E M M A N U E L B O R N S T E I N & V L A D I M I R P O T A P O V
June 25 - August 27, 2022
We would like to draw your attention to the exhibition Yes, Chaos by the German-French painter Emmanuel Bornstein and the Russian artist Vladimir Potapov in our Berlin gallery. On display are new works that address Russia's invasion of Ukraine and turn against this cruel war that violates international law. They were all created since February 24, 2022, in a constant, close exchange between the two artists and friends.
Emmanuel Bornstein was born in 1986 in Toulouse and has lived in Berlin since 2009. Vladimir Potapov is 42 years old, comes from Volgograd and lives in Moscow. They met in 2019 at the Curitiba Biennial in Brazil, where they were represented with large-scale figurative paintings.
During the first Corona Lockdown in March 2020, Bornstein and Potapov launched a virtual art project: locked in their studios in Berlin and Moscow, they exchanged small paintings and notes daily via Instagram in which they captured their experiences with the pandemic. The result was a series called Chronicles of Isolation that was clicked thousands of times and exhibited at Russia's Perm Museum in late 2021. A selection of the works will be on display at the Kunsthalle Dessau in July 2022.
Already a year ago, a joint exhibition by Emmanuel Bornstein and Vladimir Potapov was planned for the end of June 2022 at Crone Berlin, in which they wanted to reflect on the second year of the pandemic and continue the Chronicles of Isolation.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine gave the project a new, unexpected turn. Under the impact of the brutal, inhumane military campaign, Bornstein and Potapov began an artistic dialogue via WhatsApp and Telegram, expressing their personal concern, emotional involvement, and powerless rage over the war, not through words, but through the means they know best: painting.
Potapov, confronted in Moscow with the censorship and crushing of any form of protest, but at the same time a firm opponent of the Russian invasion and false propaganda, portrayed Russian activists who - like him - opposed the war despite all the repression. Bornstein, faced in Berlin with the television and social media images from the Ukrainian war zones and the hesitant behavior of the German government, responded with depictions of the Russian writer and pacifist Vsevolod Garshin, who already fought against imperialist militarism in tsarist Russia at the risk of his life and is considered the founder of anti-war literature.
When Potapov later sent smaller paintings in which he covered destroyed Ukrainian homes with lovely Russian kitsch motifs to illustrate Putin's nationalist narratives of lies, historical falsifications and war justifications, Bornstein responded with a variation of Goya's The Disaster of War, in which people, houses and landscapes, Ukrainian symbols and Western artifacts are whirled through the air as if in a centrifuge: Yes, Chaos!
A total of 22 images will be on display at Crone Berlin starting June 24, 2022, that Bornstein and Potapov have created over the past three months in support of protest and opposition against the war. They reflect the atrocities and neo-imperialism of Vladimir Putin's Russian regime of injustice, but do not exhaust themselves in this. By referring to historical contexts, they rather set a sign against any form of violence and war, in which imperialism always ends.
With some effort and by circumventing censorship, Potapov's works were successfully brought from Moscow to Berlin. In order not only to formulate an artistic statement, but also to help in a concrete way, of the proceeds from the exhibition (minus the costs incurred) will be donated to support Ukrainian war victims and war refugees.