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Ivan Moudov
Galerie Alberta Pane
64 Rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth, 75003 Paris, France
May 5, 2012 - June 16, 2012

Don't Take It Too Seriously
by James Loks

"It was a normal day in the Marais, the sun had given us a break from the rain, people were shopping, drinking coffee, going about their business. Not me. I lowered my eye to the glory hole. There was a bear on the other side, a bear in a bad way. He was laying down. From my position all I could see was the pile of his guts as they spilled out over the floor."

Not the start of a hard-nosed gay policier. On one side of the glory hole was a gallery, on the other side of the glory hole was a gallery; it was the same gallery, albeit not. "More fool you," some might say -- but I was getting pretty much exactly what I came for. Overhead spun a mirror ball upon which remained just a single mirror, throwing its somewhat lonely light around the room. At the top of the stairs was a screen on which the artist balanced on his chair, balanced on the chair's two legs with his two legs jerking backwards and forwards to maintain position. It was an opening but the wine was on the floor suspiciously labelled, there were cans I couldn't touch, and an unopened bottle of champagne was affixed to the wall. It was strange.

Ivan Moudov, installation view; Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Alberta Pane


And funny. And really more funny than strange, while not losing a nice element of strange. Refreshing, as gallery day in the Marais can be a po-faced affair, and it doesn't do, does it? To always take oneself so seriously? And it seems like Ivan Moudov knows this, and so brought a little slice of anarchy with him to Paris from Sofia, some irreverent silliness to throw in the direction of whatever authority he so chooses, knowingly following in the grand tradition; there is, after all, a photograph of the fountain on the wall and one was never sure if he was taking the piss or not, and the answer was probably a yes, no matter how many books have been written about it. I can't even mention his name.

Ivan Moudov, installation view; Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Alberta Pane


Mr Moudov seems to be comfortably following in his footsteps, funny and clever, while also kind of stupid and lame, (in the best kind of way). And he performs it well in this show, the art of turning stupid into clever, pointless into pointed, without ever losing the stupid and pointless that make it so special. The massive teddy had had the stuffing ripped out of him, in spite of some vicious looking claws, the hands of the clock on the wall necessitated turning by the gallerist and there was a video of the artist loading boxes into the boot of his car that I couldn't see properly because of some women's legs, as well as other works which I liked, not least because it was all crammed into quite a small space and meant that everyone had to play that game of smiling and standing in little groups a little bit too close together and the movement of one person could cause a chain reaction around the room that one imagined could actually eject an unfortunate from the front door. And of course looking on was the glory hole, and the possibility that one would stoop to find not another room but another eye, which in some sense would've been the perfect result, if not a little distressing in the moment.

James Thompson


(Image on top right: Ivan Moudov, Performing time, 2012, Performance, pendule, variables; Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Alberta Pane)

Posted by James Loks on 5/20/12 | tags: conceptual video-art installation mixed-media

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