37-38, 2001