V-A-C Foundation is delighted to present General Rehearsal, a multidisciplinary project conceived and realised in collaboration with the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA).

Mike Nelson (b. 1967), Again, more things (a table ruin), 2014. V-A-C collection © Whitechapel Gallery, London; photo: Stephen White

General Rehearsal is a content-rich, innovative presentation that combines works from three international art collections: V-A-C Foundation, KADIST and MMOMA. Designed to evolve and change like a living organism that adapts and responds to its environment, General Rehearsal adopts the structure of a theatrical play developing over three acts staged over a five-month period. In this framework, the project proposes considering artworks as actors in the play, having a potential agency similar to human beings. With the project V-A-C also introduces a more fluid, transparent method of working collectively and engaging all disciplines equally.

Organised over three floors at MMOMA’s historic Petrovka Street gallery, visitors will be met with British artist Mike Nelson’s work Again, More Things (a table ruin) (2014). Best known for creating powerful, immersive, large-scale installations, Nelson selected historic and contemporary figurative works from the V-A-C collection for his presentation, by artists including Pawel Althamer, Louise Bourgeois, Constantine Brâncusi, Alberto Giacometti, Sherrie Levine, Henry Moore and Willem de Kooning. Displayed on a reclaimed wooden floor as a mass of modelled figures, the sculptural installation, inspired by a Dieter Roth work, The Floor (Studio-floor from Mosfellsbaer, Iceland), (1973-1992), is what Nelson describes as a “levelling of sorts, questioning how we look at objects.” The piece also serves as an introductory model for how works are activated in the rest of the show.

The top floor of the building will be designed like a storage space for works of art, a repository of potential actors organised in coherent formations: Angry Things, for example, groups images and objects that express a passion for a political cause, action or radical position. This is seen in Arseny Zhilyaev’s Cobblestone Weapon of the Proletariat, (2015, V-A-C collection), where both social and technological upheaval is represented by weapons and tools of revolt displayed in a star-shaped vitrine; The Recursive Things, mis-en-abime structures formation, instead, presents multilayered works such British artist Ryan Gander’s video Things that mean things and things that look like they mean things (2008, KADIST collection), where the spectator watches a documentary about the making of a film called The magic and the meaning, which, in reality, is an imaginary film that has never been made. The Cross-dressing Objects formation includes a series of photography and video works by the late Russian artist Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, which see him dressed up as and offering his unique portrayal of some of Russia’s and indeed the world’s most icon figures, from Dostoevsky and Warhol to a series of shots where he re-enacts the famous shower scene from the cult movie Psycho (All from Psycho, 2006, MMOMA collection).

Over time and space, the works of art will in turn be removed from this densely packed exhibition space to take on different roles in the three acts that will be staged in the grand middle floor gallery of this Moscow aristocratic mansion. Over the five-month exhibition period, General Rehearsal will offer the public curated selections of painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography, mixed-media, film, video and performance, including rare, iconic and major works of art alongside pieces from lesser-known, emerging talents from all over the world; new commissions and specially written scripts to narrate the presentations. One such example is that of the Moscow and Saint Petersburg based group Theatre of Mutual Operations, who have been invited to write and perform a screenplay inspired by the collections.

The Belgian artist Koenraad Dedobbeleer, well-known for expanding our perspective of objects and their appearance with his installation and sculpture, has been commissioned to design displays, walls, plinths, seating and other forms that will guide the visitor around General Rehearsal, transforming and opening up the building with his sculptural objects.

General Rehearsal will include work by artists such as Victor Alimpiev, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Francis Alys, Tauba Aurbach, Erick Beltrán, Alighiero Boetti, Alexander Brodsky, Marcel Broodthaers, CAMP, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Phil Collins, Bernadette Corporation, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Mariana Castillo Deball, Willie Doherty, Ceal Floyer, Günther Förg, Chiara Fumai, Alexandra Galkina, Ryan Gander, Jeff Koons, Mark Leckey, Piero Manzoni, Allan McCollum, Lucy McKenzie, Andrei Monastyrski & Collective Actions, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, Amedeo Modigliani, Otobongo Nkanga, Ho Tzu Nyen, Boris Orlov, Damian Ortega, Anatoly Osmolovsky, Alexandra Paperno, Philippe Parreno, Giuseppe Penone, Sigmar Polke, Dmitry Prigov, Walid Raad, Gerhard Richter, Wael Shawky, Yinka Shonibare, Simon Starling, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Wolfgang Tillmans, Mikhail Tolmachev, Mario Garcia Torres, Danh Vo, Jessica Warboys, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Arseny Zhilyaev. General Rehearsal curatorial group from V-A-C and MMOMA: Elza Abdulkhakova, Tatyana Bagaeva, Katerina Chuchalina, Maria Doronina, Varvara Ganicheva, Diana Jangveladze, Anna Ilchenko, Daria Kalugina, Maria Kramar, Francesco Manacorda, Andrey Parshikov, Anna Repina-Galenkina, Anna Reznikova, Olga Stebleva, Polina Zotova

Guest Curator: Emilie Villez (Director of KADIST, Paris)

A wide-ranging public programme for all ages within the framework of General Rehearsal will include tours, talks, reading groups, screenings, an art mediation department and a live music/performance/theatre programme. Highlights include Romanian artist Alexandra Pirici’s sculptural performance entitledParthenon Marbles (KADIST collection), featuring local actors and dancers, which questions the role of the arts in contemporary economies; Athens based UK artist Cally Spooner will make her debut in Russia with the performanceWarm Up (2015). Featuring a dancer who continuously performs warm up stretches in the exhibition space, the work evokes feelings of restlessness and endless preparation for the unknown; Belgian artist Kobe Matthys brings Agency to Moscow, the institution he founded in 1992 to research, group and archive real court cases involving cultural objects or acts, making us think about the changing nature of collaboration, the boundaries between subject and object and more.