Marta & Slava Selected Projects 2009-2020

Selected Projects 2009-2020

4 September till 24 October 2021

On September 4th this oeuvre presentation Selected Projects opened in the corner space of Bureau Europa. Artist duo Marta Volkova and Slava Shevelenko bring together stories of lovesick cosmonauts and radical applications of European monuments and the heartbreaking story of the world's last yeti. This expo will amaze you as well as make you wonder where the divide lies between fact and fiction.

On Wednesday 6 October, Erik de Jong will talk with Marta and Slava about the malleability of history, the balance of fact and fabulation in modern Russia, and about how the West too has to deal with more and more alternative realities.

Selected Projects  In light of their new publication, Marta and Slava have installed a selection of their oeuvre in the Bureau Europa corner space. The book was presented on Saturday 4 September, 2 pm. Floor van Spaendonck interviewed the artist duo Marta Volkova and Slava Shevelenko about their works. 

Marta Volkova and Slava Shevelenko were born in the Soviet Union, that distant country which seems to exist only in history books - if it ever existed - and all their work seems to stem from this legendary beginning. In the era of fabulators, perverse mechanics of alternative facts and ill-intentioned fake news forgers, Marta & Slava are like story tellers: their work is expressed in vast narrative installations where, in their own words, “objects, images (drawings, paintings, photos), video projections and texts become the actors of a large-scale narration, like a film that one doesn’t see on a screen but in which one wanders...”. Their rich, multifaceted projects like to explore the boundaries between reality and fiction. Using subjects from the collective mythology - the Yeti, the so-called Tunguska meteorite in Siberia - they interweave these with moral, social, philosophical or political metaphors which in turn resonate with the realities of today’s world.

But that is not the only way their fables are different from the ranting of all those candidates wanting to manipulate history, some of which, in our own country, operate in broad daylight and on a large scale. Their art - the art of Marta & Slava - is recognizable by a very “Mitteleuropa” form of humour, both in its style as in its references, but above all in its melancholy: somewhere half- way between the pataphysical search for imaginary solutions, Keatons dry humour and the gentle despair of the brave soldier Schwejk. Visually, it is characterized by a breathtaking know-how that allows them to convince with the most offbeat objects - from an authentic flying carpet to insects taking the forms of money ,... all marked by a constant concern for beauty and by a playful and perfectly timely reflection on the world of art.

Marta & Slava talk with Erik de Jong On Wednesday 6 October, 5.30 pm Erik de Jong, professor of art theory at the Maastricht Art Academywill discuss with Marta and Slava. 

Being artists from Russia, whose work is rife with personal irony and humour, wonder and melancholy, Marta and Slava understand as no other that history is malleable. Especially in the former Soviet Union. Propaganda still is an important political fact in contemporary Russian culture. 

Marta and Slava's work though has become all the more important, now we live in the slipstream of American neo-conservatism, the shocking revelations done by WikiLeaks, and the lingering rhetoric of Donald Trump: the so-called Post Truth Era, in which alternative truths form a new reality that requires serious consideration. 

What does this mean for our conception of independence and objectivity, critique, integrity and idealism? And also important: what do Marta and Slava think?

You can join us for this lecture by writing to info@bureau-europa.nl, re: Marta & Slava.