MOSCOW.- The Moscow Museum of Modern Art
is presenting the solo exhibition of Haim Sokol the artists first large-scale museum project. Initiating his creative career in Jerusalem in 2006 after he had graduated from the Hebrew University, Sokol boldly asserted himself on the Moscow arts scene two years later and since then continues to actively work in Russia.
The display unites Sokols works from various years executed in a wide array of media installations, videos, objects, performative drawings and texts. Two monumental installations have been produced outdoors in situ in the museums courtyard. Nevertheless, the exhibition is conceived not so much as a traditional retrospective that would aim to represent the artists twelve-year period of work, but as a new synthetic project.
The video entitled Testimony (2015), the running time of which is almost two hours, forms the conceptual and structural centerpiece of the exhibition in a way, its metastatement. It encapsulates all of Sokols recurrent themes those of personal destiny and collective memory, labor and migration. At the heart of the narrative are the recollections of the artists father: in 1941, as an eleven-year-old boy, he ended up in a Jewish ghetto on the territory of the Germany-occupied Ukraine. However, of pivotal importance for Sokol, Testimony far transcends the framework of an autobiographical account.
Shot in the space of the Fabrika creative industries center in Moscow, the video unfolds before the spectator a series of allegorical mise-en-scènes performances that merge theater and ritual, acted out consecutively by two characters, the Angel of History and the Migrant. An attempt to provide testimony to the traumatic experience of the Holocaust from the perspective of private family history is turned by Sokol into a dramatic, elegiac meditation on the victims of the politics of exclusion, where realities of the past and the present coexist.
The footage of Testimony, separate episodes of which are demonstrated in various rooms in a multi-channel format, are supplemented by object-based and graphic works. All of these the fragments of already executed projects and series, as well as works especially produced for the present exhibition transpire to be thematically linked with the main video. The staged for the camera and the materially palpable are intertwined here to form a unified immersive installation.
Regular performances by Haim Sokol reenactments of the videos key scenes
in the museum environment, and a series of discussions and lectures dedicated to the problems of contemporary memorial culture, will form an essential part of the exhibition.
Haim Sokol was born in Arkhangelsk in 1973. Graduated from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow. He teaches at the Alexander Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia and is a member of the editorial board of the Moscow Art Magazine. Sokol is the recipient of the professional award Soratnik (2009) and has been nominated for the Innovation prize (short-list of 2008, 2014) and the Kandinsky Prize (long-list of 2014).
The artists solo exhibitions have been held at the leading art venues in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. He has participated in numerous group shows in Russia and abroad, including the 2nd Kyiv Biennale (2015), the 1st Indian Biennale at Kochi-Muziris (2012) and the 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2009).