</Present-Day Reality: Art Of Re-Enactment In New ICA Student Exhibition>
While some major Russian contemporary art institutions have suspended their exhibition program, art students are still trying to have their foot in the door. ODRA explores current art events, exhibitions and festivals in a column #review which would feature comments by curators and artists, and interviews with those who continue their work under mounting constraints in Russia.

Olga Shcherbakova, One Face, 2022

Joseph Backstein Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and the Center for Creative Industries Fabrika have opened a new exhibition in Moscow called “The Return of Kolobok and a Few More Strange Attractors”, which runs at the space of Agency of Singular Investigations until October 17, 2022. The exhibition features graduation art by students who spent two years studying contemporary artistic practices.

The graduates present their vision of how old forms of communication and art can be recycled in the age of digital reality and automation. Reflecting on multiple versions of the present, past and future, emerging artists question the very notion of time.
A present-day reality perceived as hypercomplex appears in the art works deconstructed into parts, where forces and conditions, facts and fiction meet. The name 'Kolobok' refers to a Russian fairy tale about the lost time. It looks like we have lost the time again, and the return of the past forms shape new spatial and temporal dimensions, changing the tide of history.

“Our time unexpectedly easily swaps the archaic and the supernova, the unexpected and the traditional, the ordinary and the unique. Through this communication foam of days, forgotten, and at the same time familiar patterns emerge more and more clearly: archetypes, primary structures,” curator and ICA’s rector Stas Shuripa notes.

artworks by Mikhail Varyushin, Maria Pinus, Igor Sever

Kolobok echoes its predecessor “Time of Things,” the exhibition for ICA graduates that was held last year. For example, back then Maria Filimonova and Alexander Shameev brought an ancient sculpture into modern time in “Chimera”, while this year Alexandra Slon in “Buy, buy and buy once more” has raised a problem of consumerism through a mummy figure.
“I personally see past, present and future as three heroes who are inextricably connected with each other,” said Slon about her work at the new exhibition. “Everything becomes clear when everyone meets at one point. Without knowing the past, there is a good chance of falling into Groundhog Day and being trapped in a loop without thinking about the present. There is a possibility of not seeing the future. It seems to me that society has fallen into a looped structure, where everything is monotonous, unlike art, which opens up new facets of what is happening. So, the exhibition will be held in a chamber atmosphere, where artists and visitors can be themselves.”
Chimera, 2021

Slon’s other work at the exhibition is the sculpture ”Harvest” (working title “Seeding”) — a human skull made of sunflower seeds. It is dedicated to the problem of education and critical thinking. “We say ‘seeds inside head’ about a stupid person. In my childhood, school education was built on memorization without thinking (there are exceptions). It seems to me that if you build up the muscle of critical thinking, then questions will arise that can change the stagnant course of events”. When this change happens, the seeds seem to come to the surface and take on a double contrasting meaning. This way the author integrates new meaning into the old form.
ICA was founded in 1992. Its main goal is professional development of artists, curators and art researchers in the area of contemporary art. ICA cooperates with key Moscow institutions: Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow Museum of Modern Art and Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art.