unwrap the language of love and repression – The Calvert Journal


The immersive installation is a starting point for Pushkin House’s largest exhibition International Desire. He explores queer language, sensuality and imagination through the works of Fiks and his fellow Russian artist Ian Ginsburg. In “A Barrack Named Desire: Recading Viktor Duvidov”, Ginsburg recontextualizes the legacy of the eminent Soviet artist Viktor Duvidov. Known primarily as an illustrator of children’s books, Duvidov was convicted of homosexuality in Soviet times. Ginsburg’s work mixes Duvidov’s family work with weird, erotic-laden woodblock prints and engravings that the artist then made away from the mainstream, in part based on his experiences in prison.

“In [‘A Barrack Named Desire’] I act as an artist-decorator for the works of Viktor Duvidov, ”explains Ginsburg. “His mainstream graphics, which have been printed en masse, come into contact with rarer prints and woodcuts and other unique works, blurring the line between these art forms.”

Ginsburg’s pieces expose the peculiarities of queer art through the ages: the tension between trauma and innocence, playfulness and taboo, and how art is viewed differently in different contexts. Together, the works of Fiks and Ginsburg propose to examine the very notion of artistic expression, queer thought and sexuality as a dialogue across countries and historical eras.

For The Calvert Journal, artist Yevgeniy Fiks and Pushkin House curator Denis Stolyarov tell the story of International Desire through five works in the exhibition.


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