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Collaborations: Social Utopias | Chto Delat

mumok insider

As part of the current exhibition Collaborations, we present selected works over the summer. After the couple as the smallest collaborative unit and the group for example in the form of artist associations, we now focus on social utopias. Under this headline, we look at works that deal with or provoke exemplary forms of the communal, exploring the emancipatory potential of art.

Chto Delat
Untitled (Tatlin Tower), 2013

Born as an architectural project for the never realized headquarters of the Comintern, which was to be built in Petrograd after the revolution of 1917, the model of the Monument to the Third International by Vladimir Tatlin has symbolized for decades the ideals of modernity and equality. The quotation created by Chto Delat, a Russian collective of artists, critics, and philosophers, founded in 2003, plays on the reversal of meaning, representing the end of utopia. The small dimensions, together with the ephemeral materials and the precariousness of the artifact, describe the decline of the socialist dream and the instability of contemporary Russian society, deconstructed of its values and subjected to the speculation of capital.
In many of Chto Delat’s works the awareness of failure is the generative principle of a new value system. Through the use of different media—from the most traditional languages of the visual to more hybrid and immaterial artistic forms—the collective has carried out a tight critique of the economic, social, and cultural policies of its country, even resorting to real protest actions, as when, in 2014, its members refused to participate in the tenth edition of Manifesta, in St. Petersburg, to denounce the arms race and the Russian military intervention in Crimea.

Lorenzo Giusti


The texts published in this series were written for the catalogue Collaborations. Find the catalogue here.