Polina Kanis

1, 2, 3, 4
12.07.2012 – 18.07.2012, Triumph Gallery

Polina Kanis grew up in Petersburg, where she trained as a teacher, before moving to Moscow and enrolling at the Rodchenko School. From 2009, the artist has actively participated in exhibitions, including group exhibitions in Russia and abroad (Warsaw, Vienna, Oslo, London and Kiev). Last year, Polina Kanis became one of the most frequently referred to modern artists following her receipt of the Kandinsky Prize for her work “The Egg”, which employed the motifs of the popular Soviet electronic game “Just You Wait!” The artist’s new exhibition, “1, 2, 3, 4”, has been named by simply counting the number of works and it comprises a series of video-documentations of performances by the artist.

Polina Kanis’s main materials are a video camera and her own body, with the aid of which hypothetical contexts are realized in almost scientific social experiments. “For me, it’s production with an element of randomness within it and a great deal of freedom that’s of interest. One of the important moments in a work is that you leave more air or space for the participants,” says the artist.

In her works, Kanis dramatizes varied situations: she dials a “phone sex” service and orders a strange fantasy – rape in a museum; she goes to a junior class at a Moscow school and, like a strict teacher, interacts with the children with the aid of a whistle; holds a gymnastics lesson for pensioners in Neskuchny Gardens. In her work “Purification”, Kanis reconstructs a ritual foot-washing common to varied cultures and traditions. She washes the feet of young people dressed in a white uniform, one by one, in so doing trying to reconsider it, and to purify it of its existing meanings and stereotypes. In the end, placed within a contemporary context, the canonical image entire deconstructs itself.