This week four floors of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art will be given over to artist Andrei Roiter, who will return to Russia for his first-ever retrospective after 20 years of living in Europe. The exhibition, Open House, will display more than 70 artworks including photographs, videos, paintings and objects spanning the artist’s 25-year career, as part of the bilateral year of culture between Russia and the Netherlands.
After leaving the Soviet Union in the late Eighties, Roiter lived in Brussels, Rome, Cologne and San Francisco before settling in New York and Amsterdam. In each city, he chose to live as a tourist rather than a migrant in order to escape any sense of a fixed identity. Despite this, his artwork references his Russian roots. My Russian Accent (2003) is a painting that comments on his use of language while My Russian Eyes (2010) is a statement on his inability to escape the artistic vision formed when living in Russia.
Roiter’s art largely focuses on his nomadic existence and life as a “tourist” over the past few decades. There are several artefacts capturing this in the exhibition such as suitcases, cameras and blank notebooks. The latter stand in contrast to the collective sense of identity imposed under the Soviet Union and allows viewers to to create their own personal history.
Roiter was one of the founders of Detsky Sad, a legendary art—squat in Moscow in the Eighties. In addition to his tourism-themed art, the exhibition also tries to recreate the atmosphere of the Moscow underground art scene, a reminder of his first “open studio”. The exhibition runs from 18 October to 24 November.