"Eraser," a new joint photo exhibition at MSK Eastside Gallery, casts new light on fashion photography by erasing, layering and crumpling it.
Slava Filippov, a Moscow-based photographer whose work is often seen in glamour magazines like Vogue, joined together with Viennese artist Mario Nubauer to experiment with the help of correction tape, which is normally used to correct mistakes during typing.
The tape is applied to Fillipov's art to blur and alter the photographs.
"We came up with this idea almost two years ago. My son came to me with a correction tape and suggested using it for art," said Nubauer, a former mechanical engineer and race car driver, who lives in Los Angeles and Vienna. "I thought it was a brilliant idea. We decided to come to Moscow, do the prints and try this new thing."
The photos are full of jagged lines, sharp edges and look both scratched and deformed.
Guests stare intently, trying to identify the facial features of models that are obscured by white horizontal lines of all shapes and sizes. One of the models is a young woman in a denim jacket. Only one eye and her lips are untouched by the correction tool. What looks like an American flag looms in the background, twisted into a mishmash of stars and stripes.
The GQ website called the exhibition "a unique quest to try and find what is behind the artistic intervention."
Nubauer is speaking in front of a 3-D photo sculpture, a ragged profile of a human figure in motion, a white silhouette appearing from a black background. The original flat image was crushed and crumpled to add another dimension.
"Those dancers were the first ones. You see lines in every piece. They say in Austria that art comes not from craftsmanship but from the right decision at the right time," said Nubauer. "In my mind it was figurative. I know a bit of the Russian art scene's historical background and I thought Russians are more on the figurative side than Europeans."
"The collaboration is based on fashion photography and on how they can distort it," said Wildrik Batjes, MSK Eastside Gallery director. "It is like glitch art, but analog rather than digital."
Glitch art is when defects and glitches are put into a work — in this case, photos. The term is more usually associated with video, audio and software rather than photos.
"At first it was just deleting certain parts of the photographs and then we came up with the idea of imitating glitch art and actually painting with digital glitches," said Nubauer, "I transformed the beautiful faces and bodies of models whom Slava photographed into something completely different, into abstract stuff. I brought something surreal into this."
Alexander James, a British artist who often works in Moscow and is renowned for his underwater works of art, attended the opening. "I like to come here and have canvas hit me in the face. It is striking, absurd, intense."
Slava Filippov X Mario Nubauer "Eraser" runs until March 8. MSK Eastside Gallery. 18 Perevedenovsky Pereulok, Bldg. 3, Entrance 2, 3rd Floor. 499-763-3590. Metro Elektrozavodskaya. mskeastside.com