The Borshchoi Theatre and Piano Asylum, or modern art as seen by students

The Borshchoi Theatre and Piano Asylum, or modern art as seen by students
The Here and Now exhibition offers theatrical performances, sound and visual installations, and lectures. Mediators see to it that visitors do not get lost on the three floors of “art for the select few,” describing each project as if they were the ones to think it up.

On 1 August, the Manezh Exhibition Centre opened its doors to those who understand or want to understand modern art. A mere two months had passed from concept to implementation. Here and Now is the name of an exhibition boasting more than 50 projects.

Located on three floors, the display is made up of many squares/cells that collectively form a building with a hallway painted green, which is a project in its own right – Extraordinary Communication – which has been created by residents of the famous House on Legs.

Standing next to it is an oversized hospital bed shown as if through the eyes of a child. Similar, if much smaller, beds are used by the Morozov Children’s Hospital. An IV drip pole near the bed is equipped with a set of earphones instead of a bag, in which a child’s voice tells you about pediatric diseases. This is the ARTery project that focuses on what is seen by far from everyone.

Another cell contains a kitchen with a littered table in the middle that eaters have neglected to clear. There are plates with dried melon rind on a sticky tablecloth. A fly-catcher hangs above the table. It looks like the hostess is off for a minute and will be back soon to clean up the mess. A huge bowl of rich borshch (red-beet soup) with sour cream looms large near the table. Its walls are the Bolshoi in miniature. This is The Borshchoi Theatre by Anya Grebennikova.

The musician and composer Pyotr Aidu presents a different kind of house. His project, Piano Asylum, is a unique collection of discarded 19th- and early 20th-century pianos in a dark room.

The upper floor is dedicated to classical art. At least it looks like classical art at first glance. Vision, a mini exhibition by the Moscow conceptualist artist Irina Nakhova, shows how people look at pictures. The project incorporates five pictures from the collection of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, including Rembrandt’s Portrait of an Old Woman. Aided by modern technologies, Ms Nakhova shows how a viewer’s glance wanders over a picture, focusing on individual details.

Here and Now includes projects belonging to different genres of modern art. It’s easier to solve an integral equation than to make sense of all of them. But mediators are right there to help visitors. They are guides who describe each project as if they were the ones to think it up.

The organisers sought to find new artistic trends that bridge the gap between actual art and city life. Actual art is emerging as a language that professionals in different areas rather than artists alone use as a means of communication. 

The exhibition in the Manezh Centre will last until 20 August. Admission is free.

Content contributed by the First Student Agency.