Established 1999 in Moscow, Russia
Valery Ayzenberg (born in 1947 in Bakhmach, Ukraine), Anton Litvin (born in 1967 in Moscow Russia), Liza Morozova (born in 1973 in Moscow, Russia), Bogdan Mamonov (born in 1964 in Moscow, Russia)
The ESCAPE Program, its founding fathers insisted, was created in the late 90s 'as a response to the monopolization of contemporary art by a restricted circle of art dealers, curators and critics.' At that time 'the art community began to realize that contemporary art was becoming cover for dubious political and business processes. The initiation of the ESCAPE Program was an attempt to overcome crisis and demonstrate that an alternative independent art was viable even in such a situation'.
The exhibition presents artworks of the first period: “Disappearance”, “Vertigo”, “Choir” as well as and the new “ESCAPE Radio Transmitter”.
This work is described in the annals of the ESCAPE Program as follows: 'The performance was accomplished by Valery Ayzenberg and Bogdan Mamonov at the Interstudio anniversary celebration during the Cook Art festival (Tsarskoe Selo) in summer 2000... The performance artists were mingling with the crowd but were escaping contacts with anybody and thwarting every attempt to communicate with them. In the course of performance the members of the Program tried to surmount the unauthentic communication within the artistic community – the festival guests – and provoke a closer interaction between them.
In the authors' words: 'The installation is comprised of a cube; only one person at a time is able to walk into it. By inserting her head in an aperture in the ceiling, she enters in a space of video projections, in a company of four giants - the members of the group who are engaged in a ceaseless rambling conversation lacking any possible sense and therefore incomprehensible for a spectator. Meanwhile spectator's head turns out to be a peculiar meal on the table where the odd dialogue takes place. A steadily widening chasm between artist and spectator is more and more the case with the contemporary art. This is the reason why the members of the ESCAPE Program in a series of projects tend to address to a particular person who becomes an indispensable part of the composition. But even such a measure cannot help to overcome the estrangement, as the dialogue between the artists themselves appears to be impossible. The project Vertigo develops the theme of people’s loneliness and impossibility of adequate communication. At the same time it refers to the Apt Art element of the ESCAPE activity and is reminiscent of proverbial kitchen conversations of the Russian intelligentsia.'
'This video performance is an attempt to visualize the contradictory nature of collective creative work. There are four people, each one of them singing his or her own song. But one cannot hear them. It appears like a collective action. Yet, in fact every one is concerned only with themselves, they don't hear one another, but every one is convinced that they all sing the same song in a choir. Noise made by public filling orchestra stalls is the soundtrack. After the last performer has finished the tune, bursts of applause are heard.'
ESCAPE Radio Transmitter
Unlike other works, the project ESCAPE Radio Transmitter consists of archival, not of new material. The project's vector is directed into the depths – it offers literally to hear the Program's voice, to overhear the kitchen conversations, to learn what the artists did not mean to become known to the others. This work dispels the myth that works of art are created only as a result of intellectual conversations of serious people.