The Moscow Museum of Modern Art and the AVC Charity Foundation present On the Path of Gumilev, an interdisciplinary project by Vasily Vlasov and Mikhail Pogarsky, bringing together visual art, literature, geopoetics, history and ethnography.
The exhibition dwells on the eponymous art expedition to Ethiopia that the artists Vasily Vlasov and Mikhail Pogarsky embarked on in April 2017. The authors claim to have invented a new art form, the said art expedition, wherein adventurers go in search of not so much artifacts but, first of all, artistic impressions. The project deals with new methods to operate space, memory, art genres and the heritage of Nikolay Gumilev, a poet, translator and explorer of Africa. Repeating the itinerary of Gumilev’s many-time wandering across the African continent, the artists rediscover the magical land, develop and transform the poet’s ideas, inviting the viewers to take part in their journey.
On the Path of Gumilev is the first exhibition in Vasily Vlasov and Mikhail Pogarsky’s programme The Artist and Poet’s Book that focuses on the concept of interaction and seeks to establish an atemporal dialogue with great Russian poets through the new artistic media. It is also the second project in the Artist’s Book series. The display is comprised of 16 thematic sections exploring the cultural, geographical and social aspects of the far-away land, its change in time, as well as presenting and examining Gumilev’s own oeuvres. Thus, in the Metamorphoses section the artists plunge into a new world, playing different roles: Architect, Muezzin, Hyena, Sycamore, Giraffe and Wind, whereas the Boards of Wandering series brings together artefacts collected in Ethiopia, including the dust of Addis-Ababa, and frottages of windows of Arthur Rimbaud’s Museum, thus producing new meanings and geoaesthetics, being the result of combining artistic and poetical visions.
The visitors will see a large-scale installation comprised of ethnographical objects, historical photos, poetry, paintings, stylized wooden, metal and plastic objects, expedition diary and other extraordinary findings. Two volumes are published to accompany the exhibition — the catalogue comprising the exhibits’ reproductions and the artists’ texts featuring the concepts of each work on display and another book giving a thorough account of both the art expedition and the history of exploration of Ethiopia.
The Moscow museum of modern art team is grateful to the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera), the Russian Academy of Sciences and personally to Efim Anatolyevich Rezvan for providing archival materials for this exhibition.