V–A–C Foundation and M HKA engage in a longer-term collaboration by supporting the work of contemporary Russian artists in a variety of way. V–A–C wants to enhance the presence of leading Russian artists, of different generations, in selected European museum collections. M HKA exhibits and collects works by artists from Russia and other countries of the former USSR. The museum focuses on ‘Eurasia’, thereby contributing to the geographic diversity of collecting and programming.

2017

Screen shot 2017 11 27 at 5.59.03 pm (c)image: Dimitri Venkov
Krisis, 2016
Video , 00:32:26
Single channel video

The video Krisis is a reenactment of a facebook discussion among Russian and Ukrainian artists, which took place in December 2013 upon the teardown of the statue of Lenin in Kiev during the early stages of the Maidan protests. The discussion unfolds at a pivoting point in modern history. In fact, it occurs at the very moment when History bursts into the scene as a force surpassing individual actors and dragging them into its course in an indefinite capacity somewhere between that of a witness and participant. Krisis should also be understood here as trial or judgment, where twelve jurors debate the meaning of the historical event but fail to pass a verdict. Just as with Pilate’s judgment of Jesus, the decision is not reached and the trial takes on ‘a continuous and implacable course, an incessant passing and progress through time’ (Agamben, Pilate and Jesus). The historical crisis is bound to last like trauma in psychoanalysis: separated from its original context, it reappears in pathological forms in every sphere and at every moment.

Structurally and thematically it is a remake of the Sidney Lumet film Twelve Angry Men. This classic is an idealized image of the American democracy based on inclusiveness. In the film Krisis the situation is reversed: although the characters belong to the same circle or community, their positions are irreconcilable and mutually exclusive thus making a compromise impossible. There is no way out of this argument but to split apart. The film Krisis plays out a metaphor of a society divided by history, politics, and aesthetics. New challenges further polarize it and augment its internal contradictions revealing a crisis as a state of imminent threat that the society presents for itself.