Alina Desyatnichenko. Commentary to Community, or How to Win Friends
Part of the Photography/Commentary program
Обед в честь приезда гостей в одной из хат этнографического комплекса «Казачий стан», Владивосток. Серия «Я – казак», 2018
Из проекта «Альфа рай», 2018
Зал Игоря Талькова в школе №11, г. Щекино. Серия «Gloria mundi», в процессе с 2016
Матушка Серафима выполняет послушание - собирает опавшие после сильного ветра яблоки. Серия «Свято-Иверский женский монастырь», 2018
Виктор Мотошкин у себя дома, г. Иркутск. Серия «Байкал чудес», 2016
Date: June 17, 2021 — July 25, 2021



Moscow Museum of Modern Art is happy to announce Commentary to Community, or How to Win Friends — a solo exhibition by Alina Desaytnichenko, which is held within the Photography/Commentary program of the Museum.

Alina Desyatnichenko is an artist, photojournalist and documentary photographer with a focus on social issues. All Desyatnichenko’s projects are based on the body of photographs taken during her communication with members of a particular social group. Alina Desyatnichenko’s exhibition at MMOMA, Commentary to the Community, or How to Win Friends presents several of the artist’s projects, the earliest of them completed in 2015. Most of these projects address the life of various kinds of closed communities, often politically conservative. These include the nuns of a monastery near Rostov-on-Don, novices trying to change their lives at a men’s monastery, and shamans of the Baikal region, as well as the Far East and the Kuban Cossacks. The latter are probably the key community for Desyatnichenko’s research, as she herself comes from Kuban and has consistently studied the history of the local Cossacks and their current way of living. This study resulted in the I am a Cossack project. Another project — School Diary — is dedicated to the formal community that emerged in the boarding school of Mikhail Shchetinin, experimental researcher in education and teacher, in the settlement of Tekos near Gelendzhik, where teenagers were taught in an environment that combined a variety of conservative codes aimed at «reviving Russia with a domestic way of life». This book of photography also includes correspondence with the staff of this secluded school clearly exposing communication difficulties the artist had to face during her work. The exposition also features various objects and elements that change ways the viewer normally looks at photography by providing the necessary social and political context.
The position of the artist-researcher in relation to her subject, whether it is a community or a person, is conditioned by the distance that has to be maintained from people and their environment. The paradoxical merging of an external gaze with a gaze from within is achieved by means of CCTV cameras creating a feeling of presence and at the same time allowing one to take a look at the objects filmed from the outside.

All of Desjatnichenko’s photographic projects in the exhibition are accompanied by diagrams that describe how the artist was able to penetrate into a particular community. At the same time, the exhibition presents texts of various ethical codes of field research: these include the rules of World Press Photo, as well as the codes of scientists working with informants. A library of books on photography, another part of the exhibition, is intended to draw the attention of the professional community to the problem of the lack of educational opportunities in this field of art. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of video and audio interviews Alina Desyatnichenko conducted with anthropologists, urban studies scholars, sociologists, and documentary journalists.

Alina Desyatnichenko was born in Tashkent in 1991 and moved to Kuban when she was 16. She graduated from Mikhail Domozhilov’s school of contemporary photography DocDocDoc and Kuban State University with a degree in journalism. She has worked as a documentary and reportage photographer for Afisha Daily, Bird In Flight, Takie Dela (So it Goes), Mediazona, Secret of the Firm, RBC, Vedomosti, GEO, Seasons, Russian Reporter and other publications. Participated in joint exhibitions and presented personal photo projects in Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg, Voronezh, Krasnodar and Tver.

The Photography/Commentary Program of Moscow Museum of Modern Art
explores photography as a specific medium. In present day Russia photographers still find themselves at an ill-defined distance from institutional art production, and it is this problem that our program addresses. The program, which begins in 2021 with Max Sher’s project Commentary on the Landscape, is followed by an exhibition of Alina Desyatnichenko with several solo exhibitions by photographers/artists from Russia scheduled for 2022/23. All of these authors, regardless of their unique approaches to photography, see it as a key instrument of artistic expression to reveal different ways of reflecting on current social and political processes. Together with the issue of the critique and commentary on reality through photography, the program raises the opposite question: how can we talk about photography, in what ways can we identify and explore its contradictions and limitations as well as its place in contemporary art in Russia.

The MMOMA Education Center was opened in the winter 2017 as one of the four venues of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. The creation of such a Center has become a logical development of the museum’s activity in the sphere of education and popularization of contemporary art, which allows it to consolidate and expand all existing educational projects of the museum. The Center is made with taking into account international experience and modern museum technologies. It widens the diversity of audience experience and gives an opportunity to get new knowledge in the field of contemporary art and related disciplines for all comers, regardless of the previous educational background. The architectural solution was realized by the bureau Masterskaya Be.
MMOMA Education Center aims to become a platform for self-education, creative and social initiatives, academic research and will contribute to the integration into the cultural life wide social groups. The exhibition policy of MMOMA, an open library with more than 10 000 publications, the lectures created by MMOMA’s curators for children and teenagers, a series of family art therapy programs will be interesting not only for the professional community, but also for the diverse group of spectators. Moreover, the building is adapted to the needs of people with limited mobility, hearing and vision problems, which will continue the development of inclusive programs as one of the most important features of the museum.

An important goal of the center is to support young art by creating a productive environment for the generation and innovative creative initiatives not only in the cultural sphere, but also in the related to the art fields — science, history, philosophy and literature.