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Sergei Bugaev Afrika at I-20
 
     
 
Mir: Made in the XX Century
2000
 
Mir: Made in the XX Century
2000
 
The 33-year old St. Petersburg artist Sergei Bugaev Afrika represented Russia at the 1999 Venice Biennale with an installation titled Mir: Made in the XXth Century -- a work the artist has now brought to New York. The piece engulfs the viewer in an intense audio-visual experience that is at once seductive, repelling and unforgettable. The floors and walls of the darkened gallery were covered with small tin tiles that made a crunching sound underfoot as one moved around the room. This clatter was augmented by haunting piped-in music created for the work by Brian Eno. Each individual tile is covered with a photographic image from Soviet Russia in the 1950s, ranging from scenes of industrial plants to rural workers' villages.

A room-sized globe made of thin metal beams was the focal point of the display. At the base of the construction, resting near the floor, a video monitor showed a constantly running video loop of a patient in a Russian state mental institution being forced to undergo electroshock therapy. The footage shows the close-up image of a man biting hard on a cloth as the voltage courses through his body. Afrika, in this installation, makes an observation about the brain and about the way memory and sensory experiences of sound and vision affect it. The installation itself serves as a metaphor for the brain, with the metal globe as its nerve center.

"Sergei Bugaev Afrika," Jan 29 - Mar 11, 2000, at I-20, 529 West 20th Street, New York, N.Y. 10011.

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