MOSCOW.-The Moscow Museum of Modern Art presents Yakov Kazhdan - 233ºC - A personal show, on view through September 14, 2008. Artist Yakov Kazhdan is well known to the Moscow audience: nominated for the Innovation award as a young artist and one of the prize-winners of the Izolenta festival, he took part in numerous video festivals and group exhibitions in Russia, Germany, Belgium, and the USA. He was one of the publics favourites at the Pusto festival and now is an acclaimed video-artist, whose works are on display at major Moscow museums and private collections abroad. His popularity is mainly due to the videos and installations that explore the publicity phenomenon and its contact with the collective unconscious.
The new show demonstrates his earlier works of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Then Kazhdan was engaged in performances with paper clothing as the main feature. 233°C is the equivalent to 451°F the temperature when paper burns, praised by Bradbury and Truffaut.
The idea of the show began with a new full-length film that became an important auto-biographical experiment for the artist. The movie points at the thin verge between a personal emotion and a creative fact. The main character of the film is a student who becomes artist through a romantic affair; his creative method involves performances with paper clothing. Having reached some success, the hero finds himself in a situation when he has to decide what is most important in his life. And the symbolic limit of 233°C plays a crucial role here.
The 233°C show unites practically all projects by Yakov Kazhdan, executed before 2002: A Golden Introduction to the Golem Ballet, Peer Gynt, The Bible Project, Long Live Tatlins Art!, Zero de Conduite, Paper Wedding, Dream, Wild Swans, Communication Food and even a short performance that had been presented by Timur P. Novikov at a concert of the New Academy in 1999. The video-documentations stand along with real artifacts of the performances paper dresses and costumes mummified forever in slender plastic boxes, almost like Warhols time capsules.
These objects speak of the careful work with fragile material that sometimes takes up to several months and all this for the sake of one performance. Time becomes the central theme of the paper creation. An attempt to create a momentary image that will never occur again is like an attempt to create videos without the very video technology, which always requires preparation and cutting but can be watched in a short time.
The baroque exuberance of the images and the paper clothes themselves have been the reason to compare Yakov Kazhdan to a fashion designer, which he has never been nor wished to be. His provoking performances are similar to the theatre. This interdisciplinary approach brings Kazhdans work to various fields of cultural process. His performances were shown on catwalks, at galleries, on TV, at theatres and even nightclubs. However, artistic endeavor and original language put these pieces into the context of contemporary art.
The naïve sincerity of the 90s will never be reborn, the dresses cannot be worn again not the least because the temperature of the time has changed. The very 233°C mark the border between the 90s and the 00s, and the Dead Cat movie takes the finale in the fire of paper dresses.