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The family tree of Russian contemporary art. Lecture 9. Sasha Obukhova on Escape program

Lecture Cycle: The Family Tree of Russian Contemporary Art
21 August 2015


In 1999, the artists Valery Aizenberg, Anton Litvin, Bogdan Mamonov, and Liza Morozova joined together to create the group ESCAPE Program. That the participants belonged to different generations and trends in art did not prevent them from creating a coherent concept of teamwork in contemporary culture. The main idea of ESCAPE Program was resistance to the dictates of the institutions of contemporary art. The collective creativity of the ‘Escapists’ was based on their rejection of visuality in favor of non-spectacular but effective interventions into the art market. Creating situations instead of producing art goods, mimicking the rituals of the commercial gallery business instead of submissively participating in consumerism, communication with the audience instead of representation – all of this was the essence of ESCAPE Program’s activities on the Moscow art scene in the early 2000s. In 2005, ESCAPE Program represented Russia at the Venice Biennale. In the same year, the group effectively ceased to exist.



Sasha Obukhova is an art historian and Head of Garage Museum’s Research Department. She graduated from Moscow State University in 1992 and in 1993 studied at the Central European University (Prague). She has worked at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the State Tretyakov Gallery, and the National Center for Contemporary Art. In 2000 she was involved in a working group that curated a permanent exhibition for the Tretyakov Gallery: The Art of the Second Half of the XX Century. In 2004 she became a founding member and director of the Art Projects Fund, where she established ACRA (the Archive of Contemporary Russian Art). She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Kandinsky Prize. 

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