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THE WORK OF ART – A PAINTING. Photo of the performance by Collective Actions (KD)


Nine (of 16 total) viewers were arranged in 9 positions along the side of a field with 40-meters’ intervals between each other. The viewers were prompted to stand facing the field, and the first of them (Barabanov) was given a working tape recorded (the soundtrack consisted of a fragment of recorded Kabakov’s report on the action “The third variant” – 1978). Repeated nine times, the recording was accompanied with an instruction: “Now, having listened to this record, wait for the ring, then approach the viewer in front of you and give him the tape recorder”. Text of the instruction was similar for both Barabanov and Zakharov. Anufriev, being the third, heard an addition after the instruction: “After passing the recorder to the next viewer, withdraw some 30-40 meters away to the field with those who have already listened to the record”. Thus, after passing the recorder to Kabakov (fourth position), Barabanov, Zakharov and Anufriev found themselevs in the field facing the rest of the audience. The Kabakov joined them after passing the recorder to Filippov (5th position), after Kabakov came Filippov, after Filippov came N.Osipova (6th position), after Osipova came A. Anikeev (7th position), after Anikeev came Bakshtein. Thus, eight viewers were standing in the field facing the last viewer – M. Ryklin (9th position), whose record instead of the instruction ended with a phrase “THE ARTWORK RESULT OF THIS ACTION IS THE GROUP OF VIEWERS STANDING IN FRONT OF YOU IN THE FIELD”.

Nine invited viewers, who joined seven other spectators, were invited to approach a painting by I Makarevich and M Konstantinova. This painting (130 x 180cm) was a copy of the slide-film taken during the ‘Third Variant’ performance. Prior to the arrival of the spectators the painting had been installed at the edge of the forest. It was situated adjacent to the 9th position (i.e. in a position just behind M Ryklin).

After that the audience received nine “pictures” which were represented by similar color photographs depicting a part of the audience of the action “The third variant” glued onto small geographical maps (Brazil – 2 pieces, Indo-China – 2 pieces, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Indonesia). As soon as the viewers were photographed against the picture’s background, the action ended for them.

However, before the very audience’s arrival deep in the field opposite the picture (some 200 meters away from it) V. Sokorin (unaware of the action’s plot) and A. Monastyrski occupied two air-beds and remained on them until the end of the action. Other viewers were unaware of their presence, as V. S. and A.M. were invisible from the audience’s position and only left the field after the audience’s withdrawal.

During their incumbency (which lasted for two hours) V. Sorokin and A. Monastyrski recorded the conversation.

Therefore, within the coordinates of the audience’s 3 positions (1 – free observers, 2 – nine acting viewers, 3 – V. Sorokin lying in the center of the field and invisible to the rest of the audience) supervision by one of the viewers (M. Ryklin) was performed (on the level of an esthetical act). This supervision could also be performed from the fourth viewer’s position, after Barabanov, Zakharov and Anufriev’s having moved away to the field passing the recorder to Kabakov, not as part of an “esthetical act” but on the mere basis of presence of a group of people in the field.

24th of October 1987

Moscow region, Savyolovskaya railway line, Kievgorodskoe field

A. Monastyrski, I. Makarevich, M. K, E. Elagina, G. Kizewalter, N. Panitkov, N. Kozlov

I. Kabakov, M. Ryklin, V. Sorokin, A. Alchuk, V. Zakharov, E. Barabanov, I. Bakstein, N. Kozlov, A. Anikeev, N.Osipova, A. Filippov, S. Anufriev, M.Chuikova, +3 persons

Vladimir Sorokin, Andrei Monastyrski