Magazine article Artforum International

Victor Alimpiev: STUDIO LA CITTA

Magazine article Artforum International

Victor Alimpiev: STUDIO LA CITTA

Article excerpt

Two screens, one very large, one average in size, were in two different rooms, although both were at least partly visible from a single position. On them the same scene was running, but unsynchronized--or so we might at first have thought. In fact, the footage shown on the two channels was not identical, but both screens showed the same four young women guiding a small group of people up a short ramp; their movement is extremely slow, almost imperceptible, and they hold red banners, stirred by a light breeze, while the protagonist makes small, insignificant gestures. The sequence lasts about thirty minutes. This is To Trample Down an Arable Land, 2009, by Russian artist Victor Alimpiev, which was recently exhibited at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, UK, as well as in this year's Moscow Biennial, but was conceived in this "split" format specifically for its presentation in Verona.

With this work, the artist continues his investigation into personal relationships between individuals. In the same show, for example, one could also see My Breath, 2007, in which two women sing a song in Russian about breathing. Yet there were also pieces that connoted a collective, historical, even universal action: In To Trample Down an Arable Land, for instance, the sense of intimacy, the attention to the individual in relation to the group, seems less important than in Alimpiev's earlier work. For a Russian artist to depict young men and women looking straight ahead while holding red banners that flutter in the wind is inevitably to evoke the monumental rhetoric of socialist realism in the days of the Soviet Union, or the allegorical May Day parades in Red Square; and the work's title seems to confirm this interpretation. …

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