Marc Marc Moscow - MarcMarc MD ArtiststarMarc Marc Moscow - MarcMarc MD Artiststar
Marc Marc & Benten
Exhibition, Central House of Artists, April 1992

During our 3 weeks visit to Moscow in April 1992 we managed to have an exhibition arranged in the Central House of Artists, the largest exhibition hall in the USSR for the living artists. For me it was the second time to have an exhibition in that place and again it was a manoeuvre of the higher gods.

Marc Marc Moscow - MarcMarc MD Artist - Saying: The Central House of Artists Marc Marc Moscow - MarcMarc MD Artist - View at The Central House of Artists

Marc Marc Moscow - MarcMarc MD Artist - photo: wall of graphics at the expo Wall of graphics

For 8 days the visitors of the central House of Artists were confrontated with our 'Wall of graphics'. Two (sometimes 3) computer monitors were showing the act of Auto Composing and Moving Graphics For the average Russian audience, whom in contrast to west-people visit a museum quit often, this was something they never had seen. For the artistic and designer audience it was a prove that times were changing in the USSR and a welcome hint for their own work. Even the guys that worked with their super graphic computers at the TV stations were amazed what could be done on a relativly simple computer platform like an Atari ST. The contact with the audience was very satifying due to their open attitude towards our Art.

Auto Composing (Marc Marc) and Moving Graphics (Benten) are based on an interactive development. Combining program knowledge and artists expertise to create software that is able to create Art by itself. This Art is not only physically created by the machine but also the process of creation, as a typical human aspect, is given over to the machine. This goes beyond the mathematical based graphic procedures. We made the machine a part of our inner world. The inner world that is due to the phenomenon of mankind.

The advantage of having an exhibition in the Central House is not so much the prestige on itself but more the fact that there are so much people visiting it and that it is a meeting place for all artists, writers, designers , architects etc. Never a dull moment and it indicates that something is terrible wrong with the functioning of the musea in the west.

We own special thanks to Sergey Maloutin; our supervisor, manager, bodyguard and baby sitter, Natasha & Eugene Bikov from NB associates who presented us, Natasha Makarevich who created the room for us, Georgi Pachikov and all members of the Moscow teens computer club who sponsored us with the computers, Vladimir Koorapatov the director of the Central House who allowed us, Ira & Julia & Boris for initial support and to many artists who invited us to their studios and taught us how to drink a lot of wodka without getting drunk.

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A play of higher gods.

At the day of our arrival we were taken by our host Sergey Maloutin to an exhibition opening in a 'coming' gallery, located close to the Central House of Artists. We did not know anyone of the visitors and talking to them was not going very well. Only some short chats about nothing seem to be possible. The artist did not speak any foreign language and was very shy too. With my Russian language I could not speak for so long and thus I ran out of text. I felt it was time to exit. Sergey however felt like staying a little longer. Some minutes later a couple entered. Sergey was familiar to them and introduced us. The woman asked us what we, as artists, had in mind to do during our trip. I answered that I would like to have an exhibition in the Central House of Artists again. She asked me, with a special smile, how much money we had with us. I said: just enough to pay our return ticket and by the way; we never pay to have an exhibition - it's against our principles. This made her laugh. They were gallerists and would have a vernissage the next day in the Central House of Artists in the 'commercial' wing of the museum. They had paid quite a lot of money to get in there. They invited us for the vernissage the next day and asked us to bring some documentation about our work.

 Golden Brush
Marc Marc Moscow - MarcMarc MD Artist - photo of the expo The next day at the vernissage these gallerists, Natasha en Eugene Bikov introduced us to Natasha Makarevich, organizer of an exhibition yet to come in the Central House. They watched our documentation and discussed the possibility to have an presentation in the CHA (Central House of Artists). We would like to have an exhibition right away, without waiting for some months. The Bikovs had a private chat with Makarevich and then proposed us to take part in the Golden Brush exhibition that was now busy to be prepared and for which Makarevich was the artistic supervisor. She agreed on trying to see if we could get a part of the exhibition hall during the Golden Brush exhibition. The same day they went to their sponsors and to the director of the CHA to propose the idea. The negotiations took more than that day but, as we understood, this was not our concern anymore. They had decided to go for us and were dealing with it. Now, we had the problem to see if we could arrange 3 Atari computers for our presentation. I had relations at the Moscow teens computer club who supported me with computers at my first exhibition in the CHA in 1990. They agreed again to lent us three computers for the 10 days that the exhibition would run.

 The location
The direction of the CHA and the sponsors finally agreed with the plan and yet it was time to see which location we would get to have our presentation. First they were planning to give us a wall that normally was not used to exhibit works. I refused this. In 1990 I had an exhibition with Sergey , that however was prestigious and visited by hundreds a day, was located at a 'sub location' in the museum because of the Ad Hoc character of it. Now I wanted also the location to be prestigious. This was a serious problem for them. they had to go back to the direction and the sponsors again to ask for permission. I do not know how they discussed it but after some hours there was an agreement about the full wall that I proposed to them. We managed again to get into the place that is known as the most desirable place to exhibit in the USSR for a living artist.

 The condition
We would be presented by NB Associates, the gallery of the Bikovs - sharing the vernissage with the Golden Brush exhibition. The only condition was that both Benten and me were willing to choose our most favorite artist among the members of the Golden Brush price winners (the Golden Brush was an exhibition of young award winning artists from the whole USSR, held each year). We had to announce our choice during the vernissage and donate something to our winner and give a little speech about the motivation.

 Setting up
With help of all our Moscow friends we managed to set up our presentation within the next 3 days and worked hard on our software at nighttime. To give shape to the presentation we had to improvise a lot. Everything is possible in principe but, in Moscow time is passing by quickly. The most simple things cost hours to arrange. In particular in the museum because its an extremely bureaucratic organization. It is easy to get all kinds of material inside the building but to get it out too, all kind of documents need to be arranged. Everybody is willing to help but not at the time you need it to be done. What I checked already in the beginning was the availability of an outlet for the computers. What I did not check was whether it was working too. How stupid of me because in the morning of the final day I discovered that it was dead. It took hours to arrange a technician to solve the problem but, just on time it was there.

 The vernissage
The vernissage was crowded and many officials needed to speak (they speak long). I do understand enough of the Russian language to follow their speaking. It was a strange experience to listen to them, speaking about Dutch culture and history for a long time. They did not speak about us! We were representing Dutch culture, the Dutch society. Our goals in our work was presented as being the goal of Ducth society. Huuu... wait a sec, there is something to be criticized on that. But, let's forget about it.

Each of the 8 days of the exhibition we were present in the museum. Watching people watching us. Each day again we met people who came up to us to speak about our presentation. What more can an artist wish? Money I would suggest but, for this story this is not relevant. The disadvantage to meet so many people who all want to invite you to their homes and studio it the fact that there is not the time to do it. The positive thing about is that there's hardly any dull moment. After the museum closed we started to meet the people who invited us. Having diner together, watch their work and get drunk together. If you do not drink, they do not consider you as one of them. Happily for me I learned to drink wodka in a way that suits to them and somehow I feel very affected by their way of making fun which always is a weird combination of a very serious attitude and a big laugh about life in general. However all artists are in competition with each other, they also behave like real friends - even when they just met each other. Of course not always and definitely something to think about - in context to how we deal with each other in the west (the competition above the friendship).

Again, my trip to Moscow was not only fun but also very satifying for the promotion of my work. And Benten? What more could she have wished than having her first computer Art presentation in a place like this!

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