TOTART: Natalia Abalakova & Anatoly Zhigalov

АптАрт. Групповое фото Andrei Monastyrsky Sven Gundlakh Vladimir Sorokin Mikhail Roshal Genrikh Sapgir Yury Albert Vadim Zaharov Nikita Alexeev Nikita Alexeyev Sergey Mironenko Natalya Abalakova Anatolij Zhigalov Konstantin Zvezdochetov

APTART Show (I Aptart Exibition. 1982. October-November. Nikita Alekseev’s appartment. Moscow.)

Exposition of N. Abalakova & A.Zhigalov’s works (Total Art Action): “Cypress”. Object.

The “Flower Wake” performance end-product. 1980.

White Cube”. Object. The Ball of bandages.

The “White Cube” performance end-product. 1980.

Black Cube Ashes”. Object.


The “Black Cube” performance end-product. 1980.

Our Anthill. Phototable.

Supervisor Work” series. Texts. Photo. 1982.

Black Square

“Black Square”. Object. 1982.

“A Chair is not for You, a Chair is for Everyone”. A chair, Text. N.Abalakova.

Summa archaeologiae”. 9 collages.

Black Hole, Collage by N. Abalakova

"Black Hole", Collage by N. Abalakova, 1981

1980-1982. Book-Object.

1980-1982. Book-Object. 30 lists on 15 double-sided frames. 125х86.

Art belongs”. A slogan on the red material.

Art belongs”. 1982. Canvass, oil. 150x150.


This event is not an exhibition, and certainly not a private showing. This is an artist’s apartment, where several artists have gotten together to do collaborative work. And those who have gathered are in no way a unified group. They are too individualistic. This is, rather, a direction or a movement, where the only common factor is a certain inclination, an inclination which distinguishes these artists from the artists of the 70’s, who have remained within the bounds of traditional art. The artists gathered here destroy the borders between commonly held notions of art and reality, between the artist and spectator. They approach even the “art product” in completely new way. Working on the hypothetical borderline between art and life they explore the problem of this “borderline”, exploring the very essence of art. They are interested in the mechanism of art, its function in life, in society, and even in art itself; its ability to communicate, to teach, to engage; its social aspects, etc. These question are directed toward the artist himself. They dethrone the myth of the artist as a demiurge, an enigmatic lone genius. All models and concepts are reevaluated. But this is not analysis in the usual sense. This is primarily action, or creative realization. In the actions, perfofmances, projects, texts and collages of Natalia Abalakova and Anatoly Zhigalov two artists who worked as painters for many years before turning lately to a global project, “Exploration into the Essence of Art as applied to Life and Art”, contemporary methods of the avant-guard and the fixed notion of “creative consciousness” are put to a critical test in practice. In the works of the group “Mukhomor” (Toadstool) (Swen Gundlach, Vladimir and Serge Mironenko, Konstantin Zvezdotchetov), models of youth culture, fashion, mass media, etc. are widely used. The posters and playbills of Nikita Alekseiev are rooted in the very heart of life itself, turned topsy-turvy and inside-out to restore to the world around us its attributes and, in so doing, to reveal ever so dramatically the problem of “artist versus milieu”. Art, its place in socium, its estrangement is the theme of Michail Roshal. Vadim Zakharov and Victor Skersis (SZ) work with the problem of art and reality and their influance one upon another. Analyzing the position of the artist, the status of art in its society, and structures of the language of art within their own creative activity, these artists, despite the sometimes ironic approach to their materials, continually pull the rug out from under themselves. And that is precisely why this art cannot develop along any canons or rules (even the most individualistic), since in any canon or particular method one find only comvention and technique, and in explotation of method, a kind of nasty interminability. Analysis and action – this is the untiring search, the continual rejection of everything that is mistakenly taken for the sine qua non of art. This is simultaneously the broadening of the borders of art to the “total swallowing” of life, and the narrowing of the borders almost to total merging with life which is perhaps the eternal and unsolvable problem of art.

This event is not an exhibition in normal sense of term. This is the continuation of explorative work, one of its phase, not in specifically artistic surroundings, but in a real live apartment. And those who come here will find work and cooperation rather than the normal “viewing of art objects”. Tgere are no ‘art objects” here in the usual sense. These are not “finished works”, but rather, art-in-making.

(The text was wrote for AptArt show)

TOTART: Actions, performances. Installations