Fragments of Moscow

7 October – 4 November 2015

A site-specific installation by Vladislav Efimov. This is the artist’s second show in the UK after his successful exhibition "Safety factor" hosted by Ravenscourt Galleries in 2011.

The installation is based on an ongoing photography project started by Efimov in 2008.

In this work for Pushkin House, detailed views of Moscow interact with the urban life of London. Translucent images fit into the frames of the original sash windows of Pushkin House, overlooking a busy Bloomsbury Square, to be viewed from the interior in daylight and from the exterior of the building at night. Inside, in the building, a historic London interior is transformed by hundreds of circular images of fragments of Moscow. Downstairs, a film shows 9,999 frames of Moscow images from the whole life of the project by Efimov. The installation reflects on the identity of Pushkin House as a London home for Russian art and culture.

Efimov’s cityscapes of Russia’s capital are not glossy expressions of patriotic pride. They reflect the casual, unsentimental view from the streets and pavements of a familiar, long-term Muscovite. The camera is held at waist level, creating images without distant horizons or wide perspectives. Often the eye of the camera is trained straight on to a brick wall, or on to an architectural detail on a marginal building. Just occasionally, there is a fragment of sky.

There is no life depicted here: no people, no cats or dogs; even birds are excluded from these views of the city. Only architecture is in focus: not the architecture of strength and power, but the architecture of Moscow as it is experienced by people who live there. Efimov depicts the architecture of Moscow in its unsettling contrasts, seen all the more explicitly when ‘displaced’ into the context of Central London. We believe that the architecture of a city derives its forms from the ideas circulating in the society which lives there. How do we perceive the architecture of Moscow, viewed through the windows of a house in Bloomsbury?

Vladislav Efimov is an internationally known Russian artist who works with photography, video and interactive installation. From 1994 to 2010 he worked in collaboration with Aristarkh Chernyshev. He teaches at the Rodchenko School of Photography, one of Moscow’s most important schools of contemporary art. He has participated in group shows in Russia and abroad and has had many personal exhibitions in galleries and museums in Moscow, St Petersburg and elsewhere in Europe. He was shortlisted for Kandinsky Prise in 2014 and won Innovatsiya Prize in 2009. His works are in the collections of the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg; the Beaubourg Centre in Paris; the Moscow Museum of Modern Art; the National Center for Contemporary Art (NCCA) in Moscow; the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, and many private collections.