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Sturdy Black Shoes

09 July 2020 - 04 October 2020

  

Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art is pleased to present Sturdy Black Shoes, a comprehensive exhibition of the practices of Taus Makhacheva, Super Taus and Superhero Sighting Society, that opens on the 8 of July 2020.

The title of the exhibition, Sturdy Black Shoes, refers to the resilience of Super Taus, Makhacheva's superhero alter ego - or vice versa, as some might say. These shoes are part of Super Taus' mountain village outfit and a reference to the perseverance and resolve to overcome obstacles she encounters living in Dagestan in the Caucasus region of Russia, thereby inscribing heroism into everyday life.

Taus Makhacheva is an artist from Russia based in Moscow. Her practice reflects on day-to-day rituals, the unexpected meeting of cultures and traditions, and instances of the extraordinary in the everyday with playful and humorous overtones. Working across media such as installation, photography, video and performance, her projects are largely collaborative in nature. Through each work, she tries to develop and discover ways of sharing stories and ideas through a multiplicity of voices and contexts. Works in the exhibition such as Tightrope (2015), On the Benefit of the Pyramids in Cultural Education, Strengthening of national Consciousness, and the Formation of Moral and Ethical Guideposts (2015) and Gamsutl (2012) have been realized working closely with Rasul Abakarov, a fifth generation tightrope walker, choreographer Anna Abalikhina, dancer Usup Omarov, circus arts educator Elena Lvova to name a few.

Super Taus's life affirming practice is presented in the exhibition with video documentations and a multi-channel video presentation of Untitled 2 (2016) that started with a rediscovery of the forgotten story of two museum attendants at a museum in Dagestan-Maria Korkmasova and Khamisat Abdulaeva-who prevented a theft of an Alexander Rodchenko painting in the 1990s. By invoking the story of these two women, invisible art-care-workers are turned into museological heroes as Super Taus attempts to further inscribe their heroic deed into a larger art historical narrative. Since 2016, Super Taus has been carrying their statues from far-flung place to far-flung place until she finds the best home for them.

An initiative that sits in the center of the exhibition is Superhero Sighting Society (2019) conceived in collaboration with curator Sabih Ahmed. The Society was conceived keeping in mind questions such as, how can we reinvent the idea of a superhero, and the desire for supernatural forces that it embodies, for the needs of today? The superhero accounts gathered by Superhero Sighting Society come from all reaches of the world in multiple languages and have a radically different approach to their mission. By sharing their stories, the Society reveals the need for and importance of small acts in the realm of the everyday, uncovering the supernatural within the ordinary and sometimes simply portraying compassion. Hearing the superheroes' stories researched and written by Jessica Saxby, the Society's records clerk, the listener has the ability to not just travel to the different worlds those heroes inhabit but to observe transformation of helplessness into a life-affirming vocabulary.

Makhacheva's seemingly straightforward metaphors contain an entangled web of cultural and historical references, a web that unfurls layer by layer in the process of perceiving her oeuvre. Looking for stories in muffled whispers and navigating opaque realities is key to Taus Makhacheva's methodology that informs this exhibition.

The title of this exhibition comes from Uzma Z. Rizvi's essay Taut Detective: On the Art of Taus Makhacheva (2020).

Superhero Sighting Society was commissioned by KADIST Foundation, Paris

Supported by narrative projects, London.

 

Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Katharinenstraße 23, D-26121 Oldenburg, Tel.: +49(0)441/235-3208, Fax.: +49(0)441/235-2161
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Friday 14:00 -18:00, Saturday - Sunday 11:00 - 18:00, Monday closed info@edith-russ-haus.de
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