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Vitaly Pushnitsky Виталий Пушницкий

190068 Санкт-Петербург, Набережная реки Фонтанки, д. 121, кв. 13, тел./факс (812) 314-43-80 190068 St. Petersburg, Fontanka emb., 121-13, tel./fax (812) 314-43-80 e-mail: web:

Birth Date Saint-Petersburg Санкт-Петербург 2008

Дата рождения

DATE OF BIRTH What is a date of birth? A bureaucratic formality, a line in your passport? Or is it an event, something that marks the individual’s coming into the world, a point in the flow of time when a new existence begins? How should we identify an artist’s date of birth: by the day, month, and year when he was “really” born, or by the moment when he was granted a new artistic vision? A little hole punched in the paper of everyday life suddenly transforms it into a camera obscura. From nowhere, from a bit of nothingness, a inverted projection of the world enters our field of vision. In this reflected image of the world, everything has changed size and gone topsy-turvy. The gaze the world fixes on us penetrates through this tiny point. Artist and world encounter each other on the projection screen. Date of Birth is the name of Vitaly Pushnitsky’s new project. It includes the installation Heaven, the objects entitled Lines, a panorama and series of objects united under the name No Man’s Land, the large-scale painting Spinners, and the cycle of photo-lithographs that lent their name to the whole project. Last year, on his birthday, the artist found himself at an infant cemetery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There he saw how time contracted from a line indicating life’s length into the single point of a date: a date of birth that was simultaneously a date of death. This point of birth-death was incarnated in a series of modest tombstones whose purely geometric forms were reminiscent of the experiments of minimalist artists. The realities of a cultural tradition—reduced to a bare minimum by poverty, a hot climate, and the diminutiveness of the lives buried under these stones—acquired another symbolic content. The abstract forms of the cement rectangles suddenly appeared to the artist as a desert landscape, dotted with abandoned buildings and viewed as it were from an airplane descending toward an airport. The gravestones had shed their meaning as memorials and become part of an entropic landscape. In this case, entropy means repetition, the inevitability of loss, the sense of life’s finitude. It is this entropy that turns the tombstones into anti-monuments. The artist shows us that something meant to serve as an eternal symbol of death is, in fact, an object that itself is in the process of dying. Pushnitsky’s photographs of these fading monuments are the basis of the lithographic series Date of Birth. In the lithographs he has combined these photos, excerpts from the Odyssey, images from a botanic encyclopedia, and burnt soil. This documentary landscape is commented by the artist, who accompanies his “aerial” photographs with scientific descriptions of American flora and lines from Homer. The texts provide the key for reading everything we see by 

introducing a new, metaphoric dimension. The journeys of the ancient Greek hero or the structure of a plant stem are merely means of describing the world, an attempt to represent reality and give names to things. Pushnitsky has long been experimenting with photo-based printmaking. Whereas earlier he combined photos using the collage method and thus compiled a new reality, a pseudo document, from several photo images, in his new cycle he does not manipulate the documentary principle of photography, but rather makes use of direct photography. Date of Birth is a conceptual project. The dry catalogue of artifacts is amplified by commentary. The turn to photography, as well as the text in the margins, lets the artist distance himself from the depicted image. Meaning emerges in the gap between the documentary nature of the photograph and the culture of the text, somewhere in the depths of the works itself, in the layers of pressed Chinese paper that make up the background on which a shinkol lithograph (a lithograph made with a special type of Japanese paper) has been printed. Pushnitsky monotonously catalogues the objects he finds in the world. He gazes at it from the wings; he changes positions, moving away from its objects in order to interpret them anew. He transfers the photos he took in Albuquerque onto marble slabs. The silk screens he prints show us a No Man’s Land—the territory of the dead, the territory of art. As they enter the marble’s white field, the gravestones disappear; they become invisible while at the same time taking on flesh, materiality. This, however, is not the materiality of the cement “original,” but the materiality of marble, ennobled by the history of culture. In the installation Heaven, Pushnitsky unites marble and wood, a combination that seems hard to manage. Compositionally, Heaven reminds us of any number of depictions of battles on earth and in the heavens. Supported by metal rods, a slab of marble becomes the heavenly firmament. Perhaps these are invisible knights who have crossed lances; they form the endless line of a frieze under the weight of looming storm clouds. Perhaps this is a forest of beams and piles that prop up the vault of the sky; perhaps these are the masts of ships. On the “heavenly” white surface of the marble, a line from the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius has been inscribed: “Depart then satisfied, for he also who releases thee [is satisfied].” These words impart a memorial quality to the marble: the material reminds us of the frailty of existence, which is also the message of the quotation from Marcus Aurelius. As in the lithographs in Date of Birth, meaning arises in the synapse between image and commentary—that is, in the material and medium itself. While in the silk screens of No Man’s Land the marble serves as a support for the image, as a kind of snow-white stony paper, in Heaven marble plays a paradoxical role: as paint, as color. This, however, is a particularly vivid pigment: it has volume and considerable weight; and it produces a special visual effect. 

Pushnitsky thus fashions a sort of three-dimensional painting that draws on the reflective capacity of marble. In the objects Line 1 and Line 2 the artist also combines marble and wood. In this instance, however, we should not read the marble as sky or memorial plaque. Instead, it is the blinding whiteness of snow-covered mountain peaks. The cycle Date of Birth deals with a point, with the cessation of time in the single date of death-birth, which in turn helped the artist to sense its materiality. Heaven and Lines, on the contrary, have to do with movement, with extensiveness and with the linear experience of time. Point and line are the fundamental formal moments of the entire project. In a panoramic painting, also entitled No Man’s Land, Pushnitsky constructs a horizon line that travels as it were from one work to another. This is not a panorama in the literal sense of the word, but rather a collage made from various views of abandoned settlements photographed by the artist. The photographic fragments have been bound together by the painting that covers this collage. The horizon line is likewise a matter of artifice. It is more likely that it has been generated by the emptiness and expanse of the landscapes that Pushnitsky witnessed during his travels through the high desert plateau of New Mexico than by some gesture of optical authenticity. The painting Spinners is based on a photographic group portrait of nurses taken during one of the world wars. It can been seen as an allegory for this entire project. The nurses (spinners) spin the thread of life. Subject to multiple erasures by the artist, their image reminds us of an impression made on marble. Based on a photography, the painting is, in fact, just such an impression, an imprint made from life, its document, a document that over time we begin to perceive as allegory. Pushnitsky’s Date of Birth is linked to a particular topos, to a particular place. But topos also has the sense of theme, of a rhetorical commonplace. Reflected in the name of the project itself and referring us back to time, this figure of speech has been given flesh in volumetric, plastic space. We might say that the theme of this project is the topos—the place and the theme—of time: the ambivalence of how we represent life’s finitude and its length, and point and line as the graphic, spatial incarnation of this ambivalence.

Olesya Turkina


…Америка, штат Нью-Мексико. …действительно непонятно, зачем это было нужно мне быть здесь, а не дома. Ирония заключалась в том, что я полдня провел на кладбище. Шел в город познакомиться с местом, было ужасно жарко, наверное, больше 40 в тени. Зашел в парк, а оказался на кладбище. Точнее на краю этого кладбища, которое начиналось за этим парком. Ужасная бедность, песок, все испепелено солнцем, никого нет, кроме песчаных белок. Как тебе могилы размером 5х10 см? Это как бы даже и не могилы, а просто бетонные бруски, лежащие на песке. С именем тоже очень просто: baby boy или baby girl и дата. Видимо сказался долгий перелет и температруа, я начал терять чувство масштаба. Я ощутил себя самолетом, летящим над пустыней и смотрящим на заброшенные, занесенные постройки. Я обнаружил, что на брусках чаще всего встречалась только одна дата, дата рождения. Она же часто и была датой смерти. Мне кажется, я увидел время, мы его не можем потрогать и ощутить, оно реально стало одной только датой. А ведь сегодня у меня День Рождения. ... я еще встречаюсь сегодня с Мардж, поедем в Санта-Фе…

Нью-Мексико. Альбукерке. 7 июля 2007 America, New Mexico. It really doesn’t make sense: why do I need to be here and not at home? The ironic thing was that I spent half the day at a cemetery. I was walking around the city to see the sights. It was incredibly hot, probably something like over forty degrees Centigrade in the shade. I walked into a park, but I ended up in a cemetery. Or rather, on the edge of a cemetery that began where the park ended. Terrible poverty, sand, everything scorched by the sun. There was nobody there but prairie dogs. What do you make of a grave that measures five centimeters by ten centimeters? There weren’t graves even, but concrete slabs plopped onto the sand. The inscriptions were also really simple: Baby Boy or Baby Girl, plus the date. Jet lag and the heat took their toll: I started to lose all sense of scale. I imagined myself as an airplane flying over the desert and looking down on abandoned, sand-swept buildings. I discovered that most of the slabs had only one date inscribed on them—the date of birth. In most cases, this date was also the date of death. I had the sense that I’d seen time. It wasn’t something you could touch or feel: it had really become just this one date. And today is my birthday… I also have to meet Marge today. We’re going to Santa Fe.

Albuquerque, New Mexico. 7 July 2007 12


Дата рождения №10 Birth Date #10



2. 3.

Дата рождения №20 Birth Date #20 Дата рождения №30 Birth Date #30



20. 21.

Дата рождения №4 Birth Date #4 Ничья земля. Объект №2 No Man’s Land. Object #2



22. 23.

Ничья земля. Объект №1 No Man’s Land. Object #1 Ничья земля. Объект №6 No Man’s Land. Object #6



24. 25.

Ничья земля. Объект №3 No Man’s Land. Object #3 Ничья земля. Объект №9 No Man’s Land. Object #9



26. 27.

Ничья земля. Объект №8 No Man’s Land. Object #8 Ничья земля. Объект №4 No Man’s Land. Object #4


…я хотел поработать над формой, которая была бы без начала и конца, как тот горизонт, который меня все время преследовал в Штатах. Идея обречена, как вызов, брошенный Одиссеем богам, за который он поплатился. Живопись не может вырваться за рамки двухмерности, чтобы поставить точку нужна тактильность, объем. Нужен материал, который несет в себе историю… … миф о первозданном небе, которое было расколото и упало на землю. Мне нравится кусочек этого неба, все еще висящего над горами.

Санкт-Петербург. 3 декабря 2007. I wanted to work on a form that would be without beginning or end, like that horizon line that haunted me in the States. The idea is doomed, like the challenge that Odysseus made to the gods, the challenge they made him pay for. Painting can’t escape its two-dimensional frame. To make the point, to place the point, you need tactility, volume. You need a medium that carries the weight of history… …the myth of the primordial heaven, which cracked and fell to earth. I like the fragment of this sky, which still hangs over the mountains.

Saint-Petersburg. 3 December 2007.



Линия 1 Line 1









Родился в 1967 году в городе Ленинграде. 1988-1994 - студент Академии Художеств, графический факультет. С 1994 года член Санкт-Петербургского Союза Художников. С 1996 года работает в Государственном Русском музее, отдел новейших течений в искусстве. Живет и работает в Санкт-Петербурге. Занимается живописью, инсталляцией, графикой и видеоартом. Работы представлены в государственных и частных коллекциях.

Was born in 1967 in Leningrad. 1994 - graduated from The Academy of Fine Arts in St.-Petersburg, graphics faculty. Has been a member of the Union of Artists of St.-Petersburg since 1994. Has worked at the State Russian Museum in the Contemporary Art Department since 1996. Lives and works in St-Petersburg, Russia, creates works of paintings, graphics, video art and installations. Works are represented in state and private collections.

2008 «Дата рождения». Галерея Марины Гисич. Санкт-Петербург, Россия

2008 Birth Date. Marina Gisich Gallery. St.-Petersburg, Russia

Государственные коллекции: Государственный Русский музей. Санкт-Петербург, Россия Государственный Центр Современного искусства. Москва, Россия Московский музей современного искусства. Москва, Россия Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung. Франкфурт, Германия Kolding Art Institute. Колдинг, Дания Калининградская Государственная Художественная Галерея. Калининград, Россия Новосибирская Государственная Художественная Галерея. Новосибирск, Россия Kala Art Institute. Сан-Франциско, США ArtLink Collection. Нью-Йорк, США Музей сновидений Зигмунда Фрейда. Санкт-Петербург, Россия

State collections: The State Russian Museum. St.-Petersburg, Russia The National Contemporary Art Center. Moscow, Russia Moscow museum of Modern Art. Moscow, Russia Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung art collection. Frankfurt, Germany Kolding Art Institute. Kolding, Denmark The Kaliningrad State Art Gallery. Kaliningrad, Russia The Novosibirsk State Art Gallery. Novosibirsk, Russia Kala Art Institute. San-Francisco, USA ArtLink Collection. NY, USA The Freud Dream museum. St.-Petersburg, Russia

Частные собрания: Частный музей Карстена Гронемана. Рибе, Дания Steffan Hallskou collection. Колдинг, Дания Музей актуального искусства Москва, Россия Коллекция Галереи Гельмана. Москва, Россия Коллекция Умара Джабраилова. Москва, Россия Коллекция Алексея Александрова. Москва, Россия Коллекция Виктора и Сергея Поповых. Москва, Россия Коллекция Антона Склярова. Санкт-Петербург, Россия Коллекция Валерия Белого. Санкт-Петербург, Россия И другие частные коллекции в Дании, Германии, Франции, Швеции, Голландии, США и России.

Private collections: Private Museum of Carsten Groneman. Ribe, Denmark Steffan Hallskou collection. Kolding, Denmark The Museum of Contemporary Art Moscow, Russia Guelman Gallery Collection. Moscow, Russia Umar Jabrailov collection. Moscow, Russia Alexey Alexandrov collection. Moscow, Russia Viktor and Sergey Popov collection. Moscow, Russia Anton Skliarov collection. St.-Petersburg, Russia Valeriy Beliy collection. St.-Petersburg, Russia And other private collections in Denmark, Germany, France, Sweden, Netherlands, USA, Russia.


«Письма с окраин империи». Галерея-студия АЛЬБОМ. Санкт-Петербург, Россия LUX. В рамках II Московской биеннале современного искусства. Галерея pop/off/art. Москва, Россия.


Some letters from the Empire edge. The Album Gallery. St.-Petersburg, Russia LUX. 2d Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. Pop/off/art Gallery. Moscow, Russia


«Атмосфера». Gallery Gldager. Grindsted, Denmark «Железный век». Государственный Эрмитаж. Государственный Центр Современного Искусства. Санкт-Петербург, Россия


Atmosphere. Gallery Guldager. Grindsted, Denmark The Iron Century. The State Hermitage Museum. The National Contemporary Art Center. St.-Petersburg, Russia


«Корни». Парк Кухмалахти. TERRA ARTIS. Тампере, Финляндия «Реакция». Галерея Д-137. Санкт-Петербург, Россия «Отпечатки». AM Галерея/pARTner Gallery. Москва, Россия


Roots (Veins). Kuhmalahti Public Park. TERRA ARTIS. Tampere, Finland Reaction. D-137 Gallery. St.-Petersburg, Russia Marks. AM Gallery/pARTner Gallery, Moscow, Russia

2004 «Интроспекция». Галерея Марата Гельмана. Москва, Россия

2004 Introspection. Marat Guelman Gallery. Moscow, Russia

2003 «Трансляция». Государственный Центр Фотографии Министерства Культуры Российской Федерации. Санкт-Петербург, Россия «Иосиф Бродский. Урания». Авторский проект экспозиции в Музее Ахматовой в Фонтанном доме. Санкт-Петербург, Россия Naked light. White Space Gallery. Лондон, Великобритания «Небо». Галерея «КвадраТ». Санкт-Петербург, Россия

2003 Retranslation. The State Centre of Photography of Russian Federation Ministry of Culture. St.-Petersburg, Russia Joseph Brodsky. Urania. Akhmatova Museum in Fountain House. St.-Petersburg, Russia Naked light. White Space Gallery. London, Great Britain The Sky. KvadraT Gallery. St.-Petersburg, Russia


Introspection. Государственный Русский музей. Санкт-Петербург, Россия Грант CEC International Partners. Нью-Йорк, Сан-Франциско, США


Introspection. The State Russian Museum. St.-Petersburg, Russia The CEC International Partners grant, New York, San-Francisco, USA


Каталог к выставке Виталия Пушницкого Birth Date  

Каталог к выставке Виталия Пушницкого Birth Date