Recently, the St Petersburg based artists Gluklya & Tsaplya (FNO) discovered and bought the personal archive of a man called Igor Vikhorev — an amateur/outsider photographer most active in the early seventies, now passed away. This archive is the starting point for their work Igor´s Mania, presented at ART MOSCOW 2007.
Vikhorev´s archive is by turns surreal, fetishistic, and unsettling. It consists of a family album and black & white photo-montages. The latter combines backdrops including the circus, the Zoo and ornate places, with ladies from forbidden western magazines variously straddling roaring tigers, grown men, bikini clad bathers, and coolies. The photos are the graphic illustration of Vikhorev´s erotic fantasies, charged with his highly idiosyncratic vision. In a sense, the family album from the 1960s functions as a sketchbook for his photo-montage. In it his wife is recorded riding him, their animals, and standing atop other domestic objects. A `normal´ woman, she eventually left Vikhorev, taking their children with her. The artist, known as a charismatic man, subsequently drank himself to death.
Gluklya & Tsaplya, two of Russia´s most promising young artists, whose works deals with male-female relationships, became interested in the implicit gynophobia of Vikhorev´s photo-montage. Why they wonder, did he choose to render women in such dominating positions? It was soon clear to them that his images were perfectly indicative of the Russian caricature of feminism.
The artists have decided to offer the public the chance to recreate Vikhorev´s fantastic scenes. They have set up a Soviet-style photo atelier in which `clients´ can have a consultation with them in order to decide which of Vikhorev´s situations — displayed on the wall — to be photographed in. Within their atmospheric studio, Gluklya & Tsaplya promise that the consultation will be stimulating and that the photographic results unique.
Project is supported by White Space Gallery, St Peter´s Church, Vere Street London W1G ODQ, UK
Gluklya, Tsaplya, and Igor Vikhorev