Vadim Gushchin. Object-Function-Image

11.09 - 29.09. 2013

Object – Function – Image, a major retrospective of the highly acclaimed contemporary Russian photographer, Vadim Gushchin, is a collection of early foundational black and white series and recent colour photographs. The exhibition includes 80 works spanning the last 12 years of the artist’s career.

Vadim Gushchin. From the series Pills, 2011

Gushchin combines minimalist, conceptualist, and abstract strategies to give quotidian subjects a visual charge and an imaginative possibility beyond its everyday function. Each series is devoted to a particular object that is simple in its form and function, such as a sheet of paper or an envelope. According to Vicki Goldberg, Gushchin’s interest in the least imposing everyday objects recalls Stephen Shore’s deadpan images of banal scenes or Gabriel Orozco’s still life photography. In the series Library, Dishes, Manuscripts Gushchin accentuates the form to restore things their original magnificence. His books, plastic food trays, and sheets of paper evoke grandeur of sculptures. In the series Library, Reading Circle, Coloured envelopes he disassociates objects from their usual context turning them into emotionally charged symbols of national history.

In his coloured works, Gushchin photographs objects from above in a way, which shows them flattened into abstract shapes. Colour evokes cultural and psychological associations. In the series Coloured envelopes red, violet and brown recall various psychological states. In other series his subjects are frequently red, a colour associated with icons and blood. Bold colours and simple geometric forms bring to mind Malevich’s abstract works. In contrast to supremacist paintings, photographs retain the substance of what they describe. Gushchin lends ambiguity to his work by coupling abstract two-dimensions and specific symbols, which contain traces of time and history. 

Vadim Gushchin was born in Novosibirsk in 1963 and has been a freelance artist since 1988. Since 1995, he has had numerous exhibits in galleries and museums in Russia and abroad, including the solo exhibition Wood and Bread at the 2006 Biennial of FotoFest in Houston, USA. His works have been presented in conceptual group projects, among them A la Recherche du Père (1993, Paris), Neue Fotografie aus Russland (1995), Idea photographic after Modernism (2002, Santa Fe, USA), Triennial of Photography in Odense (2006, Denmark), Contemporary Russian Photography (2012 Biennial FotoFest Houston, USA). His works are featured in several museum collections in America and Europe, the MoMA and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Art in Moscow, and in many private collections all over the world. He currently lives and works in Moscow.