Capsule 08: Polina Kanis


Exhibition, from

This exhibition is closed.


Exhibition overview

The capsule exhibitions at Haus der Kunst offer young, international emerging artists the opportunity to present new works in an institutional context. The fourth edition of the exhibition series pairs Colombian-born, London-based artist Oscar Murillo and Russian media artist Polina Kanis.

Polina Kanis (born 1985 in Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg) has consistently reconsidered the boundaries between film, photography and performance. Kanis’ early videos saw the artist perform different roles, such as that of a teacher, or a fitness instructor for pensioners. Her subsequent works, however, bear witness to a shift towards a more cinematic mode of moving image production with Kanis now working behind the camera. Marked by a distinct tension between the scenario depicted and the world that lies beyond the frame, Kanis’ works show how hierarchical systems of power bring about shifts and perversions in relationships between individuals.

Expanding upon a practice consisting chiefly of single-channel videos, Polina Kanis has developed a new, immersive three-channel installation for her exhibition at Haus der Kunst. In The Procedure(2017) Kanis takes a fictional museum building as the starting point for her meditations on collectivity and division. Lying in ruins after an unknown disaster, any attempts to ascertain what has happened to the building elicit the same response from the people interviewed: “I saw nothing.”

The Procedure tracks the conventions and mechanisms that have developed during the period of the museum’s reconstruction. As the sequences unfold the viewer becomes privy to a hermetically sealed system, with the building and the surrounding forest now forming an exclusion zone. Access to the outside world is permitted only after completing the routine procedure of questioning and body search in the border zone.

Employing her typically laconic style, Kanis uses the microcosm of the museum building to address issues of exclusion, marginalization, and liminality. As we begin to unravel the logic of this universe, we realize that the unknown event which has led the characters to this point has become secondary to the procedure that has developed in its wake.

Polina Kanis graduated from the Rodchenko Art School, Moscow, in 2011, the same year in which she was awarded the Kandinsky Prize in the category Best Young Artist for her video “Eggs” (2010). In 2016 Kanis received the Sergey Kuryokhin Award in the category Media Object for her film “The Pool” (2015). Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the parallel program of Manifesta 10, and the 2015 edition of the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art. As of January 2017 Kanis is part of the residency program at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam.

Capsule 08 is curated by Daniel Milnes.