A documentation by Kristofer Paetau, december 2004
All photographs courtesy of the artists of Trekhprudny Lane
I first heard of the Trekhprudny Lane Gallery from one of its founding members, the russian artist Avdey Ter-Oganian. As I was interested in his work, he told me about the Trekhprudny Lane artist-run space, that existed in Moscow between September 1991 and May 1993. I was very impressed by the quality of the weekly exhibitions made by this group of artists including Pavel Aksionov, Vladimir Dubosarsky, Viktor Kasianov, Alexander Kharchenko, Ilya Kitup, Valery Koshliakov, Konstantin Reunov, Alexander Sigutin, Avdey Ter-Oganian and Oleg Tistol. Trekhprudny Lane is, in my opinion, the ultimate, the coolest and the most interesting artist-run space ever.
The history of Trekhprudny Lane began in 1990, right after the end of the "USSR boom" in Western art institutions and shortly before the collapse of the USSR. Avdey Ter-Oganian arrived in Moscow from a provincial Town called Rostov-on-Don, together with some artist-friends in order to conquer Moscow with their artist-group called "Art or Death". The artists squatted a building on Trekhprudny Lane, a street in the center of Moscow, where they installed individual studios and a gallery space in common. They defined their gallery program as a "waste of time and money" and enjoyed their burlesque weekly openings together with the Moscow art community that soon found its way to Trekhprudny Lane.
Many projects of Trekhprudny Lane can be seen as a preceeding of the work of well-known contemporary artists and of celebrated movements of contemporary art in the 90s. I especially think of the concept "Relational esthetics", developed about the same time by the French art critic Nicolas Bourriaud, and of some exhibitions by Trekhprudny Lane that for example somebody like Maurizio Cattelan could have been happy to make... I also see interesting connexions with the work of some younger artists today, who work in a 'performative' way. Last but not least I find the work of Trekhprudny Lane very inspiring for my own artistic research and I hope that You will appreciate my "Top 10" selection of exhibitions made by Trekhprudny Lane!
By Konstantin Reunov, Avdey Ter-Oganian
For this very first exhibition at Trekhprudny Lane the artists hired three street pedlars to 'accompany' three reproductions of Rembrandt's etchings - one of them entitled "Charity".
A SEMI-SAISON EXHIBITION 31.10.1991
By Alexander Sigutin
The artist installed 12 hooks on the wall for the visitors to hang their clothes.
By Alexander Gormatiuk, Vladimir Dubosarsky, Avdey Ter-Oganian, Alexander Kharchenko
A tour guide was hired to guide the public with a megaphone on a four hours bus trip around Moscow. The trip included all the typical Moscow sight-seeings as well as some carefully selected liquor stores and it finally ended up where it had started, at the Trekhprudny Lane.
By Alexander Gormatiuk, Konstantin Reunov, Avdey Ter-Oganian
Two models from the Academy of Fine Arts where hired to pose with two neon lamps during the exhibition. This was another hired performance, a static spectacle.
WE WERE ALIVE IN THOSE YEARS... 28.5.1992
By Alexander Sigutin, Avdey Ter-Oganian
Another slightly parodical tribute: an exhibition dealing with the nostalgy for our courtyard, a recurrent theme in modernist soviet prose and poetry. One gallery wall was filled with prints made with a football and a piece of dried excrement was lying on the floor.
By Ilya Kitup, Avdey Ter-Oganian
The artists presented themselves as a living sculpture by combining their bodies and acting a kind of puppet-theater.
TOWARDS THE OBJECT 16.7.1992
By Avdey Ter-Oganian
This exhibition was titled after the large exhibition of non-conformist art, organized by the Department of Contemporary Art of the Tsaritsyno museum. Avdey Ter-Oganian exhibited himself as an art object, dead drunk and asleep in the middle of the gallery.
AS USUAL 23.7.1992
By Viktor Kasjanov
The words As Usual were painted on the wall. Thereby referring to and turning the vernissage and its public into the actual work of art.
THE MARRIAGE 26.11.1992
By Youri Babitch
Youri Babitch, a friend of the Trekhprudny Lane and an artist himself, didnt have any appropriate space at his disposal to celebrate his marriage. He asked if he could use the gallery space for this occasion and thus turned the marriage into a performance or vice-versa.
QUEER UNCLE'S TESTAMENT 18.3.1993
By Vladimir Dubosarsky
A hand-painted cinema poster for a semi-pornographic movie called "Queer Uncles testament" was exposed. At the opening of the show the public was directed to the nearby movie-theater to see the film.