Critics’ Picks

Vladimir Logutov, Boom #1, 2009, acrylic on plastic, 120 3/16 x 80 3/4".


Vladimir Logutov

Regina Gallery
1/6, 4th Syromyatnichesky pereulok
November 12–January 12

“Boom” marks Samara, Russia–based artist Vladimir Logutov’s first solo show at this gallery. The tightly conceived exhibition follows on the artist’s experiments with compression (for instance, a project in which Logutov commissioned steel workers to pound a railroad tie into a knot) by focusing instead on tropes of explosion—albeit in a highly controlled and technically convoluted manner.

The show centers on the four-channel installation Pause, 2009, which features projected videos in flickering stasis, as if someone had pushed the Pause button on the DVD player. Logutov uses his own footage of figures climbing through architectural debris in the Ukrainian village of Shargorod. The scene is obviously set in the aftermath of an explosion, but it is not evident when that explosion occurred; the ruins look too settled, the figures too calm, for this to be fresh destruction. Even the smoke and flames appearing at the edges of three of the frames suggest a casual bonfire rather than a bomb.

The video installation is accompanied by two looming abstractions, acrylic-on-plastic panels that all but devour the gallery’s threshold. Logutov explains in the press release that he wants “to oppose the ‘explosive’ dynamics of abstract painting to conditional statics of the video reaching the ultimate stopping point.” In other words, he seeks to endow his paintings with the dynamism he has denied the video, playing each medium against its strengths to the credit of the exhibition overall.