Artist: Anastasia Sosunova
Venue: Britta Rettberg, Munich
Photo: Dirk Tacke
On occasion of her first solo show in Munich, Lithuanian artist Anastasia Sosunova presents a multilayered installation combining sculpture, video, vinyl and woodcut prints with the intent to explore acts of worldbuilding and critically understand the structure behind collective ideals and their dissemination.
The exhibition is the result of the artist’s ongoing fascination and research into real and fictional histories of utopian socialist communities in East Europe and how these can be recontextualised and understood in relation to today’s political struggles of the same geographical areas, and Lithuania in particular. There are two main literary works that the show builds upon: the highly censored novel Chevengur by Soviet Russian writer Andrei Platonov and the more recent short story 2017 – A Year of Anniversary by Lithuanian artist Agnė Jokšė. The former, finished in 1928 but only published in 1988, unfolds in an imaginary town inhabited by ardent supporters of the Communist Revolution who gradually render a supposedly realized place of communism and non-work, a miserable and improbable village. The latter, tells the story of a now centenary socialist non-binary community, settled in Lithuania’s woods a few decades after the October Revolution, from which the main character is exiled and left alone to survive in the forest. Elaborating on the profound ambivalence of both literary works as well as their direct link to the October Revolution and the following propagation of new ideals, Sosunova presents different environments which unfold in the gallery space and its liminal areas: an amusement park where the local customs of an imagined settlement are presented to the (foreign) viewer; a farewell dinner for an exiled member of the community; and some peripheral agglomerations for a basic survival at the outskirts of society. The works appear theatrically staged in the gallery space and become both a backdrop for an imagined non-binary and post-work future society, and a set of visual cornerstones for a world made of better values; while presenting gazes which are outside of it – be these of the viewer or of the imagined exiled member of the community.