GROUP SZ – Victor SKERSIS / Vadim ZAKHAROV
The group was founded in 1980. There are two periods: 1980-1984 and throughout 1990. During the first period, the following themes were under development: Functioning in Culture, Activity, Filling the Voids, Simulations in Culture, Phantoms, Symbiosis, Co-authorships, and Bypassings. In 1990, work was based on the Brothers Karamazov by Fedor Dostoevski.
“With deep satisfaction, SZ announces that tags such as Ouch! Hey! There! Why? Nut! and others appeard in different places of Moscow
are functioning properly”.
“Logical Organisation of Urination of Dogs”, 1980
“In accordance with the positioning of the stars in the constellation of the Greate Hound, and also in an attempt to bring order to the urinating
activities of dogs, in five points of Moscow, signaling installations were positioned (small rugs that the dog Fedia urinated on). All the signaling installations are functioning properly.”
Installation signaling rags near subway station Kropotkinskaya and near Kievskii Train Station.
Installation signaling rags near the Hotel Leningradskaya. Installation signaling rags near subway station Kolchoznaya. Installation signaling rags on the riverfront near the movie theater Udarnik.
“Series Filling the Voids”, 1980
Installation of the information depositories in the form of milk boxes. The top part of the box to conceal letters, the bottom one to feed birds.
a. Beginning of Petrovka Street in the square near the watch shop “Chasy.”
b. Kalininskii Prospect. The square near the music
c. The square on the intersection of Gorky Street and Stoleshnikov Pereulok, behind the stature of Yuri Dolgoruki.
“Series Self Defense Against Things”, 1981-1982
Studying methods of counteractions against objects: Intimidation of an armoir, a table, and
a door. Playing off a chair against a lavatory, caressing the TV set, and libel a refrigerator.
Courses of Self Defense Against Things
(taught by V. Skersis)
“Phantom Series”, 1981-1982
SZ-members invent a number of artists-phantoms, like Katya Shnitzer, Lena Volodina and her brother Igor. The works by those unreal artists has been included into the M.A.N.A. File N˚4 (1982).
All man are - bastards!, 1982
“Action Lieblich, 29.5. 1983
APTART on Plain Air. Kalistovo, near Moscow.”
The performance was a liberal repetition of the action “Lieblich” by the Collective Actions group.
All the participants present were taken for a long walk around the forest. About twenty or so minutes later, the company stopped on a little meadow.
A few minutes later, an alarm clock in V. Zakharov’s pocket rang. At that point, V. Skersis handed the participants little cards on which were written
“You have just participated in the performance of SZ – Lieblich.”
Five personal SZ exhibitions.
“The 1st personal SZ exhibition”,
Exhibition in APTART galleriy, 1983, Moscow
(Was destroed by KGB agents)
Works on exhibitions:
“Military Applications of Art”- (Tank Parthenon). 1980-1983
“Caresses and Kisses Make People Ugly”.
Five photographs and a gold painted sign. This work also includes attachment of large, beautiful plywood circles to the feet of the viewers (to make them limp), attachment of
small paper circles on viewers’ faces, and bandaging (to disable) their arms.
“CSKA – Spartak”, 1981
“SZ announces that from 20 April 1981, SZ is participating in the fight between fans of sports clubs Spartak and CSKA. However, SZ did not take one of the sides. Instead, they decided to break apart into two feuding sides. Skersis is on the side of CSKA and Zakharov on the side of Spartak”.
Series “Anatomy of Matches”, 1980
“Porno Series”. Eight photos behind a curtain
“The 2nd personal SZ exhibition”, 1983
This was realized as a performance in
M. Roshal’s apartment.
The authors placed yellow paper on the floor and laid on it. At their heads was a black-paper cut out of SZ . After a small pause, Zakharov pulled two dead chickens out of a plastic bag and gave one of them to Skersis. With the help of the chickens, they demonstrated, as a performance, the works and ideas they were working on at the moment and those that were shown on the “1st personal show of SZ” in APTART. After the dead chicken manipulations, they brought out match boxes and started to throw them at the viewers. The viewers picked up the boxes and threw them back. Then the artists froze momentarily, and after a minute of silence, the audience was told they had witnessed the “2nd personal exhibition of SZ”.
“The 3nd personal SZ exhibition”, 1983
This was executed during Amateur Music Night.
Organised by Tanya Didenko
The authors invited willing participants onto the stage where Victor Skersis hung little signs on them with the titles of various works of SZ. Various instruments were on the stage to play on. By showing signs on which there were indicated what specific participant or the entire “orchestra” had to do, Vadim Zakharov directed the show. On the scene were present: Nikolai Panitkov, Dmitrii Prigov, Nikolai
Kozlov, Mikhail Roshal, Konstantin Zvezdochetov, Andrei Prigov, Vladimir Mironenko, Lev Rubinstein, Tanya Didenko.
“The 4rd personal SZ exhibition”, 1984
This was shown in the form of performances at the homes of Nikita Alexeev, Ivan Chuikov, Dmitrii Prigov, Alexander Yulikov, Leonid Bazhanov, and also at the home of Georgi Kizevalter for Vladimir Sorokin.
The work was done in such a way that the authors (with permission) would arrive at the viewer’s home with masks already on. Without saying a word, the head of the house would be taken into the middle
of the room where a red plush fabric would be placed on his shoulders. A chair would be hung on him in such a way that the seat of the chair was directly in front of him and was tied to his chest.
The seat would make a tiny stage. On his head, there would be placed a “crown” made from copper wires and fabric. Small pictures of SZ actions and of other works were tacked under the crown. On the “stage” would appear miniature objects: “Tank Parthenon”, “Airplane Backfire”, and so on. In front of the viewer, battles would turn into soccer fan fights. Coarse language would turn into songs: “Ouch!” “Oh!” “There!” (the very words written as graffiti on the walls of the city). Other works were also recreated, using this toy show. Before leaving, Skersis and Zakharov quietly placed match boxes and other
objects under the furniture, appliances, vases, and so on in such a way that everything in the house would assume a somewhat unstable, dangerous state.