Ilya Dolgov’s installation “Reef” will be at the XL Gallery, one of the leading Moscow galleries of contemporary art, till April 8. The winner of the 2016 Credit Suisse Cosmoscow Art Prize for Young Artists, Dolgov has long grappled with the question of what nature is and how people have interacted with it.
His ongoing research project “Forest Journal” is based upon Soviet writer Vitaly Bianki’s journal of the same name. Conceived and designed by Dolgov, the “Forest Journal” will have 12 issues, each featuring a guest artist, and containing texts and visuals that contribute toward a new vocabulary of nature. Just as Bianki sought to define nature’s essence through its various meanings – aesthetic, moral, agricultural, political – Dolgov tries to answer the question: “What is nature?”
His previous installation at the XL Gallery, “Model of nature, Goethe’s model,” consisted of small-scale sculptures set within upright hexagons constructed out of cane. “Reef” is less structured and includes free-form rivers of twigs, reeds, sand, and suspended canvases. Wire sculptures form skeletal frames over rocks and even an old desktop computer – almost protective – while a green plastic bag provides a single spot of bright color. It’s an altogether more haphazard scheme.
Born in Voronezh in 1984, Ilya Dolgov has established himself as a young artist of note with works in private Russian and foreign collections. In 2008 he – together with Nikolai Alekseev, Ivan Gorshkov, and Arseniy Zhilyaev – cofounded the Voronezh Center for Contemporary Art. Dolgov has been nominated for the Kandinsky Prize twice – in 2013 and 2015 – and received a grant from the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in 2013.
“Reef,” XL Gallery, Moscow. Till April 8.