Who doesn’t sway to the allure of a bit of propaganda every once in a while? It’s hard to deny the beauty of state-funded art, whether Soviet or WPA, and even the Juxtapoz office features it’s very own propaganda to maintain efficiency and workers’ solidarity. “будь зорким на посту!” “Be vigilant at the post!”
On December 30th, Russian art collective Doping Pong opened Наше всё! (Our Everything!), an expansive exhibition titled at Erarta Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Like a selection of “greatest hits,” the presentation offers a comprehensive overview of the Russian digital art pioneers’ creative output over a span of 20 years.
Originating in Russian Romanticism, Doping Pong’s work plays in the reinvention of popular images of young pioneers, cosmonauts, and athletes accompanied by pop culture elements. Heroic and romantic scenes from the Soviet era, more ideal than real, are a main source of inspiration for the group that stirred international controversy with their advertising campaign for the Sochi Olympic Village in 2014.
A large billboard dominates the space that features a monumental display of flags and statues, obviously appropriating the authoritarian aesthetic beyond the surface of individual works. With heavy focus on graphic design and digital art in the past, members of Doping Pong recently turned to paint, successfully recreating their most celebrated images in traditional format.
Developing what they call the ‘New Russian Romanticism’ style, their paintings present a contemporary take on images from Russia’s past, teasing with fantasy or fairytale folklore. With a recurring cast of young pioneers and athletes, as well as an appearance by Gagarin, Lenin and Stalin, the exhibition indeed presents “our everything” for the art collective itself and the Russian nation. –Sasha Bogojev