The mousetrap has long been an object of attention and focus of creative efforts for Vladimir Kozin. 25 years ago, he founded the museum “Mousetrap of Contemporary Art”. The artist asked his colleagues to use ordinary rodent traps as a basis for their works. The result was a picture of the artistic scene from the late 90s – early 2000s, recording personal ties, stages of creative paths and types of artistic thinking.
A device for killing mice was transformed into a tool for capturing time and recording changeable memory. Ever since, the mousetrap as a medium and a metaphor has never left Kozin’s artistic arsenal. A new version of this theme, presented to viewers as a “Museum for mice”, also features a selection by the artist, but this time it includes truly classic international artists of the 20th- 21st centuries. The list was made according to the principle of personal preference – the history of art which the artist would like to share, to take to a desert island. Every “big name” is presented in Kozin’s pantheon by a mouse trap homage, which maintains a sometimes direct and sometimes associative link with the legacy or authorial style of the celebrity prototype. The artist himself explains his gesture as follows: Russian art lacks scale, owing to material circumstances. Russian viewers should imagine that they have shrunk to the size of mice, so that when they look at these gigantic mousetraps they feel the magnitude and
grandeur of contemporary art.
The image of a mouse timidly scratching away somewhere behind the skirting board, and evidently organizing a museum there, is revealed
in the new configuration of Russian culture from an unexpected side. Contemporary art and all contemporaneity along with it regain the status of a suspicious, semi-underground territory, a risk zone. The heretic mouse, hanging up its homemade contemporary icons, demonstrates a quiet act of fidelity to the international artistic process. And in this situation, Damien Hurst’s work of chewed wooden buns is not perceived as a cargo cult practice or a ritual self-mockery. This is now an important effort of memory, an act of resistance, preserving and vindicating one’s own system of values. Including spiritual ones.
Техт: Alexander Dashevsky