It is by no means an easy task to write about the works by Alexander Povzner. He, being one of the most interesting sculptors in contemporary Russia, is too precise in his actions. No more, but no less. Can words really keep up with actions? It seems like only by plunging into the very depth of language can one reach the core of his objects within the framework of a text. His art is like a game of fifteen. An elegant minimal gesture is only playing with the void. There’s a barely discernible discomfort. Something is entering the static situation of our everyday life, and voil?—one becomes two. Two policemen, a good and a bad one, play off their favorite trick. The viewer is totally confused, but also slightly euphoric. Can you do that again? Ok.
Brutto, or gross weight, is what makes an object to be an object. Something dark, languid, luring, he adds. Let us turn to Descartes. Let’s pretend I’m a cell phone. And you, you’ll be a ringtone that goes like “a wounded bleeding paper tiger,” twice. Povzner still persists in his strange occupation. On the outside, it may seem eccentric. One may say so. The negation machine is working to prevent a halt. He keeps adding and watches the result, feeding upon the negative of the new, in a good way. We see the story of Crusoe’s Friday who lives at a marine base and constructs the simplicity of things out of the materials at hand, in such a precise and neat way that everyone is simply at a loss. Wow that is something! Is this the kind of sixties we never had? the sixties that never existed anywhere at all? It is probably called differently. Here’s one of the reasons why it is so difficult to give names. The Age of Concealment? Here, there are only questions. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent, don’t you know?

There are several series. One was born as a domestic cosmos after the Big Bang. Cups, circles, squares, and mugs. Everything has found its final trajectory. And time has stopped. Time has left together with the man. All this new realism is hanging suspended, flickering like a freeze frame on an old VHS video recorder. Another series came in like a full flow, as if it never left at all. Complete in its monumental fragility, this is a series of large objects. A silent bell and a wooden anchor are responsible for the failure, the modernist failure par excellence. Inevitable like the thing falling onto Hiroshima. Systematic, all too systematic. One more series: a whole army of objects from Easter Island. They are looking at you; they want you as a sacrifice. They have put on their zero-design skins and are already sharpening their knives. Eternal spring.
We, boys, used to make little ships out of oak bark and, having equipped them with rowing thwarts and a wheel, launched them either in a brook or in a pool near the school. These distant cruises used to effortlessly reach their destination and ended soon on the bank. The dreams of wanderings were yet hidden in that barely noticeable shine that used to cover everything around us back then. The mother’s eyes and hands set a limit to everything. Her silent care seemed to protect and preserve the whole being. And the jolly travels were yet unaware of such wanderings where a person leaves the shore way behind. Meanwhile, the firmness and smell of the oak started going on about how slowly and gradually a tree grows. The oak itself was saying that only such growth can be a basis for everything longeval and fruitful, and that growing means opening yourself towards the expanse of the skies, at the same time being rooted in the impenetrable darkness of the earth; it was saying that everything natural and original is only born when a man is equally and truly ready to execute the heavenly commands, staying under the protection of the earth that carries him upon itself. The wood trails—this is what has been an appeasement for him recently.

Arseniy Zhilyaev


View of “Brutto” exhibition. XL Gallery, Moscow
27 April – 23 May 2012

Povzner radically expels any hint at handicraft labor or stylization from his works. His sculptures look like a result of some mysterious, but nevertheless natural processes. Industrial materials display habits peculiar to flora and fauna. Povzner’s works are the antipodes of hunting trophies—all those stuffed bears, elks, and foxes. Taxidermists try to revive the dead flesh, but it is clear to everyone that those wild animals no longer pose any threat. Povzner works with ordinary objects in such a way that, under his sensitive guidance, they start showing remarkable agility. Steel tubes give off branches, turning into a three-dimensional model of a snowflake. A bright-red curtain is growing out of a rusty radiator like a flower on a twig. The dramatically constructed light only strengthens the feeling that you are walking in nature. The gallery is immersed in darkness from which the spotlights pick out the sculptures, like sunbeams through the branches.

Valentin Dyakonov, Kommersant newspaper №89, 19.05.2012


View of “Brutto 2”. Voronezh center of contemporary art, Voronezh
3 – 28 September 2014