Moscow-based Mikhail Kosolapov’s installation “MILF” brought together art, technology and sex in a way that once would have caused an uproar but elicited a nonchalant responseâ?¯in the current Moscow art scene. Kosolapov dismembers female mannequins and installs them so that the plaster-white body parts seem to emerge from, or sink into, the gallery’s walls and columns.â?¯Besides being a gallery convention, white generally connotes purity, even in the department stores where the artist gets his props. But Kosolapov is not interested in innocence.â?¯
In “MILF” (an acronym for Mother I’d Like to Fuck), he symbolically slices and dices women for the viewer’s delectation.â?¯One mutilated torso is cut off just below the breasts, and situated between a wall and the floor. Another beheaded body is bent into a suggestive position, buttocks and legs thrusting out from the wall. While these mannequin fragments may bring Surrealism to mind, Kosolapov’s range of references includes some that are decidedly 21st-century. In one element, a delicate-looking hand tenderly grasps what at first might seem a male member but is, in fact, a fistful of computer cables.â?¯
This last piece hints at the artist’s background. Kosolapov, who founded the Moscow art groupâ?¯ABCâ?¯(Art Business Consulting)â?¯almost a decade ago, has long questioned the relationship between art and technology, and has critiqued business and corporate culture in general. The freestanding sculpture Redmindâ?¯(2009) evokes a horror story by way of Rodin and the Internet: a seated figure, hunched over a computer, is shown being overrun, and perhaps eaten, by dozens of bright red (computer) mice. Is this the artist, fatally absorbed in the Web-based smut on his laptop’s screen? Even as the quasi-pornographic “MILF” invites indignation, revenge is taken on Redmind‘s voyeur, who is literally consumed by both sex and technology.â?¯
Like the Blue Noses group or Dubossarsky & Vinogradov, Kosolapov exploits the kind of overt erotic imagery that has only recently entered Russian mainstream visual culture. The Internet and its promiscuous offerings, such as uncensored chat rooms and easily accessed porn, have changed the society’s views of women and sexuality. In a statement on the gallery website, Kosolapov writes, “In the contemporary robotic world, technology substitutes for an emotional attachment, and translates desires into computer ‘clicks.'”
Photo: View of Mikhail Kosolapov’s exhibition of plaster sculptures, “MILF,” 2010; at XL.