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The NEST (Gnezdo) - CHRONOLOGY 1974–1979

Compiled by Mikhail Roshal-Fedorov and Olga Kholmogorova

1974

The beginning of Gennady Donskoi, Mikhail Roshal and Victor Skersis`s joint activity.
Originally the name of the group was formed from participants’ surnames (Donskoi-Roshal-Skersis, or D.R.S.). They used this sign for the conjoint works till 1979. The name “Gnezdo” (“The Nest”) was gradually attached to the group after the same-name action which was performed during the exhibition at VDNKh (1975)

 

1975

Actions:

 

The Hatching (Gnezdo)
Moscow Region. Documented by Valentin Serov

 

Hatch Eggs! (Gnezdo)
Alternative title: Hatching of the Spirit. Hall of Culture at VDNKh, 20-30 September 1975, Moscow
Repetitions: Bratislava, Slovakia, 1991; Central House of Artist, Moscow, 1994; National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Moscow, 2005


Objects and Installations:

 

Communication Tube

First shown at the exhibition in the Hall of Culture at VDNKh, 20-30 September 1975, Moscow
Thermography by Maxim Gorky. Important dates in the life of Maxim Gorky were written on a metal plate, under which the heating element was hidden. The dates were located from “the hottest” to “the coldest” events in the biography of the writer. Restored by Mikhail Roshal in 1998

 

 

Discoloration of Ten Pieces of Paper because of Sun

First shown at the exhibition in Hall of Culture at VDNKh, 20-30 September 1975, Moscow

 

Push the Red Pump!

First shown at the exhibition in Hall of Culture at VDNKh, 20-30 September 1975, Moscow

 

24 Little Knots as a Keepsake. On the XXIV Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Restored by Victor Skersis in 2008


Exhibitions:


Preliminary Apartment Viewings to the All-Union exhibition. Moscow
Exhibition of Works of Moscow artists, Hall of Culture at VDNKh, Moscow


1976

Actions:

School of Painting
Alternative title: Paint it yourself!. The action took place in Mikhail Roshal’s apartment on Dmitry Ulianov Street, Moscow, May 1976.
Two works preserved: “Paul Cezanne. Still-life” and “Jean Honore Fragonard. The Stolen Kiss”

 

Fertilization of Earth

The action took place beyond the Moscow Road (Moscow Region), near the Kiev highway near. Documented by Igor Palmin

 

Help to the Soviet State in the Struggle for the Harvest
The action took place in the vicinity of Novokosino (Moscow Region). Documented by Igor Palmin


Objects and Installations:

Iron Curtain

 

Exhibitions:

Spring Apartment Exhibition (preliminary expositions to the exhibition in the halls on Begovaya Street). Moscow


1977

Actions:

 

Non-Functional Art: An Attempt of Levitation; An Attempt to See Oneself in the Past and in the Future Moscow. Photos of actions were published in the catralogue of the so-called “Dissident Biennale” (Venice, 1977)

 

Towing Continents Together: Restoration of Gondwana as One Single Material and Spiritual Field.
Action with the participation of Alexander Yulikov took place on Ozerkovskaya and Sadovnicheskaya Embankments, Moscow
Dokumentation by Valentin Serov

 

Aesthetization of the Environment
The action took place in the apartment Donskoi-Roshal-Skersis´s friends on Leninsky Prospect, Moscow; repeated by Victor Skersis for the exhibition of the Gnezdo Group in the National Centre for Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2008

 

Underground Art
The action took place on an empty lot in Belyaevo, Moscow
Repeated by the amateur association “Hermitage,” Moscow, 1987
Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, USA, 1999

 

Let’s Become One Meter Closer
One of the group’s most “developed” actions, to which Donskoi, Roshal, and Skersis turned numerous times. The variation with two participants (Donskoi and Roshal), which was probably performed in autumn 1976, was published in the catalogue of the so-called “Dissident Biennale“ (Venice, 1977). The group performed the action in its full version in 1977 in the empty lot in Belyaevo. Special T-shirts were made with the name of the action printed on them: in English - for the members of the group, in Russian - for the Western participants. The Western partners in the project were Nell Matlock, the daughter of the American diplomat, Jack Matlock (the action was performed near Washington, DC) and the German journalist Anke Ritter, who dug her hole in the suburbs of Berlin.

 

Sixty Finger-Nails as a Keepsake. On the 60th Anniversary of the Soviet State
Action took place on November 7th 1977, Moscow. Photos of Gennady Donskoy, Mikhail Roshal and Victor Skersis nails were taken by Valentin Serov. He also documented the action.

 

 

An Attempt to Protect the Environment. A World Minute without Breathing.

The action took place in Mikhail Roshal’s apartment on Dmitry Ulianov Street, Moscow. Documented by Valentin Serov

 

Objects and installations

Portraits of Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn

Confiscated during the search of Mikhail Roshal’s apartment in summer 1983; repeated by Mikhail Roshal in 2004.

 

Exhibitions:

La nuova arte Sovietica. La Biennale di Venezia. Venice, Italy


1978

Actions:

 

Hypnotization of a Canvas.

A half-hour direction of one’s own energy on the canvas to make the painting appear.
The action took place in Mikhail Roshal’s apartment on Dmitry Ulianov Street, Moscow

 

An Attempt to Protect the Environment. A World Minute without Breathing.
The action took place in Mikhail Roshal’s apartment on Dmitry Ulianov Street, Moscow
Documentated by Valentin Serov

 

Eating. If you want to understand the inner essence of things you have to make them a part of you.
The following items were eaten:
1. a cockroach;
2. a reproduction of Repin’s painting Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16th, 1581;
3. a mass-produced copy of Let Us Beat Swords into Ploughshares, a sculpture by Vuchetich;
4. a one-ruble banknote;
The series of actions took place in Mikhail Roshal’s apartment on Dmitry Ulianov Street, Moscow
Documentated by Valentin Serov

 

Demonstration. Art to the Masses
For the banner, the Franz Kline composition “Accent Grove” was used (rotated 90 degrees)
The action took place on the intersection of Dmitry Ulianov and Vavilov Streets, Moscow

 

Race toward Jerusalem
The action took place in the courtyard outside Mikhail Odnoralov’s studioon First Zachatievsky pereulok, Moscow
The length of the run - 1 meter, 41 centimeters - was calculated by the division of the distance from Moscow to Jerusalem (2 790 km) by the year of the race (1978)

 

A Half-Hour Attempt to Materialize Komar and Melamid.
October 5, 1978. On the opening day of Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid’s exhibition, “The Temple” at Roland Feldman Fine Arts Gallery, New York. The action took place in Mikhail Roshal’s apartment on Dmitry Ulianov Street, Moscow

 

Objects and Installations

Diagram of the History of the Communist Party

 

Exhibitions:

Aspetti e documentazione degli artisti non conformisti dell’Union Sovietica. Museo Civico di Lodi, Lodi, Italy
Rassegna sul dissenso culturale nell`Est europio. Scuola Art e Mestiert, Aula Magna Scuola cantonale di Commercio, Aula Magna Municipio, Sala Patriziale, Bellincona, Switzerland, New Art from the Soviet Union. Washington, USA


1979

Actions:

Souls for Sale.

Komar&Melamid action performed in Moscow by Gnezdo
May 19, 1979 simultaneously with a similar action in New York. Studio of Mikhail Odnoralov, First Zachatievsky pereulok, Moscow

 

Objects and Installations:

Wrapped Star (Hi, Christo). From the series Greetings

 

Exhibitions:

New Art frţm the Soviet Union. Washington DC, USA


Unpreserved and undated works:

 

MEAFSPSSAI (Material Equivalent of Air Fluctuations and the Special Periodicity and Sign Symbolics Associated with It). Each letter of the Russian alphabet received a weight equivalent in grams. The mass of a word was calculated; after this operation, a metal cylinder of the equivalent mass was made. Defloration of a pure canvas.

 

Children-Flowers
To create a new and improved generation of humans, pollen was mixed with sperm. The works were demonstrated at an apartment exhibition in 1979 as works of Donskoi-Roshal-Skersis (executed by Gennady Donskoi)

 

Direction of Thought

Text on a recorder tape strung through the room said: “This is a work, orientated to the West as well as to the East”

 

62 Crosswise Cuts as a Keepsake. On the 62nd Anniversary of the Soviet State
The number of crosswise cuts on the log corresponded with the next Anniversary of the Socialist Revolution