In the last 40 years, the documentary filmmaker and artist Naum Medovoy has concerned himself with revising the conventional representation of the Second World War in art. He has focused on the aspects of the war that were hidden from the public by the Soviet government, namely of those classified as missing in action.
In April 2017, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art in partnership with Salamatina Gallery NY presents exhibition Last March. The exhibition includes Medovoy’s graphic works and video-installations produced in collaboration with young video-artists Trevor Tweeten and Nikita Shokhov. The project is held in celebration of the 72nd anniversary of victory against Nazi Germany across the Eastern Front in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
The exhibition in MMOMA includes more than 30 graphic works that are intended to honor the memory of these soldiers. Medovoy’s film of the same title, which he created in collaboration with James Khlevner, became a starting point for the series. The narrative of the film is built on archival footage and interviews with relatives of the “missing”. Finished in 1972, it aimed at drawing the attention of Soviet and Western audiences to the fate of those classified as either prisoners of war or missing in action. In the “Last March” graphic series the artist uses still images from the film as the basis for his imagery. While some of the frames are sharp featuring readily discernible faces, others are deliberately made to seem faded and faint. On these black and white frames, Medovoy paints typical Russian wildflowers, rendered in an expressionist manner. This contrast reflects the complexity inherent in this work — “Last March” fuses the tragedy of the war with the joy of the victory.
“Last March” is, first of all, a learning experience; a journey through the trauma of the war, the happiness of feeling alive after the tragedy, the driving force of artistic creativity, the sensibility of words and the fragile beauty of the female body. Ultimately, it is a unique chance for Moscow audiences to get closer to Naum Medovoy, the visual poet, and his legacy as it lives on in the artistic growth of two young artists.
For more details check the project website www.lastmarch.org