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Vladimir Potapov: From Memory

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art, in collaboration with the Triumph gallery with the support of The Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin, presents Vladimir Potapov’s project From Memory, being the second exhibition of the Young Lions programme.

The display brings together paintings and installations bearing the fruit of the artist’s speculations on historical memory as the methodical and consistent obliteration of the past. Vladimir Potapov ponders the events that define our vision of the past. What he chooses as his starting point is a remarkable example of historical censorship, precisely, the Edict of Nantes (1598), the document committing to oblivion the events of the religious wars and prohibiting any further mention of them.

To elaborate the theme of ideological manipulations with historical facts, the artist resorts to a large-scale artwork Victory of Pskov, which has been in the collection of the Pskov Local History Museum for more than 40 years. Potapov’s series the Monument comprised of his miniature artworks deals with the history of Lenin’s busts, memorabilia, sculptures and monuments from the period of the Personality Cult to the present day. Another of his series entitled Within consists of the noticeboards covered with multiple layers of paint, which the staff of the housing services diligently applied year upon year. The images are created by means of scraping the surface so that ‘historical’ evidence should be discovered within the layered structure. The series is based on old family photos representing relatives, friends and schoolmates nobody remembers anymore. The Careen is yet another series revolving around the unreliability of our memories which tends to grow progressively misleading with time.

The artist shows the imperfection and relativity of historical memory. The facts that used to be seen as essential only yesterday are to be forcibly extracted from archives and forgotten on the following day. The resulting reality is not a genuine one but this fact is hardly possible to establish.


Date: July 9 - September 6, 2015
Venue: MMOMA, 9, Tverskoy blvd, MOSCOW, RUSSIA