Marcel Duchamp, Boîte-en-valise Series D, Paris 1961. Collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, bequest of Judge Julius Isaacs, 1983-0032-250/A-Q to Q-Q. Reproduced courtesy of Viscopy.

A Russian gallerist, Marina Shtager, opens up her new space for experimental projects in London with Too Much as Not Enough exhibition.

Artist, curator, dealer, provocateur and polymath Marcel Duchamp is a Pandora of art history for some, and John the Baptist of modern and contemporary art for the others. Among many disruptions of the order and normality of what was set to be called ‘art’, in 1935 he created Boîte-en-valise, or box in a suitcase — a portable miniature monograph including sixty-nine reproductions of the artist’s own work. In the following years, he created other editions of the boxes, with varying content and luxurious touch, including a special edition for long time friend Peggy Guggenheim. Is it a portfolio of artist’s work or an individual piece of work, or maybe both? As enigmatic as ever, Duchamp was not meaning to provide a definite answer.

The inaugural exhibition at the Shtager Gallery in London brings under the same roof into a compact space not just a single artist but a multiple group and solo ‘exhibitions’. The conceptual gesture of Duchamp is peculiar in the contemporary context of commercialisation, gentrification and scarcity. How many narratives and stories can strategically fit into a small experimental space?

Duchamp anticipated and contributed to the institutionalisation of many forms of presentation within and beyond artistic fields with his radical and daring innovations. Curriculum Vitae and a personal statement are the standard mode of self-presentation these days. The radical nature of his heritage is timeless, and in the currents of crises in contemporaneity becomes more than relevant and even urgent.

Marina Alexeeva. Laboratory. 2013 Mixed-media, video. 42x46x40 cm. Edition 3 + AP

The gallery will exhibit a the whole array of the Russian artists, among them are: Amir -Nasr Kamgooyan, Marina Alexeeva, Vita Buivid,  Alexander Dashevsky, Andrei Gorbunov, Maria Arendt, Alexandr Shishkin-Hokusai, Ludmila Belova, Vital Pushnitsky.  .Attention deficit as a by-product of the culture of acceleration leads us to the  necessity to be more efficient in practically all aspects of modern life. The functions of the museum, gallery, artist-run and independent project spaces are merging now with one another in search of a new meaning as social and political conditions of artistic production are evolving into the new, seemingly tougher, but possibly, just different forms and boundaries. Revisiting in this context the most influential ideas of the age of manifestos is more than necessary.

A portable exhibition is presented here in the form of an intellectual vortex: it draws the viewer into its own laws for matter, gravity and light. Just like in the space of contemporary media, where the increasing number of simultaneous voices create more autonomous images of subjective reality.

By placing the artists in an experimental, multiversal and hardly comprehensible conversation, a strategic cacophony, there is an emergence of the question on what we observe in the constantly speeding-up societies: is too much novelty not enough?

Vita Buivid, Fragments of the Installation

The Shtager Gallery changed its focus from the cultural ‘too much as not enough’ to  the first exhibition in an upcoming yearly cycle of research in contemporary miniature art practices in capital of Russia, St Petersburg, to one of the global art capitals, London, the UK, in 2017. Founder of the gallery Marina Shtager has been working in professional art world since 2006 in the roles of director and curator. She founded Shtager Gallery in 2014.  Elephant & Castle is the experimental art space conceived by the Shtager Gallery in cooperation with Morris & Associates in 2017.

The Programme of events:

The Archives / a solo presentation of Ludmila Belova June 2 – 9 opening June 1, 19.00

Temple of Futures Thinking at Elephant & Castle / a solo presentation of Avenir Institute June 16 – 22 opening June 15, 19.00

Elephant&Castle Curatorial Advisor Denis Maksimov