Selected works
Special projects

Moscow City Government
Moscow City Department of Culture
Russian Academy of Arts
Moscow Museum of Modern Art

Dreams For Those Who Are Awake
The 5th Thematic Exhibition Of The Moscow Museum Of Modern Art
Date: March 1 – November 3, 2013
Venue: Petrovka 25



What do we expect from works of art? Do we strive to attain secure knowledge concerning nature and the human being, or rather yearn to be deceived, immersed into the world of dreams and illusions? Should we trust what we behold with our own eyes or should we perhaps be more cautious and resist the apparition?

The goal of the 5th thematic display of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art is to consider our common perceptual patterns in view of the critical undercurrent of all Western pictorial thought — the opposition between the «true» and the «phantom» image. In other words, to focus on the deeply rooted cultural conflict between the positive, rational notion of the image as a transparent «window into the world» and its uneasy counterpart: the equation of visual likenesses with suspicious or outright dangerous fruits of fantasy. Seldom present in such an exaggerated fashion, these psychological attitudes appear to form a dynamic pair. They’re capable of switching places depending on one’s vantage point. The title of the project is also inherently reversible. It originates in Plato’s dialogue «The Sophist»: in its initial context the phrase «dreams for those who are awake» served an iconoclastic metaphor for artistic practice in general — but, quite inevitably, it was an optical one.

The display will consist of works with an ambivalent visual nature: each of them permitting dual, conflicting interpretations. The viewer is invited to confront the exhibits in a test of confidence and ponder, for instance, whether we should regard an ultra- realistic image as a harmless trick, if the laws of one-point perspective correspond to the natural conditions of human perception, or if it’s possible to encode an image into text. Is it within the artist’s power to capture something transcendent, lying beyond human experience? These and other subjects will be examined in the fourteen thematic sections of the display, devoted to the visual ontology and visual rhetoric of contemporary art. Each section will also include special items — optical devices, scientific images and artifacts, — meant to act as benchmarks of authenticity, as well as to extend the scope of the viewer’s retinal impressions.

The project will take up the entire second floor of the main MMOMA building at ulitsa Petrovka. Its core is comprised of artworks by the Russian artists, dating mainly from the late 20th — early 21st century, from the museum collection: paintings, prints, photographs, videos, objects and installations. Importantly, many recently purchased pieces will get their first showing within the genre of a thematic display.

Among the featured artists are AES+F group, Nikita Alekseev, Sergey Bratkov, Ivan Chuikov, Francisco Infante, Georgy Kiesewalter, Vyacheslav Koleichuk, Elena Kovylina, Alexander Labas, Igor Makarevich, Taus Makhacheva, Rauf Mamedov, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, Irina Nakhova, Ilya Kabakov, Alexey Kallima, Dmitri Prigov, George Pusenkoff, Alexander Rodchenko, Aidan Salakhova, Yuri Shabelnikov, Sergey Shutov, Leonid Sokov, Rostan Tavasiev, Dmitry Tsvetkov, Oleg Vasiliev.

The display will be enriched with works created by invited artists Tatiana Akhmetgalieva, Marina Belova and Alexei Politov, Taisia Korotkova, the Mishmash Group, Haim Sokol, Larisa Zvezdochetova and others.

The partners of the project will include the State Darwin Museum, the Glinka Museum of Musical Culture, the Lomonosov Moscow State University Library and other institutions.