Self-Love Among the Ruins

Self-Love Among the Ruins, Любовь среди руин

Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow
November 13th–December 14th, 2018
Curator: Ekaterina Inozemtseva

“Ruins lie” Ivan Chechot

Ruin—as a space served as the point of departure for Alexandra Paperno when she prepared this project and is the central idea underpinning the exhibition as a whole. A ruin not only represents a place that is disappearing or has disappeared, but also constitutes a key image for culture in the modern period. It has become a symbol of our clustered past, a melancholy and yearning for the “golden age”, have articulated and cultivated the aesthetics of gradual decline, and virtually become the main background for European painters from the 17th to 19th centuries. By the 20th century the charm of a ruin and ruins as an idea have not gone anywhere. However, the actual concept of a ruin and the specific “ruined” state applied not so much to architecture as to major ideological and political projects and more broadly to culture, which has fallen apart on numerous occasions, only to be reassembled anew. And Paperno is working in particular with this cultural context, namely situations where culture and civilization have suddenly been transformed into an arbitrary set of strange rules and codes, whose meaning was lost a long time ago. She seeks such moments of rupture in relations and presents them with her own inimitable tenderness and irony, drawing on various artistic media.

The name of the exhibition borrowed from Bruce Chatwin is the working title of one of his essays, which plays on the widespread cliche of Victorian culture (Robert Browning’s poem Love Among the Ruins, the picture of the same name by Sir Edward Colely Buren-Jones). Self-love has been virtually the underlying framework of artistic activity adopted in the modern era. Self-love is transformed repeatedly and consequently the need for self-expression, driven by the narcissistic desire to be seen and evaluated, has been the driving force of the artistic process for centuries. Self-Love Among the Ruins represents such self-expression squared, improvisation on the topic of the main motifs, genesis and driver of painting in classical understanding of the word and is also an attempt at an ironic review of the self-determination of the artist working to some extent as the nanos gigantum humeris insidentes (dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants).

Exhibition views by Anastasia Soboleva and Alexey Narodizkiy


[ММОМА Журнал ДИ] Александра Паперно. «Любовь к себе среди руин»
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