Russian Reality. The End of Intelligentsia (RUS)
Russian Reality. The End
Plash Art, summer 1996, p. 106.
<...> Dmitry Gutov's art lacks extroverted provocativeness and distinguishes its scientific intellectuality. Nevertheless it also has reckless radicalism. The dramatic character of the actual situation wipes off the nuances: now it's impossible to be a relativist: the catastrophe resurrects the need for an absolute truth. He doesn't want to be together with the reality in its entropy and chaos, his aim is to overcome this chaos, to overcome the epistemological disaster with the help of an enormous intellectual effort and to get a pure critical vision. His desire for the pure thought is not only an opposition to the delicate deconstructive procedures of Moscow conceptualism and his desire for a new universality is not only a polemics with the Western apology of differences. Art has lost its justification and that confirms the failure of the whole art project of the XX th century: revising the experience of this century he tries to resurrect the broken link with the classical thought. He wants to restore the Enlightenment "without dialectics" and wants to restore dialectics "without negativeness". Within the intellectual tradition of our century he is looking for the examples of the fundamental critical thought, he rehabilitates the importance of Gramsci and Lukatch and in Russia - Marxist tradition, the heritage of the aesthetologist Mikhail Lifshitz who was an irreconcilable critic of the European modernism.
Thus, Gutov, whose reputation was made with huge spectacular installations, refuses any forms of bohemian publicity and creates an Institute of Mikhail Lifshitz, an intellectual laboratory, a discussion club, an experience of the collective, inter-disciplinary investigation where people of different professions take part, from the Duma deputies to philosophers and sociologists. He imparts a very applied character to his activity, it's a ground for the propaganda of ideas, demonstration of the investigations' results. The easier, more visual, more universal he is doing this the closer is the artist to his goal. The less the art there are more reasons to remain an artist.
The goal to restore the Marxist tradition in post-Soviet Moscow is an act, which is not less eccentric than Kulik's and Brener's antiintelligent exhibitionism. And in a lot of cases it supposes even bigger intellectual courage: public scandals cause media attention as the Marxist restoration can cause only total misunderstanding and loneliness. Although Gutov is very far from being a sectarian and isolationist: the Marxist tradition is valuable because it is a unique school of a European thought which for this century remained in Russia. There is only one alternative to it - human shout from Gulag. That's why, nowadays, the only way for a Russian intellectual to the European thought lies through the revision of the Soviet experience. In other case, you become a superficial plagiarist of European intellectual fashions or you go over the borders of any discourse at all, i.e. you become a dog. <...>