May 22 – July 4
Opening Reception: Thursday May 21, 6-8 pm
Carving out his own space within conceptualism, multi-media artist
Georgii “Gosha” Ostretsov goes beyond black humor and satire, working
in the vein of absurdity that has been an enduring characteristic of
The artist’s ongoing New Government project synthesizes themes and iconography present throughout his oeuvre, providing commentary on
the nature of power and despotism in post-Soviet Russia. Creating a
parallel world in which artist superheroes attempt to wrest control from a reviled regime, Ostretsov himself plays various roles in the project, both masked and unmasked, including the leader of the new regime, its propaganda minister, and even a dissident.
Made site specific for Claire Oliver Gallery, Gosha Ostretsov has painted mural-sized
canvas comic strips which will become an entire room – walls and ceiling - installed in the exhibition space.
Ostretsov tells his story of a super hero artist who prevails over drudgery and evil in Coolville. The superheroes
in this action-packed parody create a utopia of art as an active, although not always simple, political power;
Ostretsov creates a lively combination of Pop and Pollock.
With a subversive edge, the work comments on various political, social and aesthetic phenomena; hidden
behind masks, the players are ineffective and lack human desires. Ostretsov manages to preserve the
provocative ambiguity of his project and to remain in an invulnerable position of
independent social criticism, invariably quick witted and precise. The phantom
world Gosha creates reveals the simple mechanisms of power and the levers.
Sometimes compared to the East German Sigmar Polke, Ostretsov works in a
cultural milieu viewed through the prism of history and Pop Art. From the early
19th century literary works of Gogol, to the absurdist’s writings and the theatre of
OBERIU, to the seminal narrative installation works of Ilya Kabakov, Ostretsov’s
artistic language of pop conceptualism has taken root. Exotic, colorful, mass
culture forms, inevitably politicized with the profound, resonate within today’s
socioeconomic climate. The artist’s almost unclassifiable multi-media arts
practice demonstrates both his commitment to the genre and his ongoing
attempts to redefine it on Russian soil.
Georgii “Gosha” Ostretsov will represent The Russian Federation in Victory Over The
Future, 53rd Venice Biennale, curated by Olga Sviblova, opening June 3, 2009.
Part One of Coolville will run at Claire Oliver Gallery from May 22 through July 4,
2009 and Part Two of Coolville will be presented at Solo Projects, Basel Switzerland
from June 8 through the 14, 2009.
For more information: www.ClaireOliver.com | Tel:212.929.5949