The world has grown both more simple and more complex simultaneously. And the atmosphere of an artisan workshop, a workshop where either sacred artefacts, or mass-produced souvenirs, are produced is very much in line with this fact. That's why Bronnaya, 10 hits the nerve of this time so precisely. The handmade artisan production, so generously presented in the works of the three artists, alludes to another idea on today's agenda. One that was passed on by Marcel Duchamp. Craftsmanship resets the rich semantic field of interpretations, and the index, the symbol, as such, becomes the main one. According to the classification developed by the founding father of semiotics, Charles Sanders Peirce, the index is physically attached to the object it points to, it does not generate or characterise anything, it simply shows evidence of what's being represented.
Marcel Duchamp explored the indexical nature of the image, not only in his ready-mades but also in making imitating copies of reality, whether it was the Female Fig Leaf made of galvanised plaster, or the famous peep show photograph Given: 1. The Waterfall. 2. The Illuminating gas. In this diorama, Duchamp radically dismantles the long-standing conventions of 'correct' communication with art, choosing in favour of an intimate gaze through a peephole in the closet door. The trajectory of the gaze directed to the point between the model's legs does not give the viewer any chance to symbolically valorise their 'encounter with the beautiful'. Visiting the idea kitchen of the three artists – Kosolapov, Sokhranski, and Stasiunas – causes a similar effect of being an involuntary voyeur behind the scattered indices of certain large narratives. The great thing is that none of the works claims to be a global generalisation – they are just fragments of disjointed narratives, and the ghost of a typical Moscow flea market looms large over this beautiful mess.
Alexander Kosolapov is in direct conversation with Duchamp's indices. Duchamp's chess images, which drove him to 'stop painting' in 1920, are complemented by bronze 'female fig leaves'; they've become pieces in the upcoming game of chess. Popular culture helps reduce any philosophical maxim to the state of confetti or a candy wrapper. Therefore, it is natural that images from comic books and trash art found their way into the studio of the three artists. In the case of Kosolapov, this is Mickey Mouse (works from the Mickey Kamasutra series). In the case of Sokhranski, these are monsters from fantasy, horror films, anime and computer games. Their bronze-cast shapes promise the birth of a new beastly chthonic as if the works of Hans Arp and Henry Moore were merged with the biomechanics of the fantastic realism of Hans Ruedi Giger.
In The Fountain Model, Leonid Sokhranski stretches a line between the artisan production of tourist consumer goods with the traumas of the Post-Soviet myth of 'people's friendship'. The more zeal politicians in office show to reconstruct the ideology, style, rhetoric of the USSR, the more obvious and inevitable the fake, simulacrum essence of this state order becomes.
In Vitas Stasiunas's works, the beastly springs from windowsills, radio points, old Moscow bedsits furniture, akin to Bronnaya, 10 itself. Construction waste transforms into a landscape of micro districts. Broken glass shards – into the frame of a silhouetted landscape. And bunches of honey fungi, humble indices of edible planetary dirt, grow here and there. Like Kuryokhin's fly agaric mushrooms, Stasiunas' honey fungi are honest witnesses of the new Anthropocene development within a single community, on a dacha, in a bedsit.
The beastly realm of Bronnaya, 10 is plain and frank, while at the same time quaint and elegant. It does not impose on anyone, it reduces all the dregs of high-brow philosophies to an elementary index, a symbol. However, when going through these indices, no one is forbidden to come up with their own beautiful puzzle or play a game of imaginary chess with the artist.
Alexander Kosolapov (b. 1943, Moscow, Russia) is a Russian painter, sketch and drawing artist, sculptor and one of the key figures in Sots Art. Kosolapov graduated from school by the Moscow State Academic Art Institute named after VI Surikov and the Stroganov Art and Design College in Moscow. In 1975 he emigrated to the USA, and has been living and working in New York since. Kosolapov's works are based on an ironic and radical combination of recognisable symbols and stereotypes of Soviet ideology and global pop culture. Playing with images, the artist debunks both Soviet political myth-making and capitalist commodity fetishism. His works can be found in the collections of MOMA New York, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum and others.
Leonid Sokhranski (b. 1971, Moscow, Russia) is an artist, sculptor, an alumnus of the Moscow State Stroganov Academy of Art and the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He lives and works between Düsseldorf, Berlin and Moscow. In the early 2000s, he put together projects of unfeasible monuments for places where they would never be placed. Sokhranski likes to create spatial works – sculptures, objects and installations that fantasise and reflect on philosophy, literature and history. His works can be found in the collection of the State Museum of Applied Art in Smederevo, Serbia.
Vitas Stasiunas (b. 1958, Tielt, Belgium) is a Moscow-based artist and sculptor. He took stone carving courses at the Moscow State Stroganov Academy of Art in 1981–1983. Since 1993, Stasiunas has been a member of the sculpture section of the Moscow Union of Artists. He works with collage and assemblage on canvas. Stasiunas is inspired by the absurdity that surrounds all people. His career began with addressing the traditions of Sots Art, but later he came up with post-ironic reimaginings of reality through recognisable Soviet and contemporary images of popular culture. His works can be found in the collections of the State Russian Museum, Tretyakov Gallery, Multimedia Art Museum, North Carolina Museum of Art, Perm Museum of Modern Art, Krasnoyarsk Museum of Modern Art, and others.