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Professor Andréa Stanislav: Cosmist Reconstructions

Stanislav Presents Retrospective at the Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis
December 7, 2017

Andréa Stanislav, 2017, The Wishing Machine

Andréa Stanislav, 2017, The Wishing Machine
Andréa Stanislav, 2017, The Wishing Machine

Bruno David Gallery is pleased to present Cosmist Reconstructions, the first solo exhibition with artist Andréa Stanislav. In conjunction with the exhibition, Bruno David Gallery Publications will publish a catalogue of the artist’s work with an exhibition history and bibliography. For this exhibition, Stanislav uses sculpture in concert with her collage and text constructions to tap into the utopic philosophical and cultural phenomenon of Russian Cosmism. Cosmism’s widespread reemergence is virtually unknown in the west, this early 20th- century Russian philosophy included diverse thinkers such as Nikolai Fyodorov, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, and Vladimir Vernadsky amongst others, who formed ideas of active approaches to space exploration and colonization, personal immortality, and a resurrection of the dead.

Space exploration and immortality explored through film, literature and pop culture derived from Cosmism are longstanding informants in Stanislav’s work. With the fall of the Soviet Union, suppressed Cosmist texts reemerged as part of a search for a new Russian identity, and a potential answer to the longest standing question in Russian intellectual history, “Chto delat’? - What is to be done?” Stanislav’s work positions this prescient question in the present, where Cosmism is a portent, where these ideas are channeled through her experiential and concretized narratives.

Andréa Stanislav, 2017, The Visitors (detail)
Andréa Stanislav, 2017, The Visitors (detail)

Stanislav will exhibit several glitter on black mirror constructions from her Solaris series, including a large-scale construction Champagne Supernova, made from glitter and cut refractive films suspended in layers resin on an obsidian-like black ground. These works conjure images of distant galaxies from the Hubble Space Telescope, while a subtle optical illusion of depth activates the glitter forms so that they appear to float above the work’s surface. Red Solaris possesses an uncanny resemblance to the Ivan Kliun’s 1923 Suprematist painting Red Light Spherical Composition. Stanislav became aware of this painting after the completion of her work, which gives the work a transcendent sensibility. Stanislav’s new text construction The Visitors, consists of seventy-five red glitter encrusted plaques embedded with black vinyl names of Cosmist representatives suspended between layers of resin. The formation of plaques takes on an elegiac presence of a utopia that never was to be.

Stanislav’s Shifter collage constructions are activated by fleeting optical color shifts that occur in the constructed layers of hand-cut refractive and dichroic films, woven through digitally altered hand cut images and suspended between layers of resin. The images are anchored by the soulless shells of faces that were once Russian models, with negative voids where images of human eyes once were, revealing the refractive surfaces beneath, while staring back at the viewer. Fractured images of cosmonauts, minerals, Soviet relics, abstractions, along with Stanislav’s self-referential sculptures expand in a disorderly timeline of a long 20th century.

Animal forms frequent her sculptures as an interlocutor — the natural world puncturing the solid, modern form. An interruption of the old ways, the old modes of existence, these animals and objects become effigies of the past, present, and future. Through manipulation of symbolic and traditional sculptural objects (monoliths, pentagons, equestrian forms), Stanislav disrupts their signal. A black goat jumps through the mirror surface of a monolith with TMab Mirror, questioning the existence of evil in a morality relative universe, while summoning the monolith from Arthur C. Clark’s The Sentinel and 2001 a Space Odyssey. A life-size headless rotating equestrian form — The Vanishing Points, embellished with dichroic rhinestones, invokes a defeated trophy of bygone empires as it slowly spins on a circular mirrored platform. The mirrored surfaces serve to reflect, redirect, confuse and implicate, as they bring the viewer into the work, creating a “physicality of ideas”, where the metaphors in the artwork reach the viewer as a visceral experience, not simply as an intellectual or visual phenomena.

Recent solo exhibitions and projects include: The Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; The Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad, St. Petersburg, Russia. Other solo exhibitions and projects include: The 2014 Manifesta 10 European Biennial/Art-Centre Pushkinskaya-10 Parallel Public Program, St. Petersburg, Russia; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN; Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN; 21c Contemporary Art Museum, Louisville, KY; Pelham Art Center, Pelham, NY; thisisnotashop, Dublin, Ireland; The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE; and the Grunwald Gallery of Art, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

Stanislav’s work has also has been featured and exhibited at: The Museum of Non-Conformist Art, St. Petersburg, The 5th Moscow Biennial, Moscow, Russia; The U.S (Ambassador’s) Residence, Stockholm, Sweden; Al Sabah Gallery, Kuwait City, Kuwait; Socrates Sculpture Park, New York City, NY; Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Wilmington, DE; Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul, MN; Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND; The John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; Kentucky Museum of Arts and Craft, Louisville, KY; Dumbo Arts Center, Brooklyn, NY; and Catalyst Arts, Belfast Northern Ireland.

Ms. Stanislav has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including: The 2015/2016 Freund Teaching Fellowship, Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis and the St. Louis Art Museum; The 2015 Target Studio Artist in Resident, Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN; The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council 2012 Swing Space Artist Residency, New York City, NY; a 2010/2011 McKnight Artists Fellowship for Visual Arts, Minneapolis, MN; a Socrates Sculpture Park 2009 Jerome Emerging Artist Fellowship, New York City, NY. She is an Associate Professor of Sculpture in the Department of Art, University of Minnesota - Minneapolis.

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