Only a Sleeping Person Doesn't Blink

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© Courtesy of the Artist and Wilkinson Gallery
Only a Sleeping Person Doesn't Blink

50/58 Vyner Street
E2 9DQ London
February 15th, 2013 - March 28th, 2013
Opening: February 14th, 2013 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

+44 020 8980 2662
Wed-Sat 11-6; Sun 12-6



A short-lived avant-garde collective of writers, musicians, and artists in the 1920s and 1930s

Coalesced in the context of the “intense centralization of Soviet Culture” and the decline of the avant-garde culture of Leningrad

Daniil Ivanovich Yuvachev was born in St. Petersburg in 1905. In high school he invented a new surname for himself: Kharms. Kharms is pronounced with a hard “H,” much like how you’d pronounce “Hanukkah” if you were Jewish.

There was a redheaded man who had no eyes or ears. He didn’t have hair either, so he was called a redhead arbitrarily. He couldn’t talk because he had no mouth. He didn’t have a nose either. He didn’t even have arms or legs. He had no stomach, he had no back, no spine, and he didn’t have any insides at all. There was nothing! So, we don’t even know who we’re talking about. We’d better not even talk about him any more. 

Interestingly, OBERIU’s members mastered poetry, prose, and theatre, but had no experience in the visual arts  “Daniil Kharms is probably one of the best Absurdist Russian writers I've read from the OBERIU class. And this book is the best selection from Kharms that I've read. If you read this you can't help but laugh. You either take him too seriously or don't understand the genre. Every piece is thoroughly laced with the absurdist style. If you've read the Diapsalmata from Kierkegaard's Either/Or and enjoyed that, this is for you.” (A five-star review by Amazon user Andrew Rothwell)

Nikolai Oleinikov was madly in love with a fly

Nikolai Oleinikov wrote under many pseudonyms, such as Makar the Fierce, Chief Engineer of the Mausoleums, and Peter Shortsighted.

-------- had four sons and they were all idiots. One of them couldn't even sit on his chair and kept falling off. -------- himself was not very good at sitting on his chair either, to be honest. It used to be quite hilarious: they'd be sitting at the table, at one end -------- would keep falling off his chair, and at the other end, his son.

Nikolai Oleinikov was an editor of children’s books and gave his friends jobs writing nonsense poetry.

Alexander Vvedensky was arrested in 1931, accused of being an anti-Soviet children's writer. They said he encoded anti-Soviet messages in nonsense poetry.

For OBERIU nonsense is neither the destruction of meaning nor a reflection of the meaningless of the world around us, but rather the primordial semiotic material from which all words and their meanings harden.

“What is Frother?” Alexander Vvedensky asked. “And the pillow now fluttered, now soared into the heavens like a candle, now ran through the room like the Dnieper. Father sat over the cow-wheat writing desk, and the sons stood against the wall like umbrellas.  That’s what Frother is.”

The names OBERIU and  chinari are somewhat interchangeable in the scholarship OBERIU is an acronym that stands for Association of Real Art.



(Fewer facts are known about Anna Parkina than about OBERIU due to: not as old, just one person, still alive)  

Founder of the Institute of White Time A document found (written?) by Anna Parkina: “We have recently discovered a secret correspondence which happened during the 5 World War … concerning the return of the clandestine territories back to natural reserve. If we had discovered this correspondence in time, billion of lives would have been saved and many weapons kept for the good.”

“In her works Anna Parkina explores human ability to create subjective reality. It largely depends on the visual angle and distance between object and our eyes. It's hard to imagine that layers which we're unable to see and which therefore don't exist for us are hiding behind visible images: the tree is out of sight because the wall is covering it.”

The way Anna Parkina makes collages, fragments become patterns. Incidental objects in one environment determine the topography of another.

Her collages used to have a lot of text in them. These days not so much  

Born in Moscow in 1979

Brian Droitcour