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Moscow Museum of Modern Art Presents Citizens! Please Mind Yourselves! Dmitry A. Prigov
D.A. Prigov - Malevich (Russian Painting Series). 1980's-2000's. 18.2×24.5 cm.

MOSCOW.-The Moscow Museum of Modern Art presents Citizens! Please Mind Yourselves! Dmitry A. Prigov (1940-2007) - Works on paper, installations, books, performance, opera, and declamation, on view through June 15, 2008.

“Citizens! Don’t be afraid of the quiet, and don’t scream so loud!
Everyone all over the world can hear you!”
“Citizens! The second we appear, everything around us starts to sing and glow!”
“Citizens! Please mind yourselves!”

Above are some of hundreds of “public service announcements” that the outstanding artist and poet Dmitry A. Prigov pasted onto lampposts and walls in Moscow in 1986. The authorities reacted immediately, sending him for compulsory treatment in a psychiatric clinic, which quickly released him thanks to protests by colleagues in Russia and abroad.

Dmitry A. Prigov’s first personal exhibition in Russia presents the many sides of his work (and he was a sculptor, musician, performance artist, essayist, and actor, among other things). However, most importantly, Prigov was a public figure, appealing to society with poetic texts on life and death, on Russian literature and contemporary politics, on sex and chickens boiled for supper.

Prigov’s many pursuits emphasized the figure of the post-secular Author or Creator, through which he held a constant critical dialogue with both classical Russian literature and the traditions of modernism.

The present exhibition places a special emphasis on the many sides of Prigov’s talent, and shows just how productive he really was. Thousands of typewritten book-objects, dozens of “telegrams” and “calendars,” hundreds of “poemograms” and sketches for unrealized installations, or performance notes allow the public to embark on the riveting adventure known as “Prigov.”

Not a single one of the many exhibitions of Moscow Conceptualism have ever attempted to present Prigov’s texts as objects of art, though precisely this aspect of his work seemed most important to him. Another genre that was central in his work was opera, a synthesis of music, poetry, and action, which the exhibition shows in video and audio. The exhibition will contain loans from the artist’s family and from private collections, as well as a number of installations that the artist was not able to realize before his untimely death.

A catalogue executed in the aesthetic of Prigov’s books and graphical work will accompany the exhibition. The book design corresponds perfectly to the spirit of Prigov’s oeuvre; this is a handmade conceptual object that dematerializes gradually, as the paper becomes thinner and thinner towards the last pages.

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