WORLD CHAMPIONS. WAVES OF JOY
Сергей Борисов Полет. 1988
Чемпионы мира. Бегущий кабан. Инсталляция из 5 картин. Часть 1. 1989
Чемпионы мира. Г. Абрамишвили, Б. Матросов, А. Яхнин, К. Латышев Дикие песни нашей Родины. 1987
Чемпионы мира. К. Латышев, Б. Матро-сов, Г. Абрамишвили, А. Яхнин. Без названия. 1987
Юрий Грехов Акция «Взмахи радости» (Гия Абрамишвили) 1987
Date: DECEMBER 15, 2021 — FEBRUARY 13, 2022
Venue: 10 Gogolevsky blvd.
Curated by: Paquita Escofet Miro, Evgenia Gershkovich, Olga Turchina
Architect: Nana Abdrashitova
The Moscow Museum of Modern Art presents a large-scale retrospective exhibition of the World Champions art group: the most audacious and jovial association of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which grew out of a group of school friends. The exhibition will display more than 200 paintings, drawings, objects, and works on fabric created between 1986 and 1990. A number of the group’s actions and performances will be reconstructed from photographs and documents, since the artistic practice of the World Champions often involved creating a work and then immediately destroying it. According to the curators, the work on the exhibition resembled «putting together the elements of a puzzle, a detective investigation, a search for unknown champions». The curators had to search for each of the works featured in the exhibition turning every single one of them into an undeniable victory, a true archaeological finding.
Giya Abramishvili, Konstantin Zvezdochetov, Konstantin Latyshev, Boris Matrosov, Andrey Yakhnin (at different times Igor Zaidel, Vadim Fishkin, Gor Chakhal (Hovhannesyan), Vladimir Shvyakov and others participated in the group’s actions) named their association «World Champions» to mark their undeniable self-declared superiority. The title intended to highlight the group’s significance against the overall artistic context. The name of the group implied that its founding artists should always and everywhere be first.
The association of Moscow artists played with references to the military or professional sports with their harsh discipline and collectivism on the one hand, and rock’n’roll hooliganism on the other. The group is famous for their absurd and often hooligan actions, such as Strokes of Joy, when each of the group members drew something of their own on a sheet of paper pinned to the wall with all the tools at hand; or the Grey Sea, when Abramishvili brought a bottle of water from the White Sea, Zvezdochetov from the Black Sea, and the participants dug a small hole in the ground, mixing water from both bottles, the action was followed by a notification letter the group sent the the authorities to notify them of new geological data. The provocative actions, concerts, and films that earned them the reputation of punk artists could be seen as a somewhat allergic reaction to contemporary art practices in general.
The group was active from 1986 to 1988, and in 1989–1990 some of the members continued to work on joint easel compositions. According to artist Boris Matrosov the group’s breakup was long and hard: "...we lived by the rock’n’roll legend. Except that we constantly switched roles: everyone took turns being a bass player and a drummer. But it didn’t help. The group broke up falling into the old rock ’n’ roll pattern — everyone started making solo records.