2018 – 2019

The gift is unique, specified by the people exchanging and the unique moment of the exchange.

It is arbitrary, and yet absolutely singular.

Jean Baudrillard

Gifts take the pride of place in the value hierarchy. They don’t belong to the cycle of economic exchange; they are symbolic values that bear the memory of an individual relinquishing them for the sake of gift-giving. Natalia Grezina and Anastasia Sukhareva-Morozova’s exhibition The Gift is a total installation, being a narrative about the pure value of gesture as such. Exploring the history of votive gifts, the artists dwell on the objects with a tradition of ritual usage: jewels, swords, daggers, masks, ribbons, threads, and casts of human body members. Structurally, the project comprises three parts. The first gallery includes works on the symbolic meaning of gifts as objects of sympathy and power, on self-sacrifice in everyday life. The second gallery of the display focuses on overcoming internal isolation and overriding one’s own fears. The third part of the project is the series they made together through accepting gifts from acquaintances and strangers. This series embodies the idea of gratitude for yesterday and a metaphorical gift-giving to the day ahead. The dialogue of two co-authors reveals the essence of an artist’s labours, everyday household rituals and sometimes tedious hackwork that make the foundation of solidarity, equality and altruism. The display includes ceramic sculptures and handmade embroidery on polyethylene. In the course of painstaking everyday work, clay and polyethylene, two materials inherently conflictory on the strength of their origin, reach plastic unity.