Moscow Art Gallery and Tattoed Pigs: Art Imitating Life?
The Moscow Diehl+Gallery One is centrally located in an imposing 1940s Stalinist building on the Smolenskaya embankment with a view of the Moskva River. It is situated near the Russian Federation Parliament building. The sprawling, 6,500-square-foot ground-floor exhibition space has 20-foot-high ceilings.
Its current controversial display mixes Belgian-born Wim Delvoye’s showpieces with Russian ones purchased by art patron, Volker Diehl. An expert in contemporary art and the owner of a very successful gallery in Berlin, in April of this year Diehl became the first western art dealer to open his own exhibitions in Moscow. There, his first exhibit featured the works of an American artist, Jenny Holzer. Since 1996, Diehl has made several trips to Moscow and noticed the liberal, unconventional and sometimes bizarre predilections of the city’s art patrons. He said of his gallery:
“I’m sure more Western galleries will follow. It’s nice to be the first rather than the 12th or 15th.”
The Diehl+Gallery One focuses on contemporary international and Russian art, but Wim Delvoye is another category entirely. He is an outrageous anomaly cut from a completely unique and unconventional cloth. His art is dynamic as he is always ready to experiment with new materials, whether it is laser-cut steel sculptures or x-ray like, almost pornographic images. In the 1990s, Delvoye used the skin of dead pigs as a canvas and he has been tattooing pigs since that time. A few years ago, a tattooed pigs project was set up in the Art Farm in China, where there are fewer restrictions regarding animal welfare than in most parts of the Western world.
Until the end of October, Delvoye’s showpieces are to be extended by Russian art works.
To each his own, we can only suppose (except for the poor pigs).
M Dee Dubroff