Natalia Pankina for project "The minute before the awakening".

Part of this exterior is made of non-places, and parts of the non-places are made of images. Marc Augé

We must emphasize once again that  play does not exclude seriousness. Johan Huizinga

Introducing Egor Plotnikov’s body of work, we should start with the definition of a ‘non-place’ – a term coined by French anthropologist Marc Augé, whose supermodernity’s terminology has been greatly expanded since the publication of his essay Non-Places in 1995. Here we will define non-places as specific ‘alienated’ places without any existential implications.

n the one hand, the mere existence of non-places accentuates the reality itself and it may seem that techniques used in realistic art are perfectly appropriate to illustrate this. On the other hand, the realistic landscapes displayed within the context of the exhibition take the audience into the alternative reality.

sually non-places, being cognitively deficient spaces, suggest a limited ability to interact with them. Egor Plotnikov usually focuses his full attention on these seemingly inconsiderable sceneries and offers the audience to do the same.

ut in the The Minute Before Awakening artist sidetracks viewers’ attention away from the outer world, and the viewers zoom in on themselves pulled in another reality or identify themselves with a character, who will be living on behalf of them in the alternative reality, the reality of everything insignificant.

The viewer’s role is to be an observer and being observed at the same time: the viewers are compelled to identify themselves with one of the sculptures and then, in a new identity, the viewers navigate the exhibition and project themselves into the spaces created by the artist.

The main sculpture Sleeper refers not only to actually sleeping at a museum (although many people dream to spend a night at it) but to cognitive impairment typical for the relationship between people and non-places and often – between inexperienced viewers and a museum.

It’s as if the narrative of the exhibition is being downloaded together with the sleeping consciousness of a character (a viewer): fragmented memories caused by a familiar sight are coming up to the surface. The memories are giving very personal meaning to typical landscapes and to the museum, forgotten at the moment of emotional experience of the memories, and are transforming the non-place to a place, but only on the viewer’s mind.

The viewer wakes up only when an exit sign ahead his character lights on.

Daria Kamyshnikova for project "Insignificant"

Moscow Museum of Modern Art and School of Contemporary Art “Free Workshops” present Egor Plotnikov’s Insignificant exhibition within the program of support for young art MMOMA. The project contains an installation, based on paintings, frames and papier-mâché sculptures.

The Insignificant project by Egor Plotnikov continues the theme of interaction of the artwork and the space of the exhibition hall, launched by the artist in his projects “Great Stroll” and “Random Landscapes. Self-portrait”, which have been exhibited in Moscow in recent years. Using the apparent discrepancy between paintings and frames, Plotnikov creates tension, forcing the viewer to perceive a museum wall as an important part of the artwork.

The theme of interaction between art and the gallery space has been engrossing the minds of artists for more than a hundred years. Works by modernists became a catalyst for the creation of a new type of the exhibition space, White Cube, and immediately started a violent confrontation with it, creating tension between the artwork and the space or vice versa, transforming the gallery into a part of the painting plane. Yves Klein in the Void exhibition (1958) reduced the interaction to an absurdity, replacing the artwork with the gallery space itself. Further development of art finally transformed the exhibition into the message, and thus, made the gallery space and moreover the space of a museum of modern art sacred.

The Insignificant exhibition encourages the viewer to think about what Art is. Does it imply artworks, exhibited in the museum halls, or do museum walls themselves, carrying the artworks, give them additional meanings? Plotnikov puts small, fragmented, unrelated landscape paintings in large vintage frames. Thus, the artist makes the wall an accomplice of his artistic message, encourages the viewer to revalue the existing schemes of visual contact with the art.