Gosha Ostretsov : I’ve Been Abducted Hundreds of Times.
An Archeology of the Future.
Curator : Simon Njami
09.05-30.06.2017 / Palazzo Nani Bernardo
Calle Bernardo, Sestiere Dorsoduro Civico
3197, Venise, Italie
This exhibition by Gosha Ostretsov, curated by Simon Njami, is a hallucination, a heterochrony, the archaeology of the future. Using the specific world of an artist, it will present history as a script in which components complement each other, break up and conduct a dialogue. These components are an Italian renaissance palazzo, relics of Soviet-era culture, archives, the interstellar flight, literature and, of course, the plasticity of Venice hosting the best examples of contemporary art from around the world. We have put our heads together to tell you a story where everyone can nd himself or herself, a story of all forms and all periods in human history
Science fiction writers have always tried to invent a future that is beyond the reach of man, a future that is part of a futuristic picture of the world that is beyond the temporal framework of the present. This enterprise has always been doomed, because it was limited by these writers’ striving to project reality into the future. They cannot reach the level of pure creation, the level when you can project yourself into the unknown. Man is naturally limited by what he knows.
He can imagine the future only as a pale refection of the present. This is why science fiction is all lies and fakes that never look really convincing.
Gosha Ostretsov was certainly aware of this fatal aw when he created the works presented at this exhibition. He has no sympathy for those who are dreaming of a different world, let alone spiritualists such as Helena Blavatsky, who organized the Theosophical Society in the late 19th century and claimed that the discoveries of “materialist” science had been anticipated in the writings of ancient sages. Ostretsov’s intention is not to know – this brings us back to the limitations of science ficction – who invented the future and what it will be like, but to embrace as many dimensions as possible in a concrete and palpable replication, to be a visionary who is not seeing some metaphysical dimensions of the creation but the world around us, as Maurice Merleau-Ponty put it: “The enigma derives from the fact that my body simultaneously sees and is seen. That which looks at all things can also look at itself and recognize, in what it sees, the ‹other side› of its power of looking.”
Without a doubt, it is this hyper-vision that the artist describes as abduction: “Having been abducted hundreds of times, I can assure you of the fallacy of the formula according to which there is only the present, a formula much beloved by philosophers and mystics, including Russian philosopher and spiritualist Helena Blavatsky.” Abduction is certainly a metaphor used to describe the artist’s ability to see according to Merleau- Ponty. This ability gives him a sense of ubiquitousness, the ability to be present in different spatial and temporal media at the same time. In functional anatomy, abduction refers to a motion that pulls extremities away from the midline of the body. In other words, this motion implies leaving the comfort zone in a bid to develop a new vision.
Each artist is subject to abduction, which means that they have the ability to project themselves into different worlds. But Ostret- sov is completely aware of having this ability. To highlight this, he has deliberately embraced pop art, which, in his case, has acquired the true meaning of the word “popular” as distinct from the one used in the history of art. The aesthetics of his choice reflects on popular cartoons, characters and television serials. We see a desire to put
a distance between himself and the codification of the art, which has proved to have a limited ability. Instead of pushing the spec- tator towards an intellectual analysis, he is using seemingly insignificant materials, which nevertheless have a powerful physical and psychological effect on the spectator.
This exhibition – personally, I see it as a travelogue – represents a well argumented criticism of our society, our zest for consumption and the short-sighted politics of our leaders, as well as a manifesto of human ecology. We are rushing hither and thither like wild animals, like the time-anxious White Rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, who is always afraid of being too late for a very important date. In short, I would rather see this exhibition as retrospection, as archaeology of the future, which tells us about the things other “men have only dreamed they saw” as Arthur Rimbaud wrote.
Ostretsov is laughing at time, joyously intertwining the past with the future so as to give us a clearer view of the present.