Critics’ Picks

Recycle Group and Blue Noses, Deflated Dollar, 2008, polyethylene, dimensions variable.

Recycle Group and Blue Noses, Deflated Dollar, 2008, polyethylene, dimensions variable.


“Rough Seas, One”

st.Zipovskaya, 5 building 33
February 9–March 27, 2020

Disembodied chatter, clanging hammers, and the pulse of deep house welcome visitors to this exhibition, whose title references a popular Russian children’s game. These noises lead one between two white walls to Koridor, 2020, a sound installation for which Ben Papyan and Misha Kurilov have recreated the sonic palette of ZIP, a defunct measuring instruments factory that, until recently, hosted nightclubs and artist studios. It’s easy to confuse this audio for the actual buzz in ZIP’s former canteen, where Tipografia newly opened with financial support from local collector Nikolay Moroz and the creative aegis of curator Elena Ishchenko and the artist collective ZIP Group (Evgeny Rimkevichand brothers Stepan and Vasily Subbotin).

With forty participants, this debut show features ZIP Group’s Krasnodar Institute for Contemporary Art, their growing art and curatorial program now based at Tipografia. Many of the works address the city’s history as a culturally conservative agrarian region. The roving KUS Group stages pop-up exhibits and imaginary institutions to spotlight overlooked urban sites. For TK (Technokrestyaniye), 2020, ZIP Group imagines the region’s forgotten “techno-peasant” collective farm. Their plywood structure—part scaffolding, part architecture by Konstantin Melnikov that’s brushed over with bright primary abstractions—models a peasant cottage while also mythologizing past subjects of Soviet emancipation in a fight over local memory.

Koridor reminds us that before any of these actions could be perceived as art, they were community events. But in conflating ZIP past and present, Koridor also poses the show’s most urgent question: How will this community navigate increasing attention from the state, galleries, and private funders while remaining inclusive and honing their critical edge? In this light, the playful self-reflexivity of Recycle Group and Blue Noses’ Deflated Dollar, 2008, becomes cautionary: a dollar sign made of polyethylene that inflates as you approach and deflates as you pass.