A mini-retrospective of the young video artist Polina Kanis, representing three of her works - "Workout", "Formal Portrait", "The Pool"

Полина Канис
Polina Kanis was born in 1985 in Leningrad. She graduated from the Gertsen Pedagogical University and The Rodchenko Art School. In 2010 she entered the long list of Kandinsky award within the "Young artist" nomination. In 2011 and in 2015, she was nominated for the state award "Innovation". Kanis's solo exhibitions were featured within the framework of Manifesta 10, Saint Petersburg, 2014, on the island of New Holland, Saint-Petersburg, 2013, and in Mystetskyi arsenal, Kiev, 2012. Kanis's works can be found in the following collections: the State Center of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Stella Art foundation, Moscow, Museum of modern art, Warsaw, The Art Vectors Investment Partnership Foundation, Vienna, the Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin, Moscow, Foundation Videoinsight, Bologna. Polina was nominated for the "Innovation" award in 2015, for the film "Pool".


Russia | 2011 | 11 min

The work is a video performance, in which the author examines fitness and aerobics exercises in today's parks around Moscow as a strange hybrid of totalitarian sports aesthetics, pop cultural new age readings, and the democratic soviet ideal of harmonic physical development. The older people in the background of the recently restored rotunda in Neskuchny Garden (Moscow) warm up under the guidance of a young, full of strength fitness instructor. They warm up to the instructor's approving remarks, - "Breathe! You can do it! ". Trying to perform all the exercises correctly they get ready for the main exercise - the march, with a well-known "left, left, one, two, left!"

Formal portrait

Russia | 2014 | 8 min

The idea of the project is to reexamine the culture of parades and mass processions as one of the most powerful ideological instruments. The eternity of expectations become the key motif – we hear the roar of the engine as a symbol of a readiness to action. The pole has been prepared, the figures obediently come together to form a flag – this endless repetition is fated to remain in eternity, without ever becoming a moment in history. The ritual of the raising of the flag seems to be called upon to demonstrate a victorious strength in a dramatized, directed eternity, but it merely reveals the impotency of the action in place. The flag is raised in an enclosed, publicly unseen territory. Its ceremonial raising becomes a metaphor for a victory that will never come.

The pool

Russia | 2016 | 9 min

"The Pool" is a video that exposes reality in all of its dreamy ambiguity. People enter a relatively shallow pool and inexplicably disappear. "The Pool" displays the condition of sealed vacuum penetrated and plunged into reality by the suspicion of our essential experiences. Ever since then the video is perceived as a borderline condition. The video enhances the exhaustiveness of the border with the closed space of a sealed bunker hosting an impossible event half hidden by the surface of the water. The water is another border, which separates what we see from what is happening. The framing of the video directs the attention so that it follows the logic of a dream indistinguishable from reality. It is the video of airtight sense, airtight space and the airtight subject, estranged from itself and the socium of subjects who are just the same. The integral visual nature of a nightmare shimmers onto us. Nothing happens there, apart from the invisible catastrophe.
PROGRAMme 2016