artists & participants
Erik Bulatov & Andrei Molodkin
February 9–May 19, 2019
Artists Erik Bulatov (b. 1933, Russia) and Andrei Molodkin (b. 1966, Russia) transform BPS22 - Musée d’art de la Province de Hainaut, located in the Belgian post-industrial city of Charleroi, into a power station for BLACK HORIZON. The exhibition unveils Bulatov’s НАСРАТЬ ("TO SHIT ON") (2018-19) and Molodkin’s Young Blood (2019), two monumental new bodies of work which propose a new language of propaganda that breaks down Soviet methods to convert into techniques employed today.
In Young Blood Molodkin uses the blood of the younger generations as his raw material. Industrial compressors pump the blood through medical refrigerators and tubes into empty vessels that project phrases from underground music.
Bulatov cements a radical break in his strictly two-dimensional practice through НАСРАТЬ. Similar to warning signs, the text is repeated in red, white and black. The aggressive proclamation is an act of rejection, interrogating pictorial and ideological freedom. Mounted on engineered structures, the two-dimensional surfaces contract and expand forcing the viewer into the canvas or forbidding them entry into the politicised space.
Bulatov and Molodkin were born in pivotal yet starkly different periods of the Communist project. Bulatov was born in Stalin’s Russia just before the Great Purge—a time of widespread surveillance, imprisonment and executions. Comparatively, Molodkin was born in the aftermath of the Space Race. Acutely aware of the impermanence of governmental constructs, Bulatov and Molodkin confront the contemporary political landscape and the languages used to express the breakdown of global alliances and the rise of far-right nationalism, such as Trump challenging NATO and Putin testing the boundaries of the nuclear missile treaty.
The new bodies of work by Bulatov and Molodkin have been produced at The Foundry, Maubourguet, France and sit alongside two large-scale propaganda sculptures made from black steel; Bulatov’s ВСЕ НЕ ТАК СТРАШНО (EVERYTHING’S NOT SO SCARY) (2016) and Molodkin’s GOVERNMENT, DOWN (2018).
BLACK HORIZON exhibits bodies of work that are closely influencing the aesthetic language of a younger generation—a testament to the continued urgency of Bulatov and Molodkin’s respective practices. Exhibited in Charleroi, known as the Pays Noir ("Black Country") of Belgium for its heritage in the coal industry, the city carries the nation’s socialist stronghold with its rich socialist history.