Transfer explores the notions of consumption, historyand production of ritual artifacts by expanding Leonid Tsvetkov’s earlier explorations of history and material culture in Rome. In this new work, the artist shifts the focus to the religious and bodily artifact, as employed in everyday life.
This second exhibition at Ex Elettrofonica follows Downfall, a processual artwork conceived and developed during the artist’s residency at the American Academy in Rome in 2012-2013. Downfall explored the impact of waste on social and physical landscapes. After field research and a collaborative process in Testaccio — a popular neighborhood in Rome and home to the biggest waste site of antiquity — Downfall presented an exhibition displayed at the AAR. In this exhibition, casts of contemporary household packaging waste were integrated with the existing spoliain the front atrium of the Academy, inviting contemplation and dialogue through their counter-positioning. A second phase of the project forged a wider relationship to the cityscape and the historical sites of Rome by distributing the casts among dozens of historically significant sites of the city. Positioned so that they appear to belong among the ruins, the installation of the objects was designed to attract the gaze of the wondering tourists and to provoke Roman viewers to experience a double-take when coming across these in-place/out-of-place objects.
Following on Downfall, the exhibition Disturbances was conceived as a site-specific installation of column-like architectural elements, composed by stacked consumer waste casts and exhibited as the artist’s first solo show at the Ex Elettrofonica Gallery. Evoking classical architectural elements, drum columns and totems, thecolumns intervened in the architectural space, offering a striking commentary on our current “triumph” over nature, as encapsulated by our ability to control and mass produce products from every available resource.
With Transfer, Tsvetkov follows these earlier explorations by engaging anatomical ex-voto practice. The request for divine intervention by means of a votive offering, an ancient as well as a contemporary ritual, is juxtaposed in Transfer with the contemporary desire for a constant upgrade of the consumer object – from everyday use technology and electronics to the remaking of the body itself.
Artifacts presented in the exhibition are once again packaging casts; this time, however, the casts are of products related to the body: products, tools, and anatomical models used for study in medical school. The assemblage of these casts in the context of the gallery draws parallels with iconology of ideograms, text and code with hidden meaning and purpose, referencing the aspirational and instrumental character of textualized communication. The body is always fluctuating between a fragmented entity and an apparent whole, a phenomenon that is equally applicable to texts.The etymology of the word “metaphor” (from the Greek metapherein, to transfer) is translated into the title of the exhibition.
Leonid Tsvetkov (1980, Novgood, Russia). Education and Research: 2012 American Academy in Rome AFAAR, IT, 2010 Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, International Research Residency, NL, 2006 Yale University School of Art, MFA Painting/Printmaking Department. Main Exhibitions: 2016 Ca va aller. Analix Forever, Geneva, Switzerland; Atum Atum; RA foundation. group exhibition. Hanoi, Vietnam; TET ART art fair, solo exhibition. Hanoi, Vietnam; transACTION Sonsbeek’16; OXT project of Kevin van Braak; 2015 Borders. Lev Ilizirov e Leonid Tsvetkov, Amsterdam Art Weekend VZL/Contemporary Art; Homing II. Wilfried Lentz. Rotterdam, NL. 2014 WAEN, Assumburg, Hemskerk, NL; Hasselt-Genk Z-33, Hasselt, BE; Sammlung Ludwig, Bamberg, DE; 2013 Cinque Mostre, American Academy in Rome, IT; 2012 Moment of Now, 361Roma Associazione Culturale, Rome, IT; Back to the Future, CBKU, Utrecht, NL; 2011 What’s Next, Museum Tot Zover, Amsterdam, NL; MärklinWorld, Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, NL; Muro Tenente Archeological Park, Apulia, IT; Control Symposium presentation, KNAW, Amsterdam, NL; 2008 Metro Poles: Art in Action, Bronx River Art Center, New York, NY; Thursday The 12th, Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY; Blank, Beijing, China; 2007 Habitant, HGallery, Bangkok, Tailand; Sculpture Dimensions and Field Variable, San Vito al Tagliamento, IT; Carte Blanche, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, NY; Blank, Ke Contemporary Center for the Arts, Shanghai, China; Horizon, EFA Gallery, New York, NY; Short Stories, Photographs 1890-2006, Macy Art Gallery, New York, NY.