“Immersing oneself in the soulful reveries of Lovell’s art opens a window onto our shared past, and it’s ongoing reverberations in our contemporary world.” More from Exhibition Curator Elsa Smithgall on Whitfield Lovell: The Kin Series and Related Works in this video.
This is a multi-part blog post; Read Part 1 here.
Pousttchi’s Double Monuments at the Phillips soar toward the ceiling as Tatlin’s did, but his model was symbolic of larger things to come. If constructed, his glass and iron sculpture would have been 1,300 feet (about 300 feet taller than the Eiffel Tower). The model was meant to promote “the collective” and (re)establish the visual culture of Russia. Pousttchi’s Double Monuments aren’t necessarily commenting on that idea, but much of their power and meaning is drawn from that history.
Pousttchi uses Dan Flavin’s trademark fluorescent tubes to expand that history. In the 1960s, American artist Dan Flavin utilized neon tubes to explore minimalism and the role of art in the gallery. Interestingly, he created a series responding to Tatlin’s monument. Pousttchi disrupts Dan Flavin’s minimalist language and places fluorescent tubes within bent metal crowd barriers. She simultaneously comments on Flavin’s homage and removes a key element of Flavin’s works; her fluorescent lights are not alone in a gallery space as Flavin’s are, but rather are enveloped by the skeleton of Tatlin’s monument.
Tatlin sought to usher in a new era of Russian visual culture and politics. Flavin was attempting to disrupt the idea of the gallery. Pousttchi comments on history and the work that came before to explore her own ambitions and artistic practice.
Emma Kennedy, Marketing & Communications Intern
“There was a moment I had the idea to make these towers, so I transformed them more in a round shape, stacked them on top of each other so they look like these monuments to the Third International that Vladimir Tatlin did.” Bettina Pousttchi discusses her Intersections installation Double Monuments on view at the Phillips.