Rimma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin, Costumes, 1977, photo: Victor Novatsky
Rimma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin

Rimma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin (*1951 / *1945, Russia, USA) were founding members of the underground Conceptual movement in Soviet Russia. Since coming to America in 1980, they have had many personal exhibitions in galleries and museums. Originally working with sculpture, visual poetry and performance art, they later introduced photography to their body of work. Their art is grounded in playing with paradoxes and is rich in metaphor, language and symbolism. They frequently use their bodies as a surface for psychological experience. Male / female features are part of their metaphorical games toward a theatre of consciousness. Their philosophical and mythological implications are also reflected in their theoretical work and writings.

artists' website: www.gerlovin.com

The body is represented by the drawing on the garments made of material resembling haircloth. Perhaps Adam and Eve put on such clothes resembling linen sacks after leaving Paradise. Upon tasting the forbidden apple, anima and animus are fixed within their physical bodies, with the necessity of preserving and feeding their bodies as a supportive vehicle for the soul. Allegorically speaking, the body covers the soul as a costume covers the body; therefore the idea of the ‘transcendence’ of such body-costumes is not alien to human consciousness. In general, all our ‘naked’ artworks do not reflect eros, but the desire for its sublimation – from purifying the flesh to purifying out of flesh. The costume covers the naked body, the drawing of which is made on that very costume.” Rimma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin

Performance: 1 May 1977, near Moscow

Courtesy Rimma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin

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femininity, masculinity, masquerade, painting/drawing