New season at #VirtualSPAR

Nonconform and is a collaboration between Indiana University and the Museum of Nonconformist Art. In October-November 2021 #VirtualSPAR will host six artists based in Russia and the U.S.

The project is dedicated to researching and rethinking the phenomenon of nonconformism from diverse perspectives and creating a dialogue between art professionals in Russia and the U.S.

Nonconformist art serves as the starting point of this project. Historically, this term refers to alternative, underground art created in the Soviet Union in the 1950-1980s in opposition to Socialist Realism – the only style formally approved and supported by the government. The works created by artists of this movement are very diverse both in their themes, media, and styles. As is the community of nonconformist artists, who had very different backgrounds. What united them was the will to resist, to create freely, beyond state regulations and censorship, and to share their art with like-minded people.

The artists of Season 6 were invited to reflect on nonconformism in art. While the heritage and the ideas of unofficial culture in Soviet Russia remain an important subject of our discussion, we would like to reflect beyond historic periods, politiсs, and geography, and address a more general question – what can nonconformism look like today?

The Season 6 artists

(listed alphabetically)

Ludmila Belova is an artist and curator. She was born  in Kamchatka, lives and works in St.Peterburg. In 1980 graduated from Abramtzevo Art College. In 1991 joined the Russian Artists Union. Ludmila is into video and audio art, painting, photography. She researches the topics of memory, space and time; investigates the influence of new technologies on people in art practices; engages viewers to the process. Ludmila Belova’s art was exhibited in Europe, the USA, Russia and Asia. She was awarded the «50 Bestern» ZKM prize (Karlsruhe, Germany, 2000) and Sergei Kurekhin price for the best curatorial project (St. Petersburg, Russia, 2017).

Yevgeniy Fiks was born in Moscow in 1972 and has been living and working in New York since 1994. Fiks has produced many projects on the subject of the Post-Soviet dialog in the West, among them: “Lenin for Your Library?” in which he mailed V.I. Lenin’s text “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism” to one hundred global corporations as a donation for their corporate libraries; “Communist Party USA,” a series of portraits of current members of Communist Party USA, painted from life in the Party’s national headquarters in New York City; and “Communist Guide to New York City,” a series of photographs of buildings and public places in New York City that are connected to the history of the American Communist movement. Fiks’ work has been shown internationally. Education: Art College in Memory of 1905 Revolution, Moscow, V. I. Surikov Art Institute, Moscow, Brooklyn College, New York, B.F.A., School of Visual Arts, New York, M.F.A.

Tom Kotik is an artist, curator and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. Tom’s art work often explores the intersection of sound and vision and is architectural in form, that he attributes to his life in New York, calling architecture the landscape he draws from. Since 1996 Tom has exhibited his work nationally and internationally including solo and group shows. Tom is an avid musician who has recorded and performed with many bands including Stresovicka Kramle, Sportsman’s Paradise, Mighty High and Jonny Chan and the New Dynasty Six. Tom Kotik received his MFA from Hunter College in 2004 and BS from New York University in 1993.

Alena Levina is an artist, illustrator, independent curator, researcher and feminist activist, working on issues of disabled women. Born in 1988 in Moscow. Graduated from Moscow State Textile University as stylist artist. In 2011-2013 studied at post-graduate programme Technical aesthetics and design. Since 2014 works as graphic designer, watercolours illustrator, curator, inva-activist (disability activist) and painter. Alena participated in a number of group shows in Russia and the USA, and in international scientific conferences. She paints portraits and nudes. She also researches the practice of self-presentation through a series of self-portraits.

Andréa Stanislav was born and grew up in Chicago, USA. She is currently based in New York City, and since 2018 also works in Bloomington, Indiana as an Associate Professor of Sculpture, and Affiliate Faculty with the Russian and Eastern European Institute, at Indiana University. She has worked in St. Petersburg, Russia, since 2014, and often as artist in residence at SPAR, on several projects including project – “Radio Leningrad – Forget Your Past”; and continues creative collaborations and research with the Museum of Cosmonautics, Moscow. Ms. Stanislav’s hybrid practice spans sculpture, immersive multimedia installation, video, and public art. She received an MFA from Alfred University, New York; and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Solo exhibitions and public projects have been realized worldwide.

Symphocat is a project of Russian musician and composer Ilia Pucheglazov. Ilia was born in 1987 in southern city Rostov-on-Don (for now based in Saint Petersburg). Music of Symphocat is most strongly connected with meditative Ambient, Drone, Experimental music, Field Recordings, which are transparently interweaving with works closely to Modern Classical music and Minimalism. Ilia received in childhood an elementary musical education in violin and piano, and also has two higher educations in the specialties “Social and cultural service and tourism” (2008) and “Sound Engineering of Audiovisual Arts”(2016). Ilia actively performs on classical and experimental venues, does a lot of collaborations (including performance, theatre and cinema) and regularly takes part in laboratories and work shops. Since 2007 Ilia owns a music label named ‘Simphonic Silence Inside’.

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