Dreaming of Andy and the Times Changed

Veronica Shimanovskaya. Dreaming of Andy and the Times Changed 04, 2021. Digital video still image.

Originally conceived as a 9-screen video projection immersive installation (each screen ±2200 x 2650 cm, there are some other configurations possible). Its similar but not identical audio tracks create a polyphonic syncopated audio in the exhibition space. It’s a poetic reflection on the state of our world from the sanctuary of personal space as an artist. Formally seen through the lens of a perceived sixties’ pop culture New York, and a tribute to the world of its phenomenon – Andy Warhol.

The piece is a contemplation on how much our world has changed since the sixties, to the point that we can all be underwater some time soon. ‘Ophelia’ or eternal feminine being a main image is a musing on the role and fate of women of now and then. It references a universal feeling we all may have, independently of our social and gender position, of being ‘underwater’ in our individual struggles. Water takes the role of both a metaphor and an element of which the planet and its inhabitants’ life depends completely.

Inspired by Andy’s use of the printmaking technique that yields various derivative results from the same image printed in a different way, as in the case of the iconic Marilyn Monroe print series, I used video filters in the similar way. It was a reflection on both a personal transformation and the global change that is affecting all of us in the most dramatic way. (the grain in the image is also a reference to the image quality in the 60ss)

The process of applying video filters to the same footage has brought a completely different world of the sixties into an almost nostalgic forefront. And, as I was working on the soundtrack, I have settled on Erik Satie Gymnopédie No.1, and the Velvet Underground. 

Interesting to note: I am not a scholar of Andy Warhol, and when I started this work, I learned that Erik Satie’s Vexations (1.5 minutes long and played continuously for 18 hours) was an inspiration for Andy’s film ‘Sleep’. 

“On Sunday, May 27, 2007 the Tate Modern in London showed Andy Warhol’s Sleep accompanied by Erik Satie’s Vexations from 7:30 pm to 3:00 pm the following day as part of their “Long Weekend” series. Pianists included Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman, Joshua Rifkin and Tania Chen. The event was introduced with a special performance by John Giorno and a panel discussion was also held which included the writer Branden W Joseph. The blurb for the event claimed that “Warhol was inspired to complete the film [Sleep] with a new repetitive editing structure after attending the writer and composer John Cage’s (1912–92) historic 1963 performance at the Pocket Theatre in New York of the French composer Erik Satie’s (1866–1925) epic repetitive work for piano, Vexations, 1893.” In 2008 the claim was repeated by Emma Lavigne, curator at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, who wrote in an essay published in the Warhol Live exhibition catalogue that the impact made by the Vexations concert “was decisive and inspired the artist to the unprecedented, repetitive structure of the film Sleep (1963).” However, there is no documentary evidence that Warhol actually attended the concert or that the concert did indeed “inspire” him to construct his film with a “new” repetitive structure.

John Cale, one of the pianists at the 1963 Vexations concert and later a member of the Velvet Underground, managed by Andy Warhol, recalls the circumstances of the concert in his autobiography but does not mention Warhol being there.”

Although Cage did not recall Warhol being at Vexations, the writer George Plimpton claimed that Warhol was, indeed, there. According to Plimpton, Warhol told him he had attended “the whole thing.””I remember riding in a large freight elevator with Andy in the early Sixties – it may have been the one that rose slowly to the Factory – and mentioning in passing that I had been reading an account in The New Yorker of an Erik Satie musical composition being played over and over for eighteen hours by relays of pianists in a recital room in Carnegie Hall. Apparently the composer had specified that this was how he wanted the piece – which was only a minute and a half long – performed. I mentioned it to Andy only because I thought he might be vaguely interested – after all, he was doing these eight-hour films of people sleeping. It never occurred to me that he knew of his concert, or of Satie, since it wouldn’t have surprised me a bit if he’d never heard of Satie. His reaction startled me. He said ‘Ohhh, ohhh, ohhh!’ I’d never seen his face so animated. It made a distinct impression. Between ohhh’s he told me that he’d actually gone to the concert and sat through the whole thing. He couldn’t have been more delighted to be telling me about it.” (source: https://warholstars.org/andy_warhol_sleep_vexations.html)

Altered Scores @Arts Benicia

Veronica Shimanovskaya. Ferenz Liszt @ Vallejo Symphony, 2021. 24×36″ Paper, music scores.

Altered Scores

Exhibition Dates: July 24 – August 21, 2021

Altered Scores is an exhibition and fundraiser sponsored collaboratively between Arts Benicia and the Vallejo Symphony The exhibition will feature artwork incorporating musical scores provided by the Vallejo Symphony.

Memory and Landscape

(Featured in The Sunday Tribune /2020/02/09/ Baltica-part-1-video-works/

The Sunday Tribune, February 21, 2020)

As diverse a group of artists as the countries of the Baltic Rim are being brought together by another artist, Jude Cowan Montague, for a group exhibition in London in the last week of January of 2020. All of them have something in common: a connection or an inspiration that has come from the region. Artists from Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Russia and France are tracing their memories and visions, and bringing them together in one space.

I was showing my installation dedicated to my city of birth Saint Petersburg. I grew up on the Gulf of Finland and the delta of the river Neva with the backdrops of the settings of St. Petersburg, a city that changed its name more than once. Perhaps because of this I learned not to form attachments to the names given, but rather to look for and to attune to the essence of the place.

Passing By. Sky. 2020, Installation with projectors and sails.

Where the clouds are born

An exhibition dedicated to the modern time Ulysses – Lafkadio Hearn, the exhibition curated by Maria Papatzelou opened at Thessaloniki Art Week 2018. It since was shown at the Embassy of Japan in L in June on 2019, and is being transferred to Kobe, Japan in August 2019. My piece Befogged is shown there, as a moving image in Greece, and as a digital photograph at the Kobe Municipal Art Centre. Digital print version of this work received Mayor of Kobe Prize in August 2019.

Befogged, 2017. Digital image. © Shimanovskaya

Venice 2019. Altering Perspective: Manifesto of Presentismo and Miniscule Venice.

Manifesto of Presentism, art action. Veronica Shimanovskaya. Piazza di San Marco. 9 May, 2019. Video documentation courtesy of India Roper-Evans.

In the midst of pre-biannual festivities and two days before the official opening of major exhibitions, on the 74th Anniversary of V-Day (as it’s celebrated in Russia), and about 110 years after a similar event happened at the same place, a few handfuls of leaflets containing a message of love and awareness were launched from the top of San Marco Campanile. Marinetti style.

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, a well known poet and an ideologue of the Futurist Movement, hurled his Futurist Manifesto from San Marco Campanile a year after it was published in the Figaro in 1909. It embodied the attitude and pathos of the future 20th century that had recently begun.

Eleven points of the Manifesto sung “the love of danger,” “the punch and the slap,” “the beauty of speed,” “the man at the wheel, who hurls the lance of his spirit across the Earth,” while “…glorify[ing] war — the world’s only hygiene — militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman.” It promised to “…destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind, […] fight moralism, feminism, every opportunistic or utilitarian cowardice,” and pledged ‘defiance to the stars’. Sounds familiar?

The militant hubris of the thirty-three year old man was indeed a manifestation of that time in human history that knew little of the horrors of revolutions, world wars, and mass murders on an industrial scale. The 20th century of two world wars, the atomic bomb, and consumerist societies followed. That pathos and attitude picked up from the poetics of the early industrial era landed us where we are now: in a dehumanized environment of insatiable corporate greed, senseless economic expansion, soil and air pollution, refugees crisis, the rise of right-wing politics, and emerging realization of our responsibility for what has happened to us.

That realization as much as any inspired a counter manifesto, or better yet a proclamation of art as a manifestation of love, and the future as a posit of the present, being as it is dependent on our action at any present given moment. Thus my tongue-in-cheek Manifesto of Presentism flew down off of San Marco Campanile in hopes of spreading the message of art being ‘the food of love’ and love being ‘the food of the present.’ The action organically became a part of the Void, a clandestine operation of the group of artists participating in the EMPIRE II series of art shows curated by Vanya Balogh, and yet another perspective-changing exhibition — Miniscule Venice, another exhibition in which I took part.*

The ability to change attitudes and perspectives is one of the features of art, and there was a show that did just that. Widely covered in the media (La Nuova di Venezia e MestreThe QuietusForbesartlyst.com), it is unique in the whole of the Biennale, as it is a behaviour-altering piece on its own. Wandering down via Garibaldi between the main exhibitions of Giardini and Arsenale, a Miniscule Venice spectator can’t just brush through, glance around and leave, but is compelled to slow down and pay close attention. The difference is scale. The point of view.

Over 100 artists from all over the world brought together by an artist and a virtuoso curator, Vanya Balogh, created miniature sculptures the size of the matchbox. Some utilized the features of the matchbox form itself, some just adhered to the size limitation. Whether discovering the ‘scaling down’, or just unearthing miniature works created before, the joy of making the pieces was palpable in the small gallery at the Fondamenta Sant’Anna. ‘Mon petit miniscule’ attesting to the loss of value of the human and personal in the course of the global conquest declared and sung by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909. All the pieces are unique in the use of material, some a combination of the ready-mades, some newly created from scratch. (read full article at www.ephemereye.com

Amazing Adventures of EMPIRE II

Taking part in EMPIRE II multi-artist video project curated by Vanya Balogh was a two year journey through work, cities, and unexpected encounters. Launched in Brussels in 2017, the exhibition stopped for the last showing at MACO, a Contemporary Art Museum in Oaxaca, Mexico. It grew in scope and added more work, the showing in Mexico included artists workshops at the museum.

Tampering. Digital Image. EMPIRE II at Tallinn Art Week. © Veronica Shimanovskaya

 

 

 

Atina. 2017-18.

 

For second time in two years, I spend the last two weeks of August in Atina, Lazio. Mysterious lands, the city of Saturn, brilliant friends and colleagues inspired a few pieces from sculpture to video, or all the way around.

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Installing in Palazzo Ducale, Atina. 2018. Il nido/Nest. In situ.

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Il nido/Nest, 2018. After the show. In situ.

Sheep and their sense of colour. 2017-18.

I passi che facciamo. 2018.