Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe
Archive M
Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe. Elizabeth I. C print. 2005. Courtesy of Victor Bondarenko and Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe Foundation
Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe. From the Unrequited Love Series. 1993. Courtesy of XL Gallery and Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe Foundation
Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe. Morozko – Marfushechka, Dear Darling. 1997. Moscow Museum of Modern Art Collection
Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe. Accordion, Why Do You Keep the Girls from Sleeping? 1997. Moscow Museum of Modern Art Collection
Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe. Marlene Dietrich (photo by Dmitry Zhuravlyev). Photo. 2013. Courtesy of Dmitry Zhuravlyev
Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe. Marilyn Monroe. From the Life of Illustrious People Series. C print, 1996. Courtesy of XL Gallery and Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe Foundation
Date: June 18 - August 30, 2015
Venue: MMOMA, 10 Gogolevsky blvd

Curatorial group: Elena Selina, Antonio Geusa

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the XL Projects and Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe Foundation present the Archive M project, being the most extensive retrospective exhibition of Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe’s oeuvre. The display is based on the paper and digital archive of the artist, his works from national and private collections, as well as many artefacts connected with his personality kept by his friends, fellow artists, and acquaintances.

The exhibition seeks to structure the materials preserved with greatest accuracy, to show the stages of the artist’s career, all this without distorting the author’s initial idea or giving his oeuvre a new meaning. The Archive M project is essentially the basis for future interpretations presented in the exhibition format. The display unfolds mostly chronologically. The exhibition comprises all the artist's most renowned series, including the Politbureau (1990), the Unrequited Love (1994), the Life of Illustrious People (1996), the Russian Questions (1997), Lyubov Orlova (2000), the Tales of Time Lost (2001) and others, as well as his series never exhibited before, such as Barbie (2005), Psycho (2006), Ivan the Terrible (2010), some of the artist's costumes, videos, diaries with sketches and many other objects. The project builds on the so-called 'cloud' principle: besides the entire series, as the artist designed them during his lifetime, the display comprises all kind of preparatory materials and artefacts from the author’s archive. It is how the aspects which are normally left behind the scene come to light, precisely such aspects as the way of getting into a character, the search for the most natural gesture, and, the most important, the further life of a character, as the artist would usually go on with the role after the photos taken, actively intruding into the space of everyday life, transforming his character and carrying his acting to the point of grotesque. It is a ‘post-performance’ of a sort, the real existence of a historical character 'now and here', as he or she is represented in multiple photo and video materials, including the most exclusive.

Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe is the master of impersonation: with truth-to-life and a good deal of irony, he explored through his own experience and personality a whole pantheon of the world history and culture (Marilyn Monroe, Adolf Hitler, Lyubov Orlova, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Brigitte Bardot et al.). Revealing their hidden features and attributes, unveiling their secrets, choosing a character or another in the most appropriate moment, acting with a quick wit and a critical eye, the artist revealed the weaknesses of the time we live in.

‘...To comprise the universe and, not like everyman, when he comprises the universe in his brain cortex, yet differently – to embody the humankind in its variety, to interiorise all these lives in your very personality, your physical and psychic mechanisms … Not to be dissolved in it but to serve as a solvent. Not to melt in the solution but to be the solution’, as the artist explained it.

Mamyshev-Monroe worked in different media: photo series, collages, hand-scratched photos (a special technique used to enhance the expressive power of the oeuvre), paintings and videos. Virtually all of them are nothing but the documentation of the unbelievable existence that the artist himself, such homo ludens, led in real time and the panorama of his characters transforming this reality. A lifelong ‘post-performance’ that is.

The exhibition of Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe's life and oeuvre, one of unprecedented scale, will take place from June, 18th to August, 23rd at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art venue at 10, Gogolevsky boulevard, with the whole venue engaged.

The educational programme organised by Antonio Geusa, one of the exhibition's curators, will be the part of the project, as well as the catalogue and the memoir collection, which are to be published for the event. 

About the artist: 

Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe was born on October 12th 1969 in Leningrad. From 1976 to 1987 he studied in five different schools, including an art school. From 1987 to 1989 he served in the Soviet Army as an artist and the leader of the children club of the spaceport Baikonur. It was when he first disguised himself as Marilyn Monroe. In 1990, together with Timur Novikov, Iuris Lesnik and Georgy Gurianov, he founded the Pirate Television. This same year, together with Sergey Bugaev Afrika and art historians Olesya Turkina and Viktor Mazin, he participated in the foundation of the Kabinet magazine. In 2004 Vladislav was the host of Artemy Troitsky's TV programme Vital Signs on the REN TV Channel. In 2007 he won the Kandinsky prize for the Volga Volga film where he played the lead role. Mamyshev-Monroe died on March 16th 2013 on Bali Island. The artist was awarded the prize of the 9th All-Russian Competition in Contemporary Art Innovation 2013. The Jury adjudged him a prize For the Pioneering Contribution in the Development of Contemporary Art.