Exhibition design for "The New Blockheads" Retrospective

Moscow Museum of Modern Art 




Evgeny Reshetov, Tatiana Sinelnikova, Alexandra Kim

“The New Blockheads Fellowship” was a bright flash of emerging postsoviet art that has long remained out of the institutional sight. The first major retrospective of “The New Blockheads” introduces contemporary viewer to the most significant actions and performances – the core of the Fellowship’s work that gives a general overview of its existence in terms of local art history. 

The representation of performances and actions in museum space is always the main challenge for exhibitions of that sort. What is more, “The New Blockheads” are famous for the unexpected and rapid nature of their gestures which were poorly documented due to their spontaneity and energy. Photographs, videos and authentic artefacts preserved in the Fellowship’s archive and in personal collections of it’s fans and witnesses form the conceptual base of the exhibition. 

The exposition design makes up for the missing footprints of the events and recreates their materiality by exhibiting objects typical for the Fellowship’s actions  and resembling the life conditions in which the works of the group were born.

The general aesthetic of the show can be described in terms of “poor minimalism” common for “The New Blockheads” that emerged in Saint Petersburg based Borey gallery in the middle of the 1990s: white plastic chairs, simple exhibition constructions and improvised fixings for the exhibits like threads and pins.

Both exhibition space and navigation are based on the chronological order, demonstrating the documentations of the early works by  “The New Blockheads” as well as the individual creations of independent artists after the decline of the group. 

↑ Fuck off art lovers, 2000 © The New Blockheads

↑ The Movement of the Tea Table towards the Sunset. Seven Days of Travel. Photo: Alexandr Lyashko, 1996

↑ The day of Lyashko photoperformance. Photo: Alexandr Lyashko, 1998

↑ Photos from The New Blockheads archive

↑ Slavic Bazaar. Performance by Igor Panin. Photo: Alexandr Lyashko, 1999

↑ The Inevitability of the Masterpiece. Conference and dinner. Photo: Alexandr Lyashko, 1997

↑ The Red Eye. Diptych by Alexandr Lyashko, 1997