Tatiana Antoshina (b. 1956 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia) is one of the most significant Russian female artists since Perestroika. Her work explores the role of women artists in society and in art history and was exhibited in the iconic ‘After the Wall’ exhibition at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; ‘Gender Check’, MUMOK, Vienna; and the 56th Venice Biennale. Her works are in the collections of MUMOK, Vienna; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington; Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen; State Russian Museum, St Petersburg; and The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Antoshina lives and works in Moscow.

Tatiana Antoshina on Museum of The Woman. Read her interview with Moscow art critic Igor Grebelnikov 

STAGING FOR THE CAMERA
The feminist baroque

Roland Barthes in his fundamental essay on photography maintained that: ‘Since every photography is contingent, photography cannot signify except by assuming a mask’. The mask that Antoshina adopts for her art practice is the staging of theatrical settings and of images passed on to us through the history of western art.

The concept of ‘staging’ goes way back through the history of art and reaches its apogee during the baroque period. This was when the catholic church being at its most triumphant and confident political power wanted to convey its ideology through dazzling show pieces. Artists and architects of the period came to view the world as a stage where the classical forms and ornamentations were borrowed to create supreme theatrical visions that swept the viewers off their feet.

The baroque artists’ conviction that the space should be framed with real or metaphorical draperies and actions represented in that space should be staged, had its most natural development in photography. What is photography if not an action of framing? Although at the beginning it was considered the ultimate means to record the ‘truth’, we are now conscious that what it depicts can be very far from reality. In fact from its inception many artists used it as their own ‘stage’. Duchamp’s Rrose Selavy was nothing but a photographically staged persona. Yves Klein’s ‘Leaping into the void’ –from a high wall into the street- was an ‘impossible’ action carefully constructed for the camera. Cindy Sherman orchestrates her own face in order to project on it through the camera all the role models offered by the media. The camera recording process might be neutral but it is certainly not naturalistic. Just like the baroque artists, whose works were stages for the ideology of the church, Antoshina orchestrates her images to forward her own narrative of feminist references. Most of her photographs are directly connected and derive from an artistic iconography that was conceived mainly for the male consumption and desire. As painters and artists historically were almost exclusively men, men were generally depicted as heroes of grandiose deeds, while women were reduced to being their seductive and passive entourage and not much else. By reversing the roles, Antoshina creates scenes were languid male bodies lounge in spaces that belong to the ‘feminine’ and others where women actively assert themselves in actions conducted in open ‘male’ spaces. The tactic is simple but it is extremely effective to displace and subvert the gaze of the viewer. Although her work refers directly to the Russian society where the climate is still very much male orientated, Antoshina, through her allegorical procedures deeply embedded in the history and the aesthetics of western art, manages to make her strategies to resonate much more vastly than just Russia.

(c) Francesca Piovano
London 29.02.2004

Collections:

Moscow State Russian Museum, St. PetersburgThe State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; The National Center for Contemporary Art (NCCA), Moscow; MUMOK, Wien; Neues Museum Weserburg; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC; Corcoran Art Museum, Washington DC; The American University Museum, Washington DC; Omi International Arts Center collection, New York; Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina; Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, Naples; Olympic Fine Arts Museum, Beijing; Penang State Art Museum, Penang, Malaysia; Museum of Decorative-Applied and Folk Arts, Moscow; Perm Museum of Contemporary Art, Perm; Krasnoyarsk Cultural Historical Museum complex, Krasnoyarsk; Asia-Pacific Institute of Art & Research, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea; The Francis J. Greenberger collection, New York; Kolodzey art Foundation, New York; Tony Podesta collection, Washington DC; Sir Elton John Collection, London

Biography

PhD in fine art, Industrial Academy (Stroganovskoe), Moscow, 1987 – 1991

Multimedia visual artist

 Selected group exhibitions:

2018 Women at Work, White Space Gallery, London

2017 From Pages to Sculpture: Artists book from 1430 to present

2015   –  56 VENICE BIENNALE, State pavilion of Mauritius

2012  – GENDER CHECK, MUMOK, Vienna

2010   –   PERSONAL IS POLITICAL. Hannah Höch And Interpretation of Her Art, Tallinna Kunstihoone, Tallinn

SWEDISH FAMILY, Uppsala Art Museum, Uppsala,

2008   –  3 EUROPEAN TRIENNIALE OF SMALL SCULPTURES, Galerija Murska Sobota

OLYMPIC FINE ART, Beijing

Chelsea Art Museum, Moscow-NY = Parallel Play NY

35th ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION, Mario Mauroner Gallery, Salzburg

FROM NON-CONFORMIZM TO FEMINIZM: Russian Women Artists from the Kolodzei Art Foundation, CAM — Chelsea Art Museum, New York City, NY

MOSCOW-NY= PARALLEL PLAY, Chelsea Art Museum, NY;

2006   –  SIGHT/INSIGHT, Corcoran Art Museum, Washington DC

2001   –  Ludwig Museum, Budapest, 2001, Nationalgalerie Berlin, Hamburger Bahnhof

2000   –  AFTER THE WALL Moderna Muzeet, Stockholm;

Solo exhibitions:

2017       “Cold Land. Northern Tales”, ZARYACenter for Contemporary Art, Vladivostok

2017       “Reggie-Feminism, or 88 March”, Dukley Art Center, Kotor, Montenegro

2015       MUSEUM OF A WOMAN,Podgorica Museums & Galleries, Gallery Art,

Republic square 1, Podgorica, Montenegro

2014     “Cold Land” Krasnoyarsk Museum Center, Krasnoyarsk

2010      “My favorite artists”, Galerie Vallois, Paris

2006      “Space Travelers”, Guelman Gallery, Moscow
2004      “Museum of a Woman”, White Space Gallery, London

2002      “The Voyeurism of Alice Guy”, Guelman Gallery, Moscow

2001      “Museum of a Woman”, Florence Lynch Gallery, NY

1999      “April in Moscow”, Guelman Gallery, Moscow

1997      “Museum of a Women”, Guelman Gallery, Moscow

“Women of Russia”, Guelman Gallery, Moscow

1992      “The Hound of Baskervilles”, Regina Gallery, Moscow