Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow | Exhibitions | Paruyr Davtyan - Revelation of the Wonderful Pond

MULTIMEDIA ART MUSEUM, MOSCOW
MUSEUM "MOSCOW HOUSE OF PHOTOGRAPHY"
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Paruyr Davtyan
Revelation of the Wonderful Pond

Paruyr Davtyan. From the ‘Elementary spirit’ project. 2017—2020. Courtesy of the artist Paruyr Davtyan. From the ‘Elementary spirit’ project. 2017—2020. Private collection Paruyr Davtyan. From the ‘Elementary spirit’ project. 2017—2020. Courtesy of the artist Paruyr Davtyan. From the ‘Elementary spirit’ project. 2017—2020. Courtesy of the artist Paruyr Davtyan. From the ‘Elementary spirit’ project. 2017—2020. Courtesy of the artist Paruyr Davtyan. From the ‘Elementary spirit’ project. 2017—2020. Courtesy of the artist Paruyr Davtyan. Sketch of installation 'The Fruit of Monet'. 2020. Courtesy of the artist

Paruyr Davtyan. From the ‘Elementary spirit’ project. 2017—2020. Courtesy of the artist

Paruyr Davtyan. From the ‘Elementary spirit’ project. 2017—2020. Private collection

Paruyr Davtyan. From the ‘Elementary spirit’ project. 2017—2020. Courtesy of the artist

Paruyr Davtyan. From the ‘Elementary spirit’ project. 2017—2020. Courtesy of the artist

Paruyr Davtyan. From the ‘Elementary spirit’ project. 2017—2020. Courtesy of the artist

Paruyr Davtyan. From the ‘Elementary spirit’ project. 2017—2020. Courtesy of the artist

Paruyr Davtyan. Sketch of installation 'The Fruit of Monet'. 2020. Courtesy of the artist

Moscow, 22.01—18.04.2021

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Curator: Anna Zaitseva
Curator: Anna Zaitseva

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The individual work of Paruyr Davtyan is closely connected to his activities as part of the art associations ‘Edelweiss’, ‘Cupid’ and ‘Tsar Gory’ (King of the Hill), where Davtyan, together with Yuri Albert, Viktor Skersis and Andrei Filippov, explores the phenomenon of contemporary art and its methodology. In the creative association Cupid the artists work on total installations, in the group Edelweiss they create performances, and in the artel Tsar Gory they turn to painting, rethinking masterpieces from a conceptualist point of view.

The appropriation and reinterpretation of art history has become one of the most important strategies among contemporary artists. For Davtyan, one of the main methods of ‘reassembling’ artistic heritage is the deliberate introduction of errors into its reading, and the combination of different, historically unrelated traditions in one project. The paintings Davtyan showed at MAMM in the ‘Tsar Gory’ artel’s ‘Allegorical Abstraction’ exhibition in 2017 were constructed on this principle and represented a synthesis between baroque and abstract painting. Davtyan’s new exhibition (particularly ‘The Flowers of Evil in the Whirlpool of Goodness’ installation), also makes reference to this project, but this time the synthesis of traditions is, on the contrary, deconstructed.

Such continuity is an organic feature of the artist’s work as a whole. Davtyan sees each of his exhibitions as a continuation and development of the concept of the Garden — an organised, man-made space cultivated by the artist throughout his activities. The title of the new exhibition, ‘Revelation of the Enchanting Pond’, is taken from a letter written by Claude Monet, who for many years tended the garden around the legendary pond with water lilies depicted in hundreds of his paintings. Monet has already acted as a reference point for projects by the ‘Cupid’ creative association and ‘Tsar Gory’ artel. In his solo exhibition Davtyan continues to discover new zones for the growth of contemporary art by using painted masterpieces of bygone times.

The exhibition consists of three parts and its spatial arrangement reproduces Monet’s garden with the pond as compositional centre.

The first part, the installation ‘The Flowers of Evil in the Whirlpool of Goodness’ (2020), not only refers to the ‘allegorical’ project of 2017, but also sequentially presents the stages of deconstruction Davtyan applies to Impressionist painting. While Monet worked with pure colours, creating an image that could only be read at a distance, Davtyan acts as a counter-Impressionist. Starting with pure colours, he gradually moves towards a complete mixture, meanwhile abandoning the special method of applying strokes of paint in the manner of the Impressionists.

In the second section, the installation ‘The Fruit of Monet’ (2020), Davtyan deconstructs the famous Impressionist canvasses, revealing their elementary components. The colours extracted from Monet’s painting, finally liberated from their mimetic function, serve to create a beautiful, shimmering, abstract painting. And the water lilies, as the ‘errors’ that characterise Davtyan’s work, are transformed into jugs. The artist gives an ironic answer to the question of what real art is and how it is composed, showing the impossibility of preserving the identity of information — aesthetic, verbal, visual, etc. — when conveying it to a perceiving subject.

A meditative installation designed for quiet contemplation, ‘The Fruit of Monet’ is surrounded by graphic works from the ‘Elementary spirit’ cycle (2017—2020), using real herbariums and forming a metaphorical model of the garden. Davtyan leads an excursion around this ‘garden’ using conceptualist tools: an appeal to the language of scientific classifications and also an exposure of the semantic inconsistency between word and image, ironic citations of the history of 20th-century art, from Malevich and Magritte to projects by the art associations in which Davtyan himself is involved — thereby he creates his own artistic universe.


We know that friends brought Monet rare plants to adorn his garden. In this way his garden was the fruit of a collective creative effort. The numerous references to works by other artists which have become an organic part of Davtyan’s own creations and his programmatic interest in a revival of the collective, artel principle of the artists’ works turn his projects into a witty, multi-level game in which he invariably involves the viewer — enchanting, mystifying, confusing and provoking us to create our own interpretations of what we see.



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