FUNNY SOIL FRUTTI LAND
On December 3 OVCHARENKO gallery opened a personal exhibition of Alexander Tsikarishvili, one of the founders and leader of the St. Petersburg group "North-7". Over the past year, the artists have created several successful group projects, including the North exhibition at the M HKA Antwerp Museum of Contemporary Art as the winner of the Present Continuous 2018 Prize, as well as being shortlisted for the Innovation and Sergey Kuryokhin Prize. The fruitful year the artists decided to end with a series of solo exhibitions, which do not lose their inner connection and do not interrupt the mutual exchange of ideas between the members of the group.
The project "Funny Soil Frutti Land" sums up the intermediate result of a kind of creative research conducted by Alexander Tsikarishvili in recent years. From the phenomenon of "private eclecticism" - modern forms of folk self-realization and "decoration", which are characterized by a desire for sporadic collage of images, textures and disparate elements, deprived of familiar functionality, the artist moves to reflections on "exoticism". The question of exoticism is always the other side of any attempt to talk about nationalism. In his project, Alexander Tsikarishvili's characteristic poetic-absurdist manner emphasizes the peculiar commonality of the mechanisms of creating a national image: peasants and cowboys, serials and bananas, brilliant wrappers and homemade statues - all merged into a single lump, driven by the inertia of the media industry's machine.
The starting point for the project was a rethinking of the movement of tropicalism or tropicalism, which arose among the avant-garde Brazilian artists of the 1960s, and the idea of "cultural cannibalism" on which it was based. The artist continues the line of subsequent mutations that tropicalism has undergone, including a series of paradoxical parallels, mixtures and redefinitions of what Elio Otisica called "Tropicamp". Countless shades of earth and exotic fruits, ritual silent masks, golems and statues, Latin American Madonna and Carmen Miranda (Hollywood star and camp icon, called only 'tutti-frutti hat girl') form a crazy media-cliché carnival. Riding in the garbage, continuously produced by a media machine, the author collects his own "self-building", an absurd form that becomes a crooked mirror of the ideological mechanisms used to maintain and renew the national myth.