with the support

Moscow City Government
Moscow Department of Culture
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Dmitry Nalbandyan Studio Museum
NET Festival
With the support of the
Prokhorov Foundation

Театр Взаимных Действий. "Холодная война", 2021
Театр Взаимных Действий. "Холодная война", 2021
Театр Взаимных Действий. "Холодная война", 2021
Date: November 25, 2021 — January 30, 2022
Venue: Dmitry Nalbandyan Studio Museum | 8, b. 2, Tverskaya street, ap. 31, floor 9



The Dmitry Nalbandyan Studio Museum and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, in collaboration with the New European Theatre International Festival (NET), present the first performance of a site specific project of the Theatre of Mutual Operations, independent creative association of artists and theatrical designers: Shifra Kazhdan, Lyosha Lobanov, Ksenia Petrukhina and a theatre producer Alexandra Moon.

The performance exhibition that unfolds as a dialogue with the space and exhibits of the Dmitry Nalbandyan Studio Museum explores a phenomenon that spread over the world from mid-1940s to late 1980s. The authors of the project reveal the similarities of this period with the present and delve into the experience of the Past in the Present. Propaganda intertwines with the everyday routine, documentary facts come together with the mockumentary, defining signature aesthetics of the Theatre of Mutual Operations — artistic blend of factographic material with the signs of fictitious, so-to-say, ‘alternative’ history.

The Cold War period, being the central storyline of the exhibition and the performance alike, coincides with the most active phase in the artistic career of Dmitry Nalbandyan (1906-1993). He was the people’s artist of the USSR, author of grand portraits, one of the major participants of the official visual mythology. The intimate dialogue with Nalbandyan’s personal and artistic biography taken as the journey of one who was both a witness and a creator of the epoch is featured in the project. It is actually an attempt to reconsider both the aesthetics of the ‘grand style’ that mirrored the taste, mentality and value system of the Soviet political elite. Moreover, it actualizes the controversy around the impact of the totalitarian regime on the contemporary condition of social and cultural life. It is no less important that the verbal fabric of the theatrical production is supplied by the analysis of documentary sources that the Theatre of Mutual Operations carried out, working together with the Museum researcher of the Studio Museum Mikhail Kolchin, as well as the testimony from the witnesses of the period.

Another fact of artistic significance is the theatralisation of space — along with the object theatre and choreography by Tatiana Gordeeva and the sound design by Alexey Nadjarov, the venue of the Studio Museum is an actor playing its part in this story of an epoch that it lived through. The present display of Dmitry Nalbandyan Studio Museum has equally incorporated objects found by the Theatre of Mutual Operations, precisely, Soviet fridges, integrated into the exhibition galleries space. Now it acts both as the backdrop for the theatrical production and an installation. A cooling device turns into a witty cold war metaphor, a lens which the artists use to scrutinize the historical period.

The participants of the Theatre of Mutual Operations create a kind of multilayer reality, the mosaic vision of the past, the present and some third artistic reality, as they have done in their previous works. According to the artist Ksenia Peretrukhina: ‘Theatre offers unique opportunities of working with history, with the past on the nonverbal level. We think that such an approach of personal appropriation of history through the body is now extremely relevant, as it is one of the few ways to reconstruct lost historical links, to recover substituted meanings and facts; it is also instrumental in rethinking our historical present.’

The Cold War performance exhibition will be the last chance to visit the space of Dmitry Nalbandyan Studio Museum in its current form, as in 2022 the Museum will close for reconstruction. The Theatre of Mutual Operations’ project is also part of the MMOMA interdisciplinary cooperation programme. Bringing together theatre and contemporary art in one space creates a research platform for studying new art practices and at the same time reconsiders the means of communication between art and the viewer.

The performance exhibition is organized with the support of the New Theatre grant of Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation (2021) and the Open Stage grant of the Department of Culture of the City of Moscow (2021).

Theatre of Mutual Operations is an open collective of three artists and a producer: Lyosha Lobanov, Ksenia Peretrukhina, Shifra Kazhdan and Alexandra Mun. The visual component plays a key role in the group’s independent theater projects, which are produced without the authoritarian figure of a director. The Theater of Mutual Operations presented its debut show, The Museum of Extra-Terrestrial Intervention, in 2016. It was featured at the NET Festival in Moscow in 2017 and was nominated for the Golden Mask 2018 Award for Experimental Work. It was equally nominated for the Innovation Award in the field of contemporary art as the Project of the Year (2018). The performance was also presented at the V-A-C exhibition Hosting the Inhuman (ММОМА, 2017). In 2018 the Theatre of Mutual Operations was invited to work out the scenario for the first part of the exhibition General Rehearsal. Act I at Moscow Museum of Modern Art (V-A-C, Kadist, MMOMA) with the Seagull project; the same year their interactive installation and performance series Ten Years Older was featured at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, being part of the Dear Visitors... exhibition. In 2019 the Theatre’s project The True and Complete Story of Jack the Ripper was in the long-list of the Golden Mask, in 2021 their University of Birds performance was nominated for the Golden Mask Award for Experimental Work.

The Cold War is a project intended as both an exhibition available to visitors during the Museum open hours as an individual experience and a theatrical performance on stage when scheduled.

The premiere screenings of the play are part of the program of the New European Theater International Theater Festival.


4 December at 5 PM, 8PM
5 December at 8 PM
18 December at 5 PM, 8PM
19 December at 8 PM
Duration 60 minutes.