28/10/2014

"SPARTACUS. TIMES NEW ROMAN", HAIM SOKOL

Haim Sokol’s large-scale personal project exposes the middle of the "migrant cycle” (started 2011)

OCTOBER 22 – NOVEMBER 24 2014

CCI “Fabrika”, OLIVIE hall
Haim Sokol’s large-scale personal project exposes the middle of the "migrant cycle”, and was begun in 2011. The exhibition features large installations constructed of building materials and household junk, and was created specifically for the space at the Olivie Hall, where the artist’s Moscow premiere of the film "Spartacus" will be held.
The film “Spartacus” is an artistic blend of documentary, silent film, and theatrical performance. The story of the gladiator uprising under the leadership of Spartacus (73-71 BC) is set in modern Moscow and its uncertain future.  Migrant workers from Kyrgyzstan play the roles of both the Romans and the gladiators. The film is set in the area of the post-industrial “Fabrika,” which is located across from the Arch of Titus. The custom made, small-scale arch is meaningfully draped with material typically used for mopping floors. Fragments of music from a ballet by Aram Khachaturyan are heard throughout the film.
 
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION:
In his CCI “Fabrika” project, Haim Sokol announces the new Roman era, the “Times New Roman.” It is difficult to say definitively whether those “times” are behind us, or if they await us in the future. Most likely, they are a reflection of what Walter Benjamin called the “actual present”: an era “ripped from the continuum of history,” the past written (in the simplest of fonts) as a quote in a new historical context.  The artist, in the best revolutionary tradition, summons the “ghosts of the past” to our aid. If the French Revolution "draped itself alternately in robes of the Roman Republic and the costume of the Roman Empire,” as Marx said, then Haim Sokol, rather, tries on the overcoat of the 1917 Soviet Union – or the “Spartacus Union”- in 1918 Germany. Sokol depicts Rome from the inside and the back door perspectives – Rome, where revolution intermingles with poor migrants' lives, as is written in the prose of Andrei Platonov, to whose poetry the artist has alluded in previous works.
Particular meaning throughout the exhibition is given to the element of games.  Haim Sokol frequently uses materials and mechanisms from childhood in his work- toy soldiers, planes, stuffed dogs, and tracing-paper drawings. The artist has personally mused, “History didn’t die, but hid in a game of “hide and go seek” during bleak everyday life. There it has sat, forgotten by everyone, since that time. In order to find it again, we must to return to childhood, where knowledge was not given us by experience, but was only found in the subconscious and imagination. When we do so, look! - suddenly rain gutters become the busts of famous heroes from the revolution. An old coat is a memorial to the fallen, a doormat becomes a banner, and a workman’s residential building is the Arc de Triomphe.” In other words, child’s play becomes, for the artist, an actual tool in freeing history from the prison of propaganda. Walter Benjamin recognized that from children’s play emerges a foundation and structure of human qualities, such as conviction, courage, humor, cunning, steadfastness. “They (these characteristics) do not cease,” wrote Walter Benjamin, “to cast doubt again and again on every victory ever attained by the ruling class”. “Imagination” can also be added to this set of qualities. “Imagination=Defiance” is the message of one of the pieces. 
 Thanks to these elements in Haim Sokol’s exhibition, the personal becomes universal, and the everyday transforms into the monumental. These monuments simultaneously remind us of the past and reach into the future.
 
CCI FABRIKA 
Address: 105082, Russia, –úoscow, Perevednovsky street-side, 18 
Tel: +7 (499) 265 39 26
 
Contacts
+7 926 866 93 83|Bermet Borubaeva | pr@proektfabrika.ru
Natalia Obelchak | ccifabrika.natalia@gmail.com, 
(accreditations, photographs, and additional information)

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