March 31 2015
When the mysterious Moscow-based street artist Volodimer (aka Nuke) brought his work to our attention with his trailer “Never look a gift horse in the mouth” (2012) we were thrilled and excited about a short that documents the endeavours of underground Russian street artists – Volodimer (himself) and Kirill Kto.
Brushing all recent negative media coverage booming from Russia aside, we’d like to give you a heads-up on the emerging Moscow graffiti scene right now through the lens of Moscow’s hooded artist – and Stocktown’s latest video curator Vladimir Stekachyov.
The short depicts Moscow’s contemporary avant-garde and hooded culture, merging of graffiti, activism and courage. This is a young generation of Russians born in 1980s, pursuing their cause and fighting for change in public spaces.
Volodimer & Kirill Kto
“Never look a gift horse in the mouth” – a title applying to an analogy to receiving a gift: it would be bad manners to inspect a gift horse’s mouth to see if it has bad teeth. Implying ‘don’t inspect it to make sure it matches standards you have, just be grateful’ – in this aspect the artists are inspecting Moscow from another side, allowing the streets to show it’s true colours.
Screenshot from “Never look a gift horse in the mouth”
The film is about a criminal utopia, freedom of expression, covering an artistic blood band, unity, perseverance and resistance of the current regime’s state. As Stocktown’s latest video curator and maker of this film explains:
– It’s the first post-graffiti film of the post-soviet space. It’s about the street as it is and about what can still be done in the graffiti scene. This film documents the creativity and daily street life of artists Volodimer and Kirill Kto. As well as the participation and the spontaneous artistic involvement of passers-by and other “co-owners” of the urban environment.Photo from period of filming
Where and when was the film shot?
– The film was shot in Moscow during 2011-2012 and documents the life and street activity of Volodimer and Kirill Kto throughout the city. Everything was shot in a MiniDV (720×576 pxl) format with a camera which was given to me by a friend, as it was impossible to shot with anything else. The title refers to that possibility – we took everything we were given, the streets included. The film was later screened in Moscow, Ryazan’, Kiev, St Petersburg and Kaliningrad.
What do we need to know about the current Moscow graffiti scene?
– The Moscow street art scene (post-graffiti) is bleak, almost dead. The film follows artists who are trying to shake things up and make something happen. There was no burst of activity in this field before the film was shot, nor after. But thankfully the city is full of spontaneous, anonymous ‘found art” spots, created by its citizens and municipal services. Maybe that’s the reason why street artists haven’t matured yet? But more recently, graffiti artist in Moscow have been very active in the field of murals (designing the facades of buildings in agreement with the administration). It seems as though commercial design is closer to us graffiti artists and “street” artists.
Found art, Moscow