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Toward the Source


From 1 February 2017 to 23 April 2017




East Gallery

Toward the Source is the first initiative at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art to invite artists to conduct research in Garage Archive Collection and make a new work—or a new interpretation of the archive materials—in response to their discoveries.

Five intergenerational practitioners with varying creative interests have each spent eight months exploring a collection from Garage Archive Collection that they found compelling, which in turn has led to further research that both expands and deepens the specificities of each particular item under scrutiny. Traditionally, artists—particularly those involved in the underground art scene in the Soviet Union—have been some of the key figures to establish and build archives, but to draw on an institutional archive for research is a new departure. Addressing the issue of subjectivity that underpins aural histories and personal accounts, this exhibition bridges the gap between past and present, with artists offering a contemporary perspective on the legacies of their collective histories.

Olga Chernysheva (b. 1962, Moscow. Lives and works in Moscow) focused on Leonid Talochkin’s archive collection. Vyacheslav Kuritsyn (b. 1965, Novosibirsk. Lives and works in Ekaterinburg and Moscow) focused on the press collection of art articles and cuttings from the Russian newspapers of 1900s–1920s. Vladimir Logutov (b. 1980, Samara. Lives and works in Samara and Moscow) focused on the Art Projects Foundation collection. Andrei Monastyrsky (b. 1949, Petsamo, Murmansk region. Lives and works in Moscow) focused on Igor Makarevich’s archive collection. Kirill Savchenkov (b. 1987, Moscow. Lives and works in Moscow) focused on the library collection, the Art Projects Foundation collection, and Garage video archive.

Garage Archive Collection is the largest public archive in Russia dedicated to the research of Russian contemporary art from the 1950s through to the present. Established in 2012 and in continuous development, it currently comprises twenty archives totaling over 400,000 items from galleries, artists, collectors, and curators. Containing important material that underpins the development of what was once known as “unofficial” art in Russia and the subsequent growth of Russian contemporary art, the Archive Collection includes articles published by local and foreign media from the late 1970s to the present day; a stills library consisting of exhibition documentation, portraits of artists, and reproductions of their works from 1960 to 2010; video documentaries related to performances and exhibitions in Moscow from 1985; and a corpus of texts written by artists from the 1960s through the 1990s, as well as unpublished critical articles, artists’ biographies, press releases, catalogues, and other materials from exhibitions (1985–2013).

Toward the Source coincides with the first Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, the largest-ever survey of art produced across the country. Through these two exhibitions that introduce Russian artists to international audiences, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art intends to draw attention to the people creating the art scene in Russia now.

Toward the Source is curated by Kate Fowle, Garage Chief Curator, in collaboration with Sasha Obukhova, Garage Archive Curator. 

Public program
This public program offers a series of meetings with the artists-participants of the exhibition Toward the Source, “one-work talks” by Garage Teens Team, film screenings at Garage Auditorium, special tours of Garage Archive for visitors with developmental and learning difficulties, and a discussion club for blind and visually impaired visitors.

The program offers visitors the opportunity to become acquainted with the value of archive as a source of new artistic practices, a reference point for a new understanding of history, and a dialogue with the past.

Participants of the exhibition Toward the Source — Olga Chernysheva, Vyacheslav Kuritsyn, Vladimir Logutov, Andrei Monastyrsky, Kirill Savchenkov—will talk about a new understanding of history; Andrei Monastyrsky and Sasha Obuchova will discuss video archiving as an artistic practice; Vyacheslav Kuritsyn will talk about journalism in the 1990s; and Vladimir Logutov will show the creative method of reconstructing exhibitions as his favorite form of working with art objects and the exhibition space.

Garage Teens Team will be inviting visitors to talk about the exhibition during their guided tours. Members of the Teens Team will also meet with Vyacheslav Kuritsyn and discuss the value of articles in Russian newspapers from 1900 to 1920 to understand the history of art criticism of the previous century.

Garage Screen, a program of film screenings will include video footage from Garage Archive of actions carried out by the Collective Actions group, and events at the gallery in Trekhprudny Lane

Tours of the Archive Collection are available for visitors with developmental and learning difficulties. Participants will adopt the role of young researchers, who work with the archival documents. The program also includes group discussions for blind and visually impaired visitors. Participants will have a unique opportunity to visit the archives of the Museum and discuss with members of the scientific department the process of interaction between artists and archival documents.


Public talk: The letter as an artifact of modernity

Can a private story captured on paper become a living voice of our time? How can an archive document give new artistic meanings to the past? Olga Chernysheva and Lev Snegirev, two artists featured in the exhibition Toward the Source, discuss the role of letters in documenting history.


Thursday, February 9
Garage Auditorium

Here we’ve put together materials to help you get ready for a visit to the Museum or to take a deep dive into the current programs at Garage.