02 November 2016 — 08 January 2017
curator: Viktor Misiano
co-curator: Elena Yaichnikova
In September 2007 a young artist Sharon Hayes stood in the center of Manhattan and addressed her lover whom she chose to leave anonymous. "My dear lover" – she cried via a loudspeaker among the bustling crowd and shared her sorrow of the loss, her painful longing and unquenched desire. Personal trauma intertwined with public tragedy in that story: woman's protest against unrequited love has developed into a protest against unjust war. She exclaimed: "Everything Else Has Failed! Don't You Think It's Time for Love?". Her love confession was made in public as a political speech and a her civic call found itself in the intimate appeal. Uncertainty of the border between intimate and social, private and public, inseparability of desire and loss, inseparability of love from the experience and language – all those themes brought up by Sharon Hayes can be found almost in every work dedicated to love. And these very themes are making a leitmotif of this exhibition as well.
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Rainer Werner Fassbinder referred to paradoxes of internal dialectic of love when he gave a title to his famous movie "Love is Colder than Death". It's impossible to explain love only through joy of its finding, it is inseparable from the experience of loss of the object of love or love itself. Leo Tolstoy noticed: "One cannot love something that can't be lost". Hence the dynamism and potentiality of love. After all lovers are never satisfied with what they found. Entirety of love is never enough for them, they always feel the need to bridge some lacunae in the completeness of the feeling. That's why, lightening life as a bright flash, love does not necessarily die, it can last and prove that "eternal" or "undying love" does exist. Contrary to the common belief, love shall not be treated as an ecstatic and self-contained experience only. The feeling that connects two lovers doesn't make a whole, a new single entity of them. On the contrary it's an internal duality of the subjects that make love possible. Lovers can open themselves to each other only because they've already had that 'other' inside. Abandoning oneself to love, one not only finds the other, but returns to one's true self. Rainer Maria Rilke wrote: "The supreme mission of lovers is to protect each other's solitude".

Rania Bellou. "Immortal Love or Ode to the Past", 2016 (Book, 30 х 80, video, 6:32 min. Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Аthens);
Ion Grigorescu. "Alecsandri", 1979 (Film, 7:05 min. Courtesy of the artist);
Eli Cortiñas. "FIN", 2010 (Single channel video, 4:06 min. Courtesy of the artist, Soy Capitán, Berlin and Waldburger Wouters, Brussels);
Jonas Mekas. "Outtakes From the Life of a Happy Man", 2012 (Film, 68 min. Courtesy of the artist and Re:Voir company);
Yoko Ono. "Two Virgins", 1968 (Film, 20 min. © 1968/2016. Yoko Ono); "Apotheosis", 1969 (Film, 18 mm, 18:36 min.© 1969/2016. Yoko Ono, Collection of Yoko Ono)
Koka Ramishvili. "Conversation", 2005 (Colour video with sound, 2:20 min.); "Corridor", 2005 (Сolour video with sound, 5:10 min. Courtesy of the artist)

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Love is impossible without a meeting. After all it takes two beings to see each other first. Having met once, the lovers long to see each other again and again, more and more often. Thus, having started with the first encounter love grows into a sequence of dates, which Jean Genet called "ceremonial of love". That's the difference between falling in love and being in love. If one encounter is enough for the former, the latter is a connection unfolding in time. Therefore, being a relation of steady and continuous nature, love is inseparable from time. Then we can agree with the political philosopher Michael Hardt: if we consider love a steady and long-term connection between two people, then it really is a social institution. And if the common belief that love is the basic and most intimate human experience is true, then love is the prime cause of social ties and human society.

Akram Zaatari. "Tomorrow Everything Will Be Allright", 2010 (Single-channel video, colour, mono sound, 11 min. Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London);
Sophie Calle. "Anatoli", 1984 (Photographs, framed photograph, graphite pencil. Courtesy of the Paula Cooper Gallery, New York and Arndt & Partner, Berlin);
Lee Mingwei. "100 Days With Lily", 1995 (Five silver dye bleach prints, 166 х 115 each. Collection of Rudy Tseng);
Boris Mikhailov. "Diary", 1980-2016 (Photo, 30 x 21 each. Courtesy of the artist);
Hans-Peter Feldmann. "Liebe/Love", 2006 (Photo album (found photo), 50 х 62,5 each photo. Courtesy of the artist);
Kateřina Šedá. "It Doesn't Matter", 2008 (Drawings, 50 х 62,5 each. Courtesy of the artist); "Her Mistress's Everything", 2008 (Photographs, 60 х 40 each. Video, 17:05 min. Courtesy of the artist)
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We are used to believe that through love we can get close to the inmost base of life. Nevertheless, having become a key subject of culture, love has acquired certain cultural patterns in return. This is a theme of the famous book by Roland Barthes "A Lover's Discourse: Fragments", but long before Barthes Francois de La Rochefoucauld noticed: "Many would have never fallen in love unless they heard of it before". To put it in other words, to some extent love is always a love for love itself, as it's a belonging to a certain tradition of love experience and expression that is valuable as well. Therefore it would be wrong to put love only in the intimate sphere: love is always a representation, it's always a play performed on a scene. Let's not forget it's the chivalric cult of the Belle dame, with its idea of courtly love, that underlies European concept of love, and the true nature of courtly love flourishes mainly in imagination, not in reality. According to Jacques Lacan, courtly love techniques are kept and develop within the idea of the "pleasure to desire", which turns it into a sort of ascetic practice where ethical function of eroticism is maximally expressed. Lacan has also made another important observation: an ability to speak leaves a subject without any chances for direct access to sexual. It is the language that works as an agent between two lovers forcing them to express their affections instead of merely showing them. Therefore, it's not only we control the language to make our love confessions, but language controls us, dictating certain rules and phrases to be used for expression of the feelings.

Núria Güell. "Ayuda Humanitaria", 2008–2013 (19 Letters. Courtesy of the artist and ADN Gallery, Barcelona);
Eli Cortiñas. "Confessions with an open curtain", 2011 (Single channel video, 5:25 min. Courtesy of the artist, Soy Capitán, Berlin and Waldburger Wouters, Brussels);
Tracey Moffatt. "Love" (Edited by Gary Hillberg), 2003 (Found footage montage on video and DVD, 20:51 min. Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 gallery, Sydney);
Mariateresa Sartori. "In Sol Maggiore/ In Sol Minore", 2013 (Video, 5:48 min. Courtesy of the artist);
Anita Sieff. "Missed II", 1995 (Film, 16 mm, 10 min. Courtesy of the artist);
Andy Warhol. "Kiss", 1963-64 (Film, 54 min. Collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)
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A person in love, searching for reciprocity, eagers to explain oneself. He tries to speak about his love as no one else had before as he wants to be utterly touching and convincing. However, as linguistic philosophy insists, by changing our language we change reality and by changing our usual behavior we change whole social structure. Thus love becomes a metaphor and a real force of social renewal. "The Personal is Political," declared American political activists of 1970-s. According to Alain Badiou, love that breaks a routine wherever it comes is always the "moment of truth" offering a chance for a "new way of being". "Sex + sentimentality instead of love," that's how another French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy defined principles dominating in the modern world. There's no space for love in it, since a transformative power of love remains useless when standard values are restricted to money and success, property and power. There's another important thing about "the Personal is Political" slogan: it has a reversal meaning. The transformative power of love does not only affect social status quo, but also its subject. After all love is always an experience that turns a human into a person. As Russian philosopher Viktor Mazin once said: "One needs to be a person to love and one has to love to be a person".

Bisan Abu-Eisheh. "Love Speech", 2014 (Two-channel video, color, sound, 20:17 min. Courtesy of the artist);
Akram Zaatari. "Twenty-Eight Nights and A Poem I", 2015 (HD video, color, sound, 42:11 min. Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London);
Nikolay Oleynikov. Member of the group "Chto Delat". "In a cold sweat I jumped out of my bed, I dreamed that uprising was no longer possible...", 2016 (Installation (textile, sewing, acrylic), dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. Artwork is carried out with the help of cooperative "Shvemy" (Anna Tersehkina, Olesya Zamojskaya));
Gabriella Ciancimino. "Furious Love", 2016 (Mixed media. Courtesy of the artist and Prometeogallery, Milan);
Fouad Elkoury and Shirin Abu Shaqra. "On War and Love", 2006 (Photo diary (33 photos). Courtesy of Fouad Elkoury);
Anita Sieff. "Hai tempo per me?" ("Have you got time for me?"), 2010 (Neon light, sound installation, 0:15 min. Courtesy of the artist, Renza Brunello, Norbert Salenbauch)
Bisan Abu Eisheh, Rania Bellou, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ion Grigorescu, Nuria Guell, Akram Zaatari, Sophie Calle, Eli Cortinas, Fouad Elkoury, Jonas Mekas, Lee Mingwei, Boris Mikhailov, Tracey Moffatt, Nikolay Oleynikov, Yoko Ono, Koka Ramishvili, Mariateresa Sartori, Anita Sieff, Andy Warhol, Hans Peter Feldman, Gabriella Ciancimino, Katerina Seda
artistic director of the project: Viktor Misiano
National Center for Contemporary Arts
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center
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