In the best of all possible worlds one would hope to find works of art that are both visually engaging and layered with meaning. Of 136 artists or groups of artists featured in the International exhibitions, very few made me pause. One of them was Russia’s Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya Gluklya, who contributed a suite of clothes and placards for an anti-Putin demonstration, with many surreal, startling touches. Considering the treatment dished out to the band, Pussy Riot, Gluklya’s work was as politically edgy as anything in the show, but also witty and inventive.
It fills us with pride to say that Okwui Enwezor’s exhibition All the World’s Futures, currently at the Venice Biennale and displaying the work of Gluklya, is appreciated as being “frighteningly necessary.”
Artspace writes the following: In this show, Enwezor has tapped an impressive number of artists who ignore the market enough to speak truth to power—sometimes to the extent that it’s not obvious that what they’re doing is art. Their ethos may be best summarized by the Russian artist known as Gluklya, who co-wrote a 2002 manifesto declaring that “The place of the artist is by the side of the weak.” Her work, featured in the show, has been characterized by an exploration of the nature of public and private space in Putin’s Russia.
GLUKLYA / Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya, Clothes for the demonstration against false election of Vladimir Putin, 2011-2015, textile, hand writing, wood, Courtesy AKINCI Amsterdam, sponsored by V-A-C Foundation, Moscow.