Agency of Singular Investigations (Stanislav Shuripa, Anna Titova)

Flower power. Archive
27.02.2019 – 14.04.2019, MMOMA (Gogolevsky 10/2)

Moscow Museum of Modern Art and Triumph gallery present the project by the Agency of Singular Investigations (ASI) Flower Power. Archive. The new artwork by Stanislav Shuripa and Anna Titova tells the story of a secret society, active in the late Soviet Union. It promoted ideas dating as far back as the 18th century, ideas that had been captivating the enlightened minds across the world for several centuries. The project features documents uncovered by the ASI research team in the Leningrad Region in an abandoned summerhouse community as well as historical data and reconstructed objects based on the investigation materials. The found archive is used to recreate a special world once inhabited by these ‘guerrilla fighters of the spirit’. The group was called Flower Power, to underscore its relation to the global counterculture and due to its fundamental belief in magical-political properties of certain flowers, namely their mysterious power to influence political events.

The exposition immerses the audience into a space of alternate history. Flower Power origins can be traced back to previously unknown research by the Enlightenment-era scientists in magical-political botany. Originally a circle of the initiated, Flower Power was evolving throughout the 19th century to eventually become an international network on a clandestine mission against tyranny and war. In the first half of the last century, the organization faced a series of challenges. This included elimination of its sleeper cells in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and their reinstatement during the ‘thaw’ period. At its later stage, the organization adopted the tactic of radical ‘passivism’, limiting its activities to holding collective parapsychological sessions. In the late 1980s, Flower Power gained in influence as different countries had new people coming to power who were considered to have ties to the organization. Nonetheless, the advances of reactionary forces at the turn of the century led Flower Power to concede its complete defeat and disband.

In the project Flower Power. Archive, the ASI explores the possibilities of historical reconstruction. The exhibition covers the milestones of the organization's history and its unsung struggle, and presents unique hard evidence of Flower Power activities: documents, printed materials, personal belongings, household items and artefacts used in political-magical rites and mysteries. Similarly to other projects by the ASI, a critical look at the visual discourse of general and local history museums blurs the boundaries between the imaginary and the non-fictional, history and dreams, reconstructions and originals, images and events, letting the viewers see past events that have been hidden and ignored by the establishment historical narrative.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

The Agency of Singular Investigations (ASI) was established in 2014 by Stanislav Shuripa and Anna Titova. The Agency carries out artistic research with a focus in postdocumentality. Recent personal projects by the artists include Petition of the Initiative Group (2018), Park Dystopia (Special Program of the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, 2016), Apocalyptological Congress (2015), Observatorium (special project for Manifesta-10, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, 2014), and others. Group projects include the 1st Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2018), the 1st Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art (2017), To the Lighthouse: Form and Politics of Light (2017), INTERACTION: Contemporary Artists Respond to MMOMA Collection (2016), and others. The articles by Shuripa and Titova about art were published in the Moscow Art Magazine, the Sinii Divan, Dialogue of Arts and others. In 2018, Stanislav Shuripa's book ‘Actions and Meaning in the Art of the Second Half of the 20th Century. Works of the Moscow Institute of Contemporary Art. Volume III’ was awarded the Innovation Art Prize. Since 2015, the artists run the ASI exhibition space at CCI Fabrika that showcases works by Stanislav Shuripa and Anna Titova as well as other artists.