From the street to the museum: Alexei Salmanov


From the street to the museum: Alexei Salmanov


Oleksiy Salmanov is a Ukrainian artist who combines work with different media in his practice. Over the past few years, Alexey has been developing a new artistic language called graffiti performance. In the framework of this exhibition “From the Street to the Museum” the artist will present documentation of these performances, as well as other street practices.

“For the last three years I have been working with a new language in art, which is a combination of graffiti and performance art – two media with completely different natures. Graffiti is a subculture, a closed community with its own communication understood only by its participants. Being a sufficiently expressive visual language and existing in a public space, graffiti, however, does not appeal to society as a whole. Mass culture attempts to appropriate this available expressiveness through decorative “murals” that have proliferated on city walls around the world, but these drawings have nothing to do with subculture. So-called vandalism – i.e. illegal painting of walls – has always been outlawed, and therefore, in order to avoid legal punishment, the process of creating the image is always done unnoticed by society in the shortest possible time. In this case, it is the result – the painted wall – that is of interest, while the action itself remains unnoticed, as if “behind the scenes”. Performance has a nature directly opposite to that of subculture. The centre of attention here is the artist’s action, which is presented to the public. Performance art is a part of the official cultural system integrated into the institutional environment. Thus, performance art and graffiti can be compared to an official religion and a sect – the opposite poles of cultural life. I work with a language that combines both of these poles. Blowing paint out of a can as an action, I bring it into the “frame” – I make it the object of public attention. At the same time, since I am not part of a subculture, graffiti is just a quotation tool for me. This new language can be tentatively called “graffiti performance”.

Alexei Salmanov was born in 1976 in Rostov-on-Don, russia.
Winner of the Pinchuk Art Centre Prize 2009.
Has not received formal education in the field of art.
He started his art practice in 2008, completing his internship in Olafur Eliasson’s studio in 2010, winner of the Pinchuk Art Centre Prize 2009.
Works with different media (photography, video, performative practices, installation).
Lives and works in Kyiv/Odesa, Ukraine