The ‘actual’ has made a full circle, and having discarded obsessive Soviet-era associations with the art of the transitional period, regained its original meaning: ‘real’ as acting and at the same time as the present. However, upon closer examination, what has occurred is not a ‘re-acquiring’ of the meaning, but, as we know from the course of dialectics, a negation of negation, an expected appearance of a synthetic ‘new’. The young wine in old wineskins. A wolf in sheepskin. The stranger among his own people. Or: thesis under the guise of an ornament.
At first glance, the dominance of the ornamental at the exhibition seems paradoxical: why have artists turned to this seemingly reactionary aesthetic form so synchronously, albeit in different ways? Why instead of sparkling revolutionary madness, the viewer is invited to empathize with a person in a dead end or with someone who wants to reduce the speed of modern technologies? Why does a helplessly fallen vertical flag in the fog resonates with a melancholic horizontal line of sheep that turned into a dark grey wedge on a light grey background? Why do we observe total disillusionment with the ideologies of the past, which have lost its ‘create, invent, try,’ slogan, now replaced with only ‘chew’, ‘get high’ and ‘suck’?
Although the exhibition does not offer detailed answers or recipes, it is also obvious that the artists are also tired of simply ‘raising questions’, ‘documenting’ and ‘attracting attention’. Viewing the works on display as propositions, the viewer can try to see through them the outlined contours of a future programme, which develops as a series of resonant forms and close philosophical approaches, which again leads us to the theme of the ornament.
If the basis of any ornament is a repeated series of signs, then isolating a separate sign from the general rhythm, violating the synthetic connectivity of the statement, you can try to grasp the individual values woven into this rhythm - but lose the ontological presence in space. Carried away by the relationship between objects, it is more difficult to see that they can interact both in the coelenterate space of the cow, and fight with each other for a place under the sun in the virtual world. Nevertheless, if we ask ourselves whether the hermeneutic circle, outlined by the works at the exhibition, contains any single foundation supporting the fragments of various ornaments, then the answer will again be paradoxical. It seems that this is the basis for the study of territories located in the border zones of regional epistemes, or, in other words, fake objects and illusory identities, whether the cutting wings of butterflies or a chapan made from the IKEA bag, various ‘traditional’ patterns and artefacts, actors dressed up like WW2 soldiers in the Tashkent metro or the remains of killed jihadists from the occupied regions of Ukraine.
All these objects only superficially resemble elegant postmodern simulacra, alluding to the ambiguity of their interpretations, and they are devoid of the usual hipster playfulness. The irony, which radiates from these works, is mostly bitter, but it is precisely this bitterness that carries the hope that the comprehension of the objective and psychological reality, rather than the socially constructed ‘identities’, is becoming topical once again. Contemporary art of the region in the ‘post-Venetian period’ inevitably has to deal with disappointment, but this kind of disappointment can be a powerful incentive for learning, using art as a tool.