God Out of a Washing Machine is the first large solo exhibition by Helsinki-based artist Ilya Orlov, probably best known in Finland for his conceptualist re-enactment of the former Lenin museum-apartment in Hakaniemi in 2017, the Dadaist intervention into Seurasaari museum display in 2016, and internationally, for participating in Manifesta-10 in 2014, as well as, recently, co-founding and co-editing Shy Plumber, Anti-War Journal of Art and Anti-Art.
In Orlov’s new show, his trademark strategy of hacking traditional exhibition formats, toying with contemporary art clichés, and poeticising art administration jargon is pushed a little further. A solo exhibition looks like a group show of mutually incompatible artists; wall texts that normally explain the exhibits become exhibits themselves, to be explained by the works. Finally, the exhibition statement, instead of telling explicitly what it is all about, offers a piece of ‘international art English’ so convoluted that it makes one nostalgic about the clarity of e-flux announcements:
“Marrying Duchamp’s eroticist mechanics with forgotten baroque landscape painting; scrupulously recreating Malevich’s craquelures (only for the sake of switching on gravity in his weightless utopia); putting the artist’s own witticisms into the mouths of contemporary philosophers like Timothy Morton and Donna Haraway; planting inverted perspective of Byzantine icons into constructivist axonometry; and finally, turning Sol Lewitt’s cube into a ‘metaphysical washing machine’, the exhibition invites the viewer to look at culture and art itself through a psychedelic conceptualist kaleidoscope of sorts.”
The exhibition presents works in varied mediums, including painting, lithography, watercolour, kinetic sculpture, text, readymade, photography, assemblage, installation. The works are available for purchase via Forum Box. Half of the artist’s benefit from the works sold will be directed to charity organisations helping Ukrainian refugees.
The exhibition is made with the participation of Eero Karjalainen Mark Maher, and Anna Rawlings.
Consultants: Juha-Heikki Tihinen, Leonor Ruiz Dubrovin, Matthew Cowan, Andrey Ustinov, Semyon Motolyanets, Sezgin Boynik, and Jyrki Siukonen.
Acknowledgements: Irina Ptakhova, Jan Kaila, Mika Elo, Kaisu Koivisto, Pasha and Sasha Rotts, Frank Brümmel, Elisa Vuori, Lars Federley, Seppo Sinkkonen.
Ilya Orlov’s work in 2022 was supported by working grants from Taike and The Alfred Kordelin Foundation. The exhibition is supported by an expenditure grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Ilya Orlov (b. 1973) is an artist, theorist, journal editor, and Kuvataideakatemia doctoral researcher residing permanently in Finland since 2015. Orlov’s works have been shown as part of Manifesta 10 (2014). In 2018, Orlov was shortlisted for the Finnish Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale (in collaboration with Joanna Warsza, Minna Henriksson, Britta Marakatt-Labba, Ahmed Al-Nawas, Gianni Talamini). Orlov is co-editor of the independent international anti-war art journal Shy Plumber published in Finland (ISSN 2736-8203), presenting artists and writers from Finland and abroad holding a strong anti-war and anti-putinist stance.Mediabox