Vladimir Arkhipov’s art is a grandiose research project in which he has been involved for thirty years. He travels the globe to collect remarkable objects that are often made by unknown people, but all have one thing in common: they are transformed, enhanced, or improved using whatever is to hand. A coffee grinder made out of a meat grinder, a buoy with a plastic top made of a candy (or pill) box, a bed made of a rusty frame and an iron bathtub, etc. These hybrid objects do not just obtain new utilitarian functions, but are original things produced according to the principle of the collage. They tell fascinating stories about their creators, places of origin, and the contexts in which they were made. The “question of the thing” (the title of a book of philosophical essays by the Russian philosopher and anthropologist Valery Podoroga, who was inspired by Arkhipov’s work) lies at the heart of Arkhipov’s experiments. The artist describes with utmost clarity his role as a scholar, custodian, and collector who keeps a detailed record of his activities. Arkhipov’s project for the Triennial aims to show not only the objects/stories themselves but also the artist’s methodology, including how he keeps his travel log and how he records interviews with the creators of these remarkable objects.
Vladimir Arkhipov (b. 1961, Ryazan, Russia) lives and works in Moscow. He graduated in 1983 from Ryazan State Radio Engineering Institute and subsequently worked as an engineer in the aircraft industry. In 1987, he began to take private lessons in drawing, modeling, and sculpting. From 1991 to 1993, he worked in the construction business. In 1996, he attended Valery Podoroga’s class on visual anthropology at the Russian State University for the Humanities. Arkhipov began to exhibit his work in 1990. In late 1994, he launched his post-folk archive, a database of self-made utilitarian objects from around the world. He also runs the website folkforms.ru. Solo exhibitions include: Post-Folk Archive, Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht (2014); Homemade Russia, Red October Gallery, Moscow (2012); Design del popolo, Galeria Nina Lumer, Milan (2008); Welded, Guelman Gallery, Moscow (1999); Forced Objects, L Gallery, Moscow (1995); and Declared, Tryokhprudny Lane Studios, Moscow (1991). Group exhibitions include: Ostalgia, New Museum, New York (2011); Russian Povera, River Terminal, Perm (2008); Progressive Nostalgia, Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato (2007); 27th São Paulo Art Biennial, São Paulo (2006); Moscow-Berlin / Berlin- Moscow, 1950–2000, State Historical Museum, Moscow (2004), 11th Sydney Biennial, Sydney (1998); and Visual Anthropology Workshop, National Center for Contemporary Arts, Moscow (1994).