• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

'Comrades of Light' Exhibition Opens at HSE Art Gallery

On June 18, the HSE Art Gallery opened a new exhibition, Comrades of Light, a full-scale installation simulating the space of a Soviet apartment with barely noticeable mutations and distortions. Within this space an alternative history of the Soviet Union unfolds on a sequence of matchbox labels, some of which are copies of real labels from the 1950-80s, and some of which are the creations of project authors Alexandra Kuzetsova and Darya Dolgopolova.

The exhibition’s mythical, almost fairy-tale-like story centers on the discovery of ‘autotrophy’—whereby organisms (autotrophs) subsist on inorganic substances through the process of photosynthesis or chemosynthesis. After the revolution, Vladimir Lenin ordered research in this area and provided support for a large number of scientists. The scientists in turn managed to achieve complete human independence from biological food and turn solar and electric light into the Soviet citizenry’s sole source of nourishment.

With these scientific advances, the GOELRO (State Commission for Electrification of Russia) plan was created. Rather than ‘illuminate’, the plan sought to ‘feed’ the entire nation. Soviet citizens became ‘Comrades of Light’ of the USSSR—the Union of Soviet Socialist Solar Republics—where land cultivation was longer be needed, plant growing became an art in itself, and the builders of communism were free to devote all of their efforts to eternal creative labor.

This labor soon yielded its fruits. After the entire population mastered autotrophy by the 1940s, incredible leaps were made in conquering space and the colonizing nearby planets with biosphere settlements.

The viewer is invited to check all the presented facts, explore where reality ends and fiction begins, and witness how easy it is to generate a mythical reality using a combination of original documents and borrowed stylistic features of a past era.

Graham Harman, a philosopher of speculative realism, argues that intangible and unrealistic objects affect reality just as much as real ones do. This means that ‘fairies, nymphs, and utopias can be examined under the same conditions as sailboats.’ If you apply this idea to Russian history of the twentieth century, all futuristic fantasies, Soviet propaganda exaggerations, unexecuted architectural designs, and unfulfilled space and engineering programmes, constitute a ‘project’ of an unrealized reality and unachieved future, which we perceive partly as something that was, and partly as an alternative reality—a future that never came and got lost somewhere in the past.

The exhibition Comrades of Light is a fiction constructed in Soviet utopia, where the most farfetched state projects have been achieved, and the illuminating future has arrived.

In constructing a heterochrony and heterotopia within the Soviet project, the authors highlight the absurdity of the past epoch and explore the impact of its endless exaggerations and substitutions, which are presented in all seriousness, with documental support and propagandistic pathos—characteristic not only of the past’s unrealized future, but of our current moment as well.

About the authors:

Alexandra Kuznetsova is the academic supervisor of the ‘Design’ programme. She served on the project as both a curator and artist.

Daria Dolgopolova is an alumna of the HSE Master's programme in ‘Design’ with a profile in ‘Art Direction’. Serving as a designer and illustrator for the project, Dologopolova created the graphic dimension of the exhibition space, designed the exhibition’s overall style, and collaborated on the creation of the labels. Her work on the exhibition constitutes her thesis project.

Admission to the exhibition is free.

Exhibition dates: June 19 - August 15 (Wed - Sun, 12:00 - 20:00)

Address: 12 Malaya Pionerskaya (metro station Paveletskaya)

See also:

‘The HSE ART GALLERY Is Not Just a Place You Visit During the Semester, but a Full-Fledged Gallery’

September marks the one-year anniversary of HSE’s gallery of contemporary art, HSE ART GALLERY – an exhibition space for the HSE Art and Design School. HSE News Service spoke with gallery participants about the gallery’s first exhibition of the new season, the gallery’s future plans, and student art.

Project Highlights from HSE’s Master’s Programme in Fashion

Over the past year our students and graduates of the Master’s Programme ‘Fashion’ participated in a diverse array of projects. The emerging designers put on two of their own fashion shows at Rizhsky Station as part of Arts Night 2018 as well as the large festival Telling Stories, participated in exhibitions, collaborated with prominent brand names, and opened a joint showroom in the Klebozavod (Bread Factory) space.

A New Art Gallery, New Programmes and an Exhibition at the Museum of Moscow

The HSE ART AND DESIGN Festival, which was held at the Museum of Moscow, served as the final exam for students of HSE’s School of Art and Design. On the final day of the festival, undergraduate and graduate students of the ‘Fashion’ programme presented more than a hundred of pieces of their own design in a fashion show. HSE News Service covered the event.

Museum of Moscow to Host Graduation Festival by HSE Art and Design School

From June 20 to 27, the Museum of Moscow and the HSE Art and Design School will hold the HSE ART AND DESIGN Festival 2019, a graduation show. The project authors and curators for the event are HSE Art and Design School students, graduates and lecturers.

HSE Lyceum Sophomore Creates Video Short for Museum of Moscow Exhibition

A video created by Polina Sotnikova, a student of the ‘Design’ programme at the HSE Lyceum, is being shown as part of the interactive exhibit Gogol in Moscow, which runs until June 2. The work, created in a motion design style, is currently being shown in the museum’s exhibit hall, which attracted tens of thousands of people on Museum Night.

Telling Stories Festival to Spotlight Current Global Media Trends

On May 17 and 18, the annual Telling Stories festival, organized by the Faculty of Communications, Media and Design, will take place in Moscow. Festival guests will be able to attend a public talk with a Hollywood director, learn how to create their own successful micromedia, see a theater performance by HSE students and much more. Entry to all of the festival events is free.

Adidas Bomber Jacket Patch Design Competition Now Open at HSE

HSE students are invited to participate in a design competition in which a series of three illustrations will be selected. Submissions will be accepted until May 22. The winning patch projects will be set in the form of stripes on adidas bomber jackets. The author of the best work will travel to the head office of adidas in Germany.

HSE Student Among Four Winners of Fred Perry Contest

Polina Parygina, a fourth-year student at HSE University’s School of Art and Design majoring in Communication Design, is one of four illustrators selected worldwide by the famous clothes brand Fred Perry for the international Record Store Day 2019. In honour of the holiday, music stores around the world are distributing satchels bearing graphic illustrations she has designed.

Ideal Form: I Shape My World

From March 8th to April 7th, 2019 HSE ART GALLERY is hosting a large-scale exhibition on the topic of Women Who Change the World. This joint project by HSE ART GALLERY and LEVI`S® has given HSE Art and Design School students the opportunity to realize their ideas on this important theme.

Telling Stories Festival to Be Organized by HSE for the Second Time

On May 17 and 18, 2019 the HSE Faculty of Communications, Media and Design is organizing its second annual Telling Stories festival. The event attracts renowned film directors, producers, photographers, curators of international projects, and trend-setting designers.