Our Days are Rich and Bright

29 Apr–3 Jul 2016
Polkovaya St. 3/2

A showcase exhibition of the Glushchenkoizdat publishing house.

V–A–C continues to explore the interrelationships, modes and models of contemporary and past cultural production and presents a solo project by Kirill Glushchenko.

Our Days are Rich and Bright is a showcase exhibition of the Glushchenkoizdat publishing house, whose founder and sole employee is the artist Kirill Glushchenko. In the course of many years he has been on business trips to towns of the former USSR and of Socialist block, in order to issue photo albums about cities.

Glushchenko’s artwork turns to a book as the most intimate form of contact with the public, as part of a large-scale publishing enterprise, itself not without bureaucratic poetry and ambition. Behind the mystifying power of Glushchenkoizdat stands the figure of an artist who formally reconstructs the Soviet book and its production process, while effectively searching for evidence of the former reality resisting its demonstrable disappearance. The editions, released in a single copy, look exactly like the late Soviet period albums about new construction sites and spacious cities, published in their thousands.

For many years, the book has been strategic cultural product in Russia, a marker of the social status of its owner and a measure of the spread of the corporate publishing trade. Book design, artistic and technical design, the printing industry, repeatedly reinforced by the machinery of Goskomizdat and multiplied by the system of libraries, book collectors and bookselling, gave a distilled and thoroughly purified product that reflected the spirit of the times.

In Moscow, publishing houses occupied huge areas, but unlike other remnants of Soviet cultural production — libraries, cinemas and museums — the book publishing system disappeared, leaving almost no toponyms or buildings in the city.

The exhibition Our Days are Rich and Bright takes place at the former Moscow factory in Polkovaya Street, not far from where the publishing houses Proveshchenie ("Enlightenment") and Detskaya Kniga ("Children’s Books") were once located.

The project’s public programme provides an opportunity to study the work of Kirill Glushchenko in more detail and discuss issues close to the theme of the exhibition. Glushchenko himself gives a detailed description of the Glushchenkoizdat's structure. The artists Andrey Gorokhov and Vasily Shevtsov share their experience of their project Kulebaki — descriptions of a small industrial city with this same name in the Nizhny Novgorod region. Katerina Chuchalina, the curator of the exhibition Our Days are Rich and Bright, talks with the art scholar and critic Valentin Diakonov about the Soviet culture of book publishing, and Kirill Glushchenko and architectural historian Natalia Bronovitskaya discuss urban planning ideas in the USSR and books on this topic published during the socialist period. The literary scholar, media theorist and professor of Slavic studies at the University of Konstanz (Germany) Yuri Murashov talks about the role of radio in the USSR. Film critic Vladimir Lyashchenko, theatre critic Pavel Rudnev and screenwriter Olga Shentorovich discuss the book 1962 Diary, the authentic records of a long-distance truck driver Nikolai Kozakov, who methodically documented every day of 1962. They were discovered by chance by Kirill Glushchenko.

Katerina Chuchalina