Nukes, Lovers Get Their 15 Minutes

Originally published in The Moscow Times on November 19, 1999

"I loooove youuuu" screams the woman, as she stumbles out of a car late at night on a quiet suburban street, collapses on a front lawn and rolls about in the grass, kicking and screaming hysterically. Her partner and two friends manage to subdue her enough to force her into a house.

The scene, a large-screen projection, shot on film and then transferred to video, is re-enacted again and again, each time with slight changes. And that's it. What this mini-tragedy is all about is left to the viewer's imagination and open to whole "other worlds" of interpretation.

Gillian Wearing's piece "I Love You" is one of four installations at "This Other World of Ours," a first-time British Council-sponsored arts project intended to introduce the best-known contemporary British artists to the Russian public. The four pieces and a video program of short art projects have been on display at the Art Media Center TV Gallery since Nov. 17.

While Wearing's psychological drama unfolds, a metal bucket apparently forgotten in a dark corner of one of the gallery's rooms begins to emit the sound of a falling drop of water via a speaker and CD player. "Ceal Floyer's works are very minimal and you find them in strange places," Gianmarco Del Re, co-curator of the exhibition, said. In the same dark-lit room, a man dressed in black and suspended horizontally by ropes slides through a white cardboard structure, a transvestite prostitute is being betrayed by her lover and soda bottles crash on the floor leaving foamy, celestial patterns. All of these two- to three-minute video films are the recent creations of a dozen young artists, most of them based in London.

"There are things I like and others that I find weird, but it's interesting," said Alla Plastinina, a doctor who came to the show to satisfy her curiosity.

The exhibit, which runs until Dec. 12, is certainly a curiosity shop for lovers of new media art.

In Monika Oechsler's 1999 video "For the Very First Time," three young women passionately plunge their noses in red, yellow and lilac tulips in near-ecstatic pleasure. And in "Two Minutes of Experiment and Entertainment," multimedia artist Paul Granjon analyzes jelly molecules and demonstrates how to make a flying synthetic doughnut.

"These are really brilliant jokes. It's the kind of humor you find in everyday situations. It's quite different from Russian humor," British Council assistant arts director Sasha Dugdale said.

Vadim Koshkin, a producer of computerized art films and visitor to the gallery this week, is skeptical. "If you make a film it should have a beginning and an end. And, so far, I haven't seen either of these," he said.

For some, these "other" artistic worlds…

Read the full text at The Moscow Times.