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