State Museum of Modern Art of the Russian Academy of Arts

10 Gogolevsky Boulevard

8 September – 6 November, 2011

Opening: Wednesday, 7 September, 7-10 pm.

Participating artists: Konstantin Adjer, Valeriy Ayzenberg, Pawel Althamer, Johanna Billing, Sonia
Boyce, Vaast Colson, Didier Courbot, Honore d’O, Jeremy Deller, Alberto Garutti, Jens Haaning, Jeanne
van Heeswijk, Marcel van der Meijs, Ilya Budraitskis, IRWIN, Suchan Kinoshita, Jiri Kovanda, Yuri Leiderman,
Andrei Silvestrov, Anton Litvin, Liza Morozova, Roman Ondak, Adrian Paci, Cesare Pietroiusti, ESCAPE
Program, R.E.P., Shimabuku, SOSka, TanzLaboratorium, Moniek Toebosch, Jaan Toomik, Luca Vitone,
Yevgeniy Fiks, Vadim Fishkin.

Curated by: Viktor Misiano, eminent Russian curator and contemporary art critic, founder and
Editor-in-Chief of Khudozhestvenniy zhournal / Moscow Art Magazine, Chairman of the International
Manifesta Foundation (Amsterdam).

The Impossible Community show alluding to the decades-long debate about the nature of community, is
built around the idea of communication and various forms of social interaction. It brings together 35 Russian
and international artists.

The show was initially conceived as a retrospective marking the 10th anniversary of ESCAPE Program.
Established in 1999 in Moscow by Valeriy Ayzenberg, Anton Litvin, Bogdan Mamonov, and Liza Morozova,
this artistic group was emblematic of the 90-s in its use of direct artistic action, concise and effective form
of expression, and indispensable social interactivity. The group broke up in 2005 after being exhibited at
the Russian Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale, and then re-emerged later with Valeriy Ayzenberg and
Konstantin Adjer as its new members.

Rooted in the dialogical nature of ESCAPE Program, the exhibition concept evolved to include a broader
circle of artists. As a result, the exhibition at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art does not so much trace
back the history of ESCAPE Program, but rather looks into alternative answers to the questions raised by
this artistic group: What does “escape” mean today? Is there a way to create alternative social networks?
Is it still possible, in the age of mass communication, to conduct a conversation that is pointed, intimate
and confessional? If we must admit that art is doomed to become part of the global network of distribution,
an “escape” could be related to the strategy of a virus, a parasite, a trickster. But can we maintain autonomy
of the message while inhabiting alien spaces, structures, and languages? Or is the authentic message
capable of transcending the means and structures used to broadcast it?

Or perhaps the problem is not one of structures and languages but of blind trust in the act of communication–in
its motivations, functions and pragmatics. Could the true message be that which has no addressee? Could
the true action be that which has no rational motivation and finds its true rationale in itself?

Finally, if we cannot see humane meanings in dominant social relations, can we be certain that we are
capable of creating connections and commonalities of another sort? For so often attempts to reach the
Other or to build a community end in unbearable pain and failure. Could anything bind us together as
unconditionally as our shared inability of being with each other? Or could nostalgia for a commonality
that either was lost or never existed be our only common value? Or could radical autism be the only
authentic means of opening oneself to the Other? But what we really must understand is whether we
are capable of dialogue with ourselves.

Answers to these long-standing questions have been sought by several generations of contemporary artists.
Rather than providing any definitive answers, the Impossible Community artists offer a new way to approach
them. Most participating artists have never been exhibited in Russia before. Created especially for the
exhibition in Moscow, a lot of artworks are site-specific, and involve important Moscow landmarks, such
as Patriarshy Bridge, and Beijing Hotel.

Catalogue: Designed by Konstantin Adjer, the 3-volume edition complementing the exhibition is an
integral part of the project. It comprises ESCAPE Program Chronicle, the Impossible Community
exhibition catalogue supplemented by the Glossary of relevant artistic terms, and an Anthology with
critical texts on relational art.

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