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The End of the USSR

A part of the installation ‘The End of the USSR’

On 19 August 1991, there was an attempted coup d'état in Moscow. Thirty years after the August coup, we look back at the era of the 1990s and consider how the past has influenced our present, whether it still influences the future and who the children of the 1990s have become. In addition, one of Noôdome's spaces will be transformed into a pop-up gallery for almost a month. Together with the artist Pavel Pepperstein, the installation ‘The End of the USSR’ by the group Inspection Medical Hermeneutics will be unveiled the same day. The work is in two parts and presents the artists' view of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Pavel Pepperstein
Russian artist, writer, contemporary art theorist, co-founder of the art group Inspection Medical Hermeneutics. A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Pavel is a founding member of the group Inspection Medical Hermeneutics (1987-2001). Since 1989, he has been an independent artist, writer, critic and rap artist. His solo exhibitions have been held at the State Russian Museum (together with Ivan Dmitriev), the Art Museum of Basel and the Multimedia Art Museum among others. Pavel Pepperstein is the winner of the Kandinsky Prize in the category "Project of the Year".
Daria Tishkova
curator, artist, painting restorer. Graduate of the Stroganov Moscow State Academy of Arts and Industry and the joint master's programme "Curatorial Practices in Contemporary Art" at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and the Higher School of Economics. Daria is the author of the opera Vada (Water). This project has participated in the Moscow International Biennale of Young Art, the BRUSFEST festival at the New Tretyakovka and the Stockholm Independent Art Fair SUPERMARKET. Daria Tishkova is the curator of the Petanque Galaxy Space Art Festival in Gorky Park, and the exhibition Comfort and Reason at the Museum of Moscow.
August 19, 1991, is not simply a historical date that has been assigned to the August Putsch, it is an epochal event and a turning point in the country's history. It is first and foremost a personal story for everyone who was born back in the old world. And for each of us, it means something different. However, art is able to transform individual experience into an artistic image that can bring viewers together in shared contemplation and experience.

Behind every work of art there is always the story of its creator. The group Inspection Medical Hermeneutics originated in 1987 from the friendship of three artists: Pavel Pepperstein, Sergey Anufriev and Yuri Leiderman. In 1991, in the place of Yuri Leiderman, Vladimir Fedot Fedorov joined the team. Existing until 2001, they themselves became an artefact of an era woven of contradictions from the 1990s, which, lacking the inner integrity of an era subject to a unified logic of historical development, represented a kind of historical gap, a transition from the old to the new that stretched over a decade. It is unequivocally a very rich period for the new Russia, combining pause, rapid development, reflection on the past and the formation of the new. This paradoxical and elusive process of change is precisely what Inspection Medical Hermeneutics has managed to capture in its work.
Daria Tishkova, curator:

For me, their art is a transformation of what is happening, a controlled immersion in chaos rather than a resistance to it, an artistic method rooted in the Russian tradition, for which irony, a culture of laughter, is often the only thing that helps one cope with the grief of loss.
Sketch for the installation ‘The End of the USSR’ by Pavel Pepperstein
Sketch for the installation ‘The End of the USSR’ by Pavel Pepperstein
The installation 'The End of the USSR', invented by the artists in parallel to the events taking place, was never realised at that time in history. However, the hand of providence is felt here, which puts everything in its place: the incarnation of this installation 30 years after its conception allows it to occupy its place in the context of art history, capturing in its image a transitional moment in the dialectic development of political regimes, showing its determining influence on the cultural codes and the historical roots of contemporary Russian art. Together with Pavel Pepperstein, whose sketches were used to recreate a concept from 30 years ago, viewers can think and talk about that time not only as about the ‘wild 90s’, but also look at it nostalgically, recall the comfort of a bygone era and their personal and private experiences connected to this vivid collective experience of liberation from the past and the appearance of a completely new country, which in an instant changed the direction of its development by 180 degrees. And at the same time, to pay tribute to the group Inspection Medical Hermeneutics, which has preserved the traditions of Moscow romantic conceptualism for us and brought them into the new era.
Author:  Inspection Medical Hermeneutics
Curator:  Daria Tishkova
Idea:  Pavel Pepperstein