Critics’ Picks

Natasha Perova, Technocracy, 2021, light box, digital print, 45 x 35 1/2."

Natasha Perova, Technocracy, 2021, light box, digital print, 45 x 35 1/2."


“In the Dust of the Planet”

Art4 Museum
Khlynovskiy Tupik, 4
January 18–March 12, 2022

What happens when digital capitalism’s gradual hijacking of the commons tips over to become the only reality we know? Back in the 1960s, Arte Povera formed as a reaction to Minimalism’s technological hubris and the disposable consumer culture of the world that its practitioners inhabited. The second decade of the millennium seems to have given birth to a new Arte Povera (sometimes also referred to as Crisiscore). “In the Dust of this Planet” collects one particular cohort of this subgenre whose practices are especially reflective of the view from Russia circa 2022. Curator Alexander Burenkov’s lineup of sixteen artists includes Vadim Mikhailov, Nikita Seleznev, Anna Tagantseva-Kobzeva, and Ruslan Polanin, among others. This art is, so to speak, post-post-internet, although some of its tropes don’t shy away from the tactics of its post-internet precursors, as evident in Misha Gudwin’s sculptures Dread Sailor and Cicada 3301 (all works cited 2021), assemblages of scaffolding poles and plexiglass printed with references to Disney, Hello Kitty, and Sailor Moon, alongside occult symbology. A similar smorgasbord of imagery operates within Natasha Perova’s series of lightbox collages “Albino Sunbathing Under the Moon,” shown inside a darkened gallery whose perimeter is laced in a Gothic decorative pattern made from scattered dirt. With this  mixture of unprocessed materiality and cultural metadata, a subtitle, as well as a succinct summary of the central premise of the work collected in the show, suggests itself readily: “The Raw and the Cooked, or What Nasty Nets Aesthetics Have to Do with Arte Povera.”