Blue Noses don’t seem official enough for a retrospective. They have become known as the Dumb and Dumber of the Bienalles and their obvious peasant-style jokes-called-art have garnered them an audience outside the typical art audience. And yet a retrospective of the Blue Noses is taking place through Oct. 31 at Winzavod, the trendy Moscow wine-factory-turned-art-space.
Sasha Shaburov used to have serious dental problems. In the early 1990s, he received a grant from the Soros Foundation to do an “art action” and videoed the transformation of his pretty horrific teeth to American-style, high-beam whites. Ten years later, he paired with Slava in “Two Against the Mafia,” a hilarious performance that ends with their heads stuffed in pickle jars.
But they are best known for “A Candle on My Life.” In this photograph, the duo, along with a fellow prankster, portray Jesus, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Pushkin. The piece was seen as a political provocation, and was the subject of a criminal complaint.
A truly inspired Blue Noses piece is “Lenin Turning in His Grave.” In it, Lenin is projected on to the bottom of a cardboard box, where he literally coughs and turns. They scoff at the idea that they are opposition artists. “I wish the FSB was interested in me,” they often tell journalists.
So is this stuff even art? “I am sure we are not saying anything constructive,” said Sasha Shaburov.
It’s hard to argue with a philosophy like that.
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