In their 2008 video, The World of the Other, Dmitri Venkov and Baibakov Art Projects explore the idea of art as communication through the eyes of eight Russian contemporary artists. Art Radar takes a closer look at the documentary and the artists profiled in it.

Part II: Alexei Buldakov (22m:36s), 'The World of the Other', 2008. Video still.

Click here to view the entire documentary, titled The World of the Other / Мир другого, on Vimeo.

In its first year, in 2008, Baibakov Art Projects, an active non-profit organisation that focuses on the progress and promotion of education and various cultural projects in Moscow and abroad, produced The World of the Other, an art documentary which provided viewers with a taste of the trends present in the Russian art scene. Independent Moscow-based filmmaker Dmitri Venkov has produced this intimate yet casual 42-minute video in which Alina Gutkina, Gosha Ostretsov, Alexei Buldakov, Valery Chtak, ABC Group, Yulia Zhdanova, Dmitri Teselkin and Rostan Tavasiev introduce their unique artistic standpoints on the human need for connection.

Taking a look at the significance of communication in art, one is left to wonder, Is a genuine connection really possible, or are individual worlds completely closed off? The video, divided into three sections, ask the artists three questions.

  • What are you making?
  • Why are you an artist?
  • What are your standards of beauty?

Mixing interviews with clips of their creative processes, the director documents the artists as they explain their desire to unveil conduits of connection in an alienating environment. Although the artists have distinct principles, personalities and methods of expression, they share a deep need to relate to others.

Part I: Yulia Zhdanova (08m:09s), 'The World of the Other', 2008. Video still.

Conclusion (41m:30s), 'The World of the Other', 2008. Video still.

Art, they say, is a way of “deal[ing] with personal issues” (15m:06s), of showing how they think things should be (19m:44s) by externalising their inner issues in the material world (16m:16s). The very manner of constructing and de-constructing becomes a ritual of self-knowing, which in turn builds their thoughts and perspectives into something solid. Murals, paintings, sculptures and video installations then turn into vessels and bridges that carry and distribute pieces of themselves, taking them a step closer to the people around them. Value is often placed more on process and meaning than the aesthetics of the results, especially when it comes to contemporary art.

Art in general and contemporary in particular rebels against this, creating its own beauty. If you look for example at the Dada movement or the impressionists or the expressionists, these were viewed as an abomination in their time, but for us they are [things of] beauty. The same goes for contemporary art. It is a dialogue about beauty.

(Gosha Ostretsov, ‘The World of the Other’)

Three years from its initial posting, these eight artists have reached new heights as they continue to make and share art with the world. Be it in biennales, auctions or mere feature interviews, these individuals have held true to the intentions and voices revealed in The World of the Other. Since the video was made, Alina Gutkina has collected together a long list of solo and group exhibitions across Russia, Rostan Tavasiev has been a participant in numerous exhibitions across Europe and Gosha Ostretsov is currently represented by London-based gallery, Paradise Row.

Alina Gutkina, 'Industry of Actual Boys', 2011. Image courtesy the artist.

Rostan Tavasiev, 'Eight Hippos', 2010, 120 x 60 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

The video ends on a light note, leaving us with this reminder by Dmitri Teselkin:

The mere fact that art exists is a strange thing in itself. When you do something and you’re not sure what you’re doing or who might need it and you’re not trying to make money out of it, this is a very interesting thing. When anyone takes a pencil in his hands or a piece of clay or consciously says something unusual, I can’t help but call this art.

Do you think art succeeds in bridging the gap between the private worlds of individuals? Is this a necessary requirement of contemporary art production? Leave a comment below.

Related Topics: art videos,  Russian artists, exhibitions in Moscow, art and community

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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