RUSSIAN POVERA. An exhibition of contemporary art. A Sergey Gordeev Project


SEPTEMBER 25, 2008


Vladimir Arkhipov

Vladimir Arkhipov collects home-made everyday things and perceives folk material culture as an inspirational living process. He has turned the collecting of DIYs into an interdisciplinary research activity; he has made his collection archive an Internet resource. He shows us a thing with a biography, adds to it video, audio, and an urgent need of a person for his object.

He explores a heretofore unseen area of marginal social practice as a wild forest, uprooting it for the new plow-land of art; he expands the horizon of the artistic. Arkhipov transfers the home-made thing from underneath the crumbling margins of modernity into the spotlight of aesthetic relevance. His project is poignantly human and national. He turns a shovel made of a crutch or a road-sign, inimitable as life itself, into art. In this bold transfer, art reveals itself in an aura of compassion, honesty and banal usefulness. These are forgotten sensations.

Arkhipov feels an object as a need and as creativity - both of these incompatible dimensions embrace one another in hand-craft. His found objects return us to art, and art - to its original state, when things were not consumed but created, when they lived together with people. "I am making a museum," Arkhipov says, "and why would an artist want a museum without his own works?" He has created a Noah's ark for the last things of a world that has been flooded by the ocean of cold, uniform goods.

Alexander Evangely


Vladimir Arkhipov was born in Ryazan, 1961.
Has degree in engineering and artistic self-education.
Worked as an engineer, in construction business.
Began exhibiting in 1990. Worked in genres of object and installation. Since 1994 works with fascinating phenomena of modern culture - hand-making of everyday objects arranges database (, forms collection of hand-made, utilitarian objects.

Vladimir Arkhipov. Footbridge made from a bed by an unknown author
Photograph, 150x100 cm

Vladimir Arkhipov. Shovel made from a road-sign by Vladimir Antipov
Moscow. 1998.
Object, height 135 cm

Vladimir Arkhipov. Commode made from a stool by Alexei Tikhonov
Stolptsy, Ryazan region. 1989
Object, height 50 cm

Vladimir Arkhipov. Summer shower made by Alexander
South Butovo, Moscow. 2001
Object, height 290 cm

Vladimir Arkhipov: I stumbled onto my project almost by accident fourteen years ago. I had the wits not to abandon it after the first exhibition. Since then, it reveals ever new aspects of itself.

For me, it's like something living, which exists outside of me, but of which I am a part. Contemporary art cannot cure anyone, so the artist needs succor.

Whereas my creators at some point in their lives had made a handcrafted thing; it's an honest a trace as can be of their creativity. They don't try to push this thing onto anyone. The layer of objects not made for sale is very narrow in the modern world.

An artist paints a picture or photographs - and he's already thinking to whom he can sell it and for how much. The problem of a sincere statement exists for every artist. And I have found its solution because I preserve the authorship of the people who make sincere things. They create while paying no mind to aesthetics or quality; their things exist in an everyday environment and are not perceived as works of art. I discover them, bring them to the gallery, turn a certain creative act into an act of art. Someone else's creativity; my art.

The purpose of these things is a utilitarian, domestic one. Functionality lies in the field of design, whereas home-made things are in principle anti-design. They are not made for decoration, which is also typical of art. For its maker, a handcrafted thing is, on the one hand, a solution of a domestic problem; on the other, it's creativity, but he does not understand that.

It is enough to deprive an object of its functionality, and it will become an art-object. But I affirm the opposite - if you do not deprive it of functionality, then it does not cease to be art; on the contrary, it becomes art. One has to shift one's outlook on things rather than make them useless.

I am currently interested in things which had not become subjects of their makers' reflexivity, aesthetically in particular. When a person starts pondering aesthetics, his sense of immediacy gets clouded by the ideas of what ought to be, and purity disappears.

As it turns out, these sorts of things are not just something people do in Russia, India, or China, but all over the world. This had brought me to the theme of man's lack of creative self-realization in the contemporary world. All societies are arranged in such a way that only a few can fully open up the creative potential of their professions. A person works in a factory or at a construction site and then afterwards, for some reason, writes poetry or music, sculpts something or dances. Those who create self-made things possess a particular tactility - they feel the world through their hands.

Self-made things are a unique part of material culture, which does not exist officially since the creation of the things was not sanctioned. These DIYs have preserved the aura of their creation; they amaze us with their impossible honesty in a pop culture epoch. No one has heard of material folklore, but it is here - in these objects. I have collected hundreds of them in different countries. I have recorded interviews with many of the makers, finding out all of the details of the thing's coming into the world.

Self-made things exist in a broad spectrum - from the mysterious to the very easily understood. Their variety delights in me. I would not want to narrow this field. Their being presented to the public takes them out of the captivity of the everyday into the field of art. Now these things exist as an electronic archive.

If I do not find them, they quickly die.


2008 ERA-foundation, Moscow, Russia
Design del popolo. Nina Lumer Gallery, Milan, Italy
Master-class and workshop in Bolzano University, Bolzano, Italy
2006 Functioning forms/ Ireland. Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan, Co.Clare, Ireland
2005 What have you done kolomentsy?! Liga Gallery, Kolomna, Russia
Functioning forms/ Austria. AFO, Linz, Austria
2004 Folk Sculpture. Kunstverein Rosenheim, Germany
I have been making a museum. State Schusev Museum of Architecture, Moscow
2003 Post-Folk Archive Wales. Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, North Wales, GB
/NOTWEHR. FACTORY kunsthallekrems, Krems, Austria
2002 Post Folk Archive. Ikon-gallery, Birmingham, UK
2001 Expedition, Birmingham and West Midland region, UK
2000 Folk-laboratory. Stroganov Institute MGHPU, Moscow
1999 Welded. M. Guelman Gallery, Moscow
1998 Expedition, Wulkania region, Australia
Expedition, Orlov region, Russia
1997-2005 Museum of handmade object. Project for Project Russia magazine
1996 Post-Folk Archive. - gallery, Prague
1995 Forced objects. L-gallery, Moscow
1991 Declared. Triokhprudny lane Gallery, Moscow


2008 Russian Povera. Project by Sergey Gordeev. Curator - Marat Guelman. Rechnoi Vokzal,Perm
2007 Bodycheck. 10th Triennale Fellbach, Germany
Still life. The Sharjah Biennial 8 (SB8), UAE
Progressive Nostalgia. Centro per l'arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy
Restart. Art Athina, Parallel plan, Greece
Returning of Memory. Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia
2006 27th Biennale de S?o Paulo, Brazil
International Forum of Artistic Initiatives. New Manege, Moscow
2005 Tirana Biennale of Contemporary Art, Albania
1 Moscow biennale of contemporary art, Moscow
In Another World. Kiasma/Museum of contemporary art, Finland
2004-2006 Berlin-Moskau/Moskau-Berlin 1950-2000. The State Historical Museum, Moscow
Na kurort! Russische kunst heute, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden
Shrinking Cities. Ivanovo - Berlin - Liverpool
The Seven Sins / Ljubljana - Moscow. Moderna galerija Ljubljana, Slovenia
2003 Horizons of reality. M HKA - Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, Belgium
We-They. M. Guelman Gallery project in the frames of Art-Moscow Fair, Central House of Artist, Moscow
ArtKliazma. International Contemporary Art Festival, Moscow region
2002 Centre of attraction. 8th Baltic Triennial of International Art, Vilnius, Lituva
2001 International Forum of Artistic Initiatives, New Manege, Moscow
2000 Iskusstwo 2000. Kunstverein Rosenheim, Germany
Poor Art. The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
1999 Fauna. New Manege, Moscow
1998 Every-day. 11-th Biennale of Contemporary Art, Sidney, Australia
1997 Vodka. M. Guelman Gallery, Moscow
1995 Itogi. Berlin Academy of Arts, Berlin
1994 Europe-94. Munich, Germany
Festival of contemporary art, Sochi, Russia
Moskva Swimming-pool, Moscow
Visual anthropology workshop, Centre of Modern Art, Moscow
1991 20th exhibition of young artists. Kuznetski most 11, Moscow
1990 ART-Myth 1. Central House of Artist, Moscow
Logic of paradox. Moscow Palace of Youth, Moscow

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