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Mikhail Karasik. Selfportrait

04 September - 28 September 2003
The Marble Palace

The exhibition includes works by Mikhail Karasik - an avowed leader of artist's book current in Russia. Self-portrait is a certain sizing up and is devoted to the semi-centennial of the author. The exhibition showcases books whose texts have been written by the artist himself, and many of them can be characterized as autobiographic, or even "dairy" like. Mikhail Karasik is a leading author, ideologist, organizer, and promoter of modern Russian artist's book towards the West; his works are kept in the most prestigious world libraries and museums. Emphasizing plastic and not literary nature of his books, the artists form them as an inner sole, a mitten, a vodka bottle, or disposable utensil. They can be round, long, polygonal, or folded like a fan. All the books have their cases of jackets; so that one can not only read them but also play with them, communicate with them. Passport, Sberknizhka (savings-bank book), Trudovaya knizhka (work record card) are those official papers without which a person does not exist for a society. But for Karasik these books become a kind of autobiographic prose, sometimes extremely frank one. Unlike conceptualists, who work mainly with foreign language and in foreign language, Karasik always talks about himself emphasizing confidential, intimate nature of conversation: texts of his books are hand-written and in all the copies occasional slips and mistakes are repeated. In his oeuvre, Karasik uses tradition of the Russian futuristic book of 1910-1920s - lithographic publications with illustrations by K.Malevich, M.Larionov, N.Goncharova, O.Rosanova, and P.Filonov. However, while futuristic books with their exercisebooks-like untidy look were meant to epater and to be knowingly anti-aesthetic, Karasik's books, on the contrary, are elegantly aesthetic. The artist thinks carefully over all the elements of decoration, he experiments with paper, use advertising posters and tracing paper; pattern for embroidery and rough cardboard. The fact that form of every book is carefully thought over has conceptual meaning, since a book is seen by the artist as a detailed metaphor of contents.