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

The ruin as a space served as the point of departure for Alexandra Paperno when she prepared this project and is the central idea of the exhibition as a whole. A ruin is not only a place that is disappearing or has disappeared, but is also a key image for culture in the modern period. It has become a symbol of the concentrated past, of melancholy and yearning for the ‘golden age’. It has articulated and cultivated the aesthetics of gradual decline and was perhaps the main background for European painters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the twentieth century the ruin and ruins as an idea retained their charm, but the concept of a ruin and the ‘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. Paperno is working specifically with this cultural context: situations where culture and civilisation have suddenly been transformed into an arbitrary set of strange rules and codes whose meaning has long since been lost. 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 is borrowed from Bruce Chatwin and is the working title of one of his essays, which plays on the common Victorian cliché (Robert Browning’s poem ‘Love Among the Ruins,’ the painting of the same name by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones). Self-love has been virtually the underlying framework of artistic activity in the modern era. Self-love – repeatedly transformed – and so also the need for self-expression, fuelled by the narcissistic desire to be seen and appreciated, has driven the artistic process for centuries. Self-Love Among the Ruins is self-expression squared, an improvisation on the main motifs, genesis and driving force of painting in the classical understanding of the word and also an attempt to reconceptualise artists as nanos gigantum humeris insidentes (dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants).

Exhibition views by Anastasia Soboleva and Alexey Narodizkiy

[Артгид] Александра Паперно: «Руина — это пространство, в котором прошлое не кончается»
[ММОМА Журнал ДИ] Александра Паперно. «Любовь к себе среди руин»
[Москвич Mag] Александра Паперно о Москве и о своей выставке «Любовь к себе среди руин»