July 7, 1998

realplayerSt. Petersburg Jazz
by Vyacheslav Gayvoronsky.
Film still
The Silver Heads
(3:07 min. RealVideo clip
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YEVGENIY YUFIT is a founding member of the St. Petersburg art movement, Necrorealism. These artists focus on the purgatory where life and death overlap. As psychoanalyst Viktor Mazin puts it, Necrorealism deals with "the mutual contamination of life and death."

Mutants and trees Yufit recently completed a Necrorealist work, The Silver Heads (1998). The black and white feature film tells the story of a Soviet era experiment designed to create an improved version of a human being.

Mutants and trees
(from The Silver Heads)

Genetic, social, and psychoanalytic programs dictate the solution: hybridize a person with a tree. Instead of knocking some sense into people, Yufit's scientists plot to pound some wood into them.

realplayerHybridization of Human and Tree (1:24 min. RealVideo clip)

Yufit explains: "The declared program of the Soviet Union was the creation of a superior human being. More than just an improvement the Communist State promised the evolution of a new creature, something different and better than a human. Just like the American system."

London could not let that pass. "America does not try to transform anybody. That's an individual's job. America only provides the means, and at times the encouragement, for individuals to improve themselves."

Yufit, musing about Necrorealism and America
realplayerClip from music video My Pain by DJ Groove
(1:42 min. RealVideo clip)

Artist ANDRUS VENTSLOVA works with a charivari of mediums. As a VJ, live camera, Internet, TV, satellite, all are grist for his video mix. Some mixes morph into his music videos.



Russians are filled with nostalgia for the past. One of the fondest memories imbedded in popular culture is the TV series of the 1970's, Seventeen Moments of Spring. The hero is a Russian improvement on James Bond--he's intelligent, faithful to his wife, and loves dogs. Despite these moral strictures, he gets the bad guys, and the Nazis too.

The hero is a secret service agent operating in Germany. In one episode he has not seen his wife for four years. The Russian government has arranged a meeting for the pining couple, but they can only look at one another, lest a single word betray them. Viewers know all of this because a voice over reveals the hero's noble thoughts. What would pass through his mind when he found himself the lead in a Ventslova music video?

realplayerClip from music video Spy by AOK

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©1998 The Museum of Modern Art, New York