Plattenbauten in the Museum of Architecture


spray paint, site-specific

Moscow, Russia

Sometimes I really love how things come together …

The first time I have been to Moscow in 2011, I visited the Shchusev State Museum for Architecture - seeing a fantastic bizarre show about the works of Nikolai Levochkin - an unknown subway driver, who was found dead in his Moscow apartment, which was crammed with fantasy architecture maquettes that he was building in his spare time. Since then it stayed my favourite Museum in Moscow.

Pretty much 1 year ago, I helped my wife’s SPASIBO studio to set up a solo show for Alexandra Paperno in that very same nicely restored "ruined wing" (as they call it), when I noticed, that they cover the stone sculptures of their courtyard garden with grey wooden boxes to protect them against the harsh winters - a nice absurd formation of grey blocks on pedestals that no one spends a thought about …exactly my kind of utilitarian objects of desire.
Jokingly I said: "I really want to paint these boxes .. even on my own expense … just to have a solo show every winter …")
But there seemed no chance a state museum would agree on this.

Then in April we were preparing a large installation in Switzerland at Zone Contemporaine, and it happened that Pavel Kovalenko payed us a visit there.
My installation there also consisted of dozens of grey boxes, and Pavel mentioned his connection with the Museum.
Some months later he called us: «Let's paint the boxes at Schusev!». It seems we had the same desire to recontextualize them …
So we did.

From the day we started we got lots of nice reactions from the visitors reporting their confusion to the museum. Also the director came and then posted a story on the museum’s instagram.
The next day she comes back and tells about the surprising feedback: "all my friends write to me … and they love it", and then she mentions a message from London with a warning: "Be careful, this is a plagiate! You can get in trouble for this - it looks exactly like the work of a Berlin based artist called Evol …"
… you can’t make this up!

Here’s a link to a short one-take interview with the director on her video-blog