Zugzwang (from Deutsche Zugzwang — the compulsion to move), unusual to the Russian ear, the word in the title of the exhibition by Alexander Shchurenkov, is a chess term. It is used to denote a position in a game in which one or both of the opponents have no useful moves at the same time, so that any move of the player leads to a deterioration of his own position. In tactical terms, zugzwang is close to the trap, taking the chess game, when one player is counting on the recklessness of the enemy. Shchurenkov offers a symbolic reading of this game situation in the format of the exhibition and gives a hint how to perceive the exhibition.
“Zugzwang” is the author’s reflection on the past experience, about the experience that a person tries in vain to keep in memory. The theme emerges as a kind of promise of fun and are projected to include increases in personal story, immersion in the story about what happened. The viewer trustfully accepts this promise and convinced by the artist of the correctness of his own interpretations is involved in the system of deceptive signs in its simplicity. So he finds himself in Shchurenkov’s zugzwang. And the images, perceived as familiar and close, suddenly slip away from this recognition: they do not refer to anything, do not open up and do not clarify anything.
Alexander Shchurenkov (was born in 1984).
He attended Michael Bitler’s three-week course «What the work tells about the tools» (Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts). Since 2016, he has been studying at the Institute of Contemporary Art (Moscow, Russia). Alexander received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2004 from Moscow State University. Since November 2017, he has been a member of the artist-run space Center Red (Moscow). He currently lives and works in Moscow. The main theme of Schurenkov’s work is investigating the nature of basic psychological notions such as self-consciousness, self-determination, and self-sufficiency and extrapolating the results to society as a whole. The artist is interested in understanding how everyday objects become totems, as well as drawing the line between the sacralization and the desacralization of things that people see and use every day, experiencing self-identification with these objects, and investigating the changing meanings of garbage and abandoned and re-appropriated objects. His artistic techniques include working with everyday objects, from which he creates installations and sculptures, and exploring spatial limits in site-specific works.
Alexey Maslyaev (1985, Moscow Region).
Curator and cultural historian. He is Head of the Research and Teaching Methodology Sector of the Education Department of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA) and curator of the non-commercial section of the Cosmoscow International Contemporary Art Fair (Moscow). Alexey Maslyaev curated numerous exhibitions such as «junk» (MMOMA, 2010); «Affirmative Actions» (Artplay, 2010); «I Always Knew We Would Meet» (Arthouse Squat Forum, 2011); «Let Me Be Part of a Narrative» (Paperworks Gallery, 2012); «No Water Tomorrow», (MMOMA,2013); NCCA, Yekaterinburg, 2014); «History Demands to Be Continued» (Dagestan Union of Artists Exhibition Hall, Makhachkala, 2013); «Museum Looks» (MMOMA, 2014-15); «If My Way — No Way» (MMOMA 2016); «Preservation Instinct» (Fragment gallery, 2017), «Cloud Caught on a Mountain» (MMOMA, 2017).