Art Group ZIP exhibition opened at VCAC in Voronezh

Krasnodar Art Group ZIP exhibition openedyesterday, February 20, at Contemporary ArtsCenter in Voronezh. Young Kuban artists have over the last three years become one of the most prominent and visible figures of this generation. Their exhibitions are held in Moscow galleries and contemporary art centers, are touring round Russian cities. The projects of Art Group ZIP were twice nominated for the “Innovation” Award. 
However, despite their popularity, the artists continue to work in Krasnodar, not moving to Moscow or Berlin for the career. The Krasnodar artists transform the space of their city: open breakaway museums in Krasnodar squares, create new projects together with people fr om the surrounding villages, build sports equipment of “Booths for Pickets” class.

Now the group includes four artists: Eldar Ganeev, Evgeny Rimkevich, Vasily Subbotin, and Stepan Subbotin. There were 6 of them when they started in 2009 (“One of us was a sailor, and he swam away fr om us. Another one got married, and he has different problems now”), and we gathered together almost accidentally – it was much easier to rent the hall together and organize the exhibition. The name ZIP came spontaneously – it was the name of Krasnodar measuring equipment plant, where the guys rented the facility (“You can feel there the mood of collective labor and great deeds”).
It’s the first ZIP group exhibition in our city, however, many Voronezh people remember one of their works - “The Secrets of the Depths” installation reminiscent of Jonah, who was swallowed by a whale. It was displayed at VCAC during “Chernozem” Festival last Fall.
This time, the “sea” theme was continued by “Dolphins” exposition displayed at the major hall of VCAC. A volleyball-lawn was net in the middle of the hall, a volleyball in the corner, only the beach sunbeds are lacking. The drawings depicting dolphins are hanging on the walls. In their perfect world dolphins are having birthday parties in a cafe, going to rallies, wondering why people need smart phones, and looking at the sunset.

A two hour video called “Valera the Witness” in shown in the small hall. The man talks about everything that happens in the cultural life of Krasnodar.
- It all started when we met one men who visited all our exhibitions in Krasnodar, - says the artist. - Then we got acquainted with him and found out that he visits all the cultural events that take place in the city: the opening of exhibitions, bard concerts, photo exhibitions and lectures. Valera has no computer, no Internet, but he has a large pad, wh ere he puts down all the events a month in advance. He has no job, because he has no time to work - he visits all the events, sometimes just rushing from one to another. He used to work as a photographer and has traveled the whole country. We found this interesting: it turns out, at some point, that he deliberately refused to create art and decided to become its consumer. In a sense, he has been witnessing the Krasnodar art, he is a city archiver, he keeps all the booklets, tickets, press releases, all that receives at the shows. And in this video that we recorded specially for the exhibition, he describes why he is so fond of art, why he visits all these events, what interesting is happening in the city now.

The artists brought some of their previous projects to Voronezh, and prepared new ones that will be created on the spot (involving the audience in their project is very common for the group). For example, in “Endless Gallery” project artists suggest everyone creating their own gallery. They provide everything necessary for the experiment – the facility (plywood cube) and materials (clay, colorful stickers, paper, markers). 

Most of the works and exhibits this time are devoted to self-organization, self-learning and co-creation.
They transform incomprehensible, inaccessible, and complex contemporary art into something casual, opposing this activity to bull sessions with beer. The portable display, consisting of posters, painted markers, and gel pens, tells why you need to pursue art, what benefits can be obtained from it (e.g., to learn to make a drawing of your girlfriend), how to organize an exhibition in your garage, and how to invite people there.

The plan of contemporary art center development in the city is quite simple: an artist - his friends - friends of those friends, and a few journalists - people who are just curious - and gradually the whole cultural environment develops around this artist. It was the same way with Krasnodar artists. The experience of Voronezh Contemporary Arts Center also proves this theory.

The exhibition will be open until March 23, and today, February 21, VCAC invites everyone for “artist talk”, wh ere they talk about the young contemporary art in the Russian regions. Meeting is scheduled for 19.00. Admission is free, but pre-registration is required.