The exhibition combines three projects by Yevgeniy Fiks that question commonly accepted historical narratives of Soviet history and dispute or disrupt the post-1991 liberal status quo. Fiks’ projects about Soviet-era Russian gay argot/defense language, the representation of African and African American people in Soviet art, and the story Soviet Union’s Jewish Autonomous Region create a version of history that resists the oversimplification of the Soviet experience and the Soviet subject. The exhibition questions the assumptions about the totality and universality of the Soviet experience and proposes a notion of progressive revisionism as a way to address contemporary issues such as selective memory and nationalism of exclusion, without resorting to uncritical restorative nostalgia on the Left.
Yevgeniy Fiks is an artist born in Moscow in 1972, who has been living and working in New York since 1994. Fiks has produced many projects on the subject of the Post-Soviet dialogue in the West, among them: ‘Lenin for Your Library?’ in which he mailed V.I. Lenin’s text ‘Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism’ to one hundred global corporations as a donation to their corporate libraries; ‘Communist Party USA’, a series of portraits of current members of Communist Party USA, painted from life in the Party’s national headquarters in New York City; and ‘Communist Guide to New York City’, a series of photographs of buildings and public places in New York City that are connected to the history of the American Communist movement. Fiks’ work has been shown in the United States at Winkleman and Postmasters galleries, Mass MoCA, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art; in Moscow at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and Marat Guelman Gallery; as well as at Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros in Mexico City, and the Museu Colecção Berardo in Lisbon. His work has been included in the Biennale of Sydney (2008), Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2011), and Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art (2015).