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exhibition
Alexey Rouman. Leave the Body as a Keepsake
11 October 2019 — 01 December 2019

Erarta Museum presents an exhibition by Alexey Rouman, contemporary artist reflecting upon the future of the humanity, the clash of the Old and the New, and the emergence of a new Digital Code devoid of any emotions or instincts

Alexey Rouman’s art is informed by the idea that he had articulated as early as in his student years: form and substance must constitute one and the same concept. The artist believes that ‘any art devoid of a message is dead’, and this statement, implicitly present in all of Rouman’s works, gives him a common ground with the conceptual artists declaring supremacy of the idea over the medium.

That said, Alexey Rouman’s treatment of form is far from being indifferent: his creations invariably employ impeccably concise and minimalist means of artistic expression. As if to emphasise this, the artist says that he makes ‘sterile’ art, implying by that the extreme clarity and purity of his visions. Their combinations and sometimes collisions create new meanings, more often than not socially charged.

The fact that word is mentioned alongside image is no coincidence: the extensive use of textual messages is one of the hallmarks of conceptual art. In true accord with this, Alexey Rouman supplies his own commentary for each of his artworks giving a cue to the original idea behind it. For him creation is akin to building a pictorial puzzle: the juxtaposition of clear and simple images reveals the metaphorical meaning meticulously encrypted by the artist. Readily using stereotypes, common associations and cultural connotations, Alexey Rouman demonstrates his signature sense of humour in programming the viewers’ reactions and following their trains of thought. The final destination on this sometimes winding path is the artist’s original concept encapsulating the true meaning of the artwork.

The title of the exhibition, Leave the Body as a Keepsake, alludes to Alexey Rouman’s belief that human consciousness will take a quantum leap in the future and our biological bodies will be discarded as atavisms in favour of digital forms. However, according to the artist, this future digital era will arrive only if the society is ready for the new reality – one that cannot be comprehended by those locked within the obsolete paradigm of the contemporary experience. In his quest for a body-free world, Alexey Rouman addresses the current reality, exploring the key constructs of the Russian culture in all its complexity and ambivalence.

about the artist

Alexey Rouman was born on 19 October 1980 and spent his early childhood in a multinational military town of the former USSR, later moving to Tatarstan with his family. From early on, the future artist showed interest in drawing, graduating from a secondary art school and later earning a degree in design from the Naberezhnye Chelny Art College.

In the mid-1990s Alexey Rouman was featured in a documentary from the Right to Left series dedicated to indigo children. In 1999, he took part in the First Russian Delphic Games.

Throughout the 2000s Rouman designed clothing and interiors. 2007 saw him enter the Applied Arts School of the Kosygin Moscow State Textile University. Rouman’s graduation project, Halo of Ethno fashion collection, was highly praised by the professional community.

In 2013, Alexey Rouman decided to focus all his efforts on creating art. Today his artworks can be found in numerous private collections in Russia and Europe. In 2016, Alexey collaborated with Sergey Shnurov, frontman of Leningrad band, on the latter’s exhibition Brandrealism: A Retrospective.  


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