"Davaj! ", Postfuhramt, Berlin, 2002

"Photography, Video, Mixed Media II"”, Daimler Chrysler Collection, Berlin, 2004

"Collective creativity", Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, 2005





From left to right: Konstantin Bokhorov, Dmitry Gutov,

Inna Prilejaeva, Anatolij Osmolovsky.


Слева направо: Константин Бохоров, Дмитрий Гутов,

Инна Прилежаева, Анатолий Осмоловский.




Revolution Opera


The idea of this project appeared in summer 2001 like this.

Among the artists close to me, there is a habit to argue about the art and about other things that don’t make us indifferent. Of course, these arguments are reflected in our works; but like an echo, there is always some slight meaning left and unrevealed. During one of those discussions, an idea occurred to me, that we should sing our speeches in recitative, thus turning them into art immediately, without staying on the intermediate instances.


 Working on the idea of the “Revolution Opera”, we put an accent on the direct expression of our point of view. Everybody was supposed to sing what he thinks, to speak his mind. In fact, the opera comes to the obsession of the idea. Thus, in some situations a message doesn’t really need the clothes of art, such as colours, objects, photos – any material fact.

At the same time, one of the sources of our project were the soviet movies of 1930-s. When the situation was highly dramatic, people could not do with the plain language because of the strong feelings, being overcome by emotions, and they started to sing. We wanted to turn it to a sound orgy. Our first theme was “Millions to embrace” (Schiller, final of the 9th symphony by Beethoven). Reducing the art to a sense statement, we aimed to give to the latest the maximum prevalence. The basis of our project was that in the ideal society people would sing instead of talking. Neither will they move in the same way.


One of the participant of the project, Anatoly Osmolovsky, in the beginning of the 90-s presented his work “After the postmodernism one can only shout”. After that, we have been trying to come to the articulate speech for many years. Now our aim is to turn it to recitative.


That influences, in its turn, the context of the statement. The thing is that when you are singing your thoughts improvising, it is not quite the same as talking. The idea is formulated in a different way. Its rhythmic is based on the outside logic. Thus, sometimes a thing that would never come out in a prosaic statement slips lips spontaneously.

The direct source of our inspiration was the opera by Dmitry Shostakovich “The gamblers” (1941), based on the text of the play by Nicolai Gogol of the same name. All the arias in this opera are sung in recitative, as Shostakovich decided to leave the Gogol’s prosaic text unchanged.


In summer 2001 we listened to this opera more than once, as we used it for the exhibition “Russian Madness 2” made together with the American stage director Robert Wilson for his Summer Benefit in Watermill Center (New York).


The “Revolution Opera” is planned like a project developing in time, as performance and video. The variant that was presented at the exhibition “Davaj” was recorded in Berlin in January 2002.


Dmitri Gutov

December, 2002.