Brad Downey (American) and Igor Ponosov (Russian) are artists from two hostile powers. Despite this fact, Downey and Ponosov have tried to construct their own alternative scenario of collaboration and friendship. With their unauthorized actions, they have been mocking established clichés, combining and remixing cultural and national symbols, creating an illusion of friendship and strong relations between their countries. Today, during the escalation of political tensions, with a world on the verge of a global war, this model seems utopian. However, the two friends remain true to themselves.
These coins (as a prototype) were originally created and presented in 2016 for an exhibition titled The Thaw in Moscow at CCI Fabrika. The coins, like many other art-objects from the exhibition, simultaneously symbolize an illusory bonding between USA and Russia and the growing tension between the two countries.
This collaborative artwork literally embodies the “two-faced-ness” of state relations and the duplicity that have been accompanying the artists throughout their friendship. The edition emphasizes the contradictory nature of politics, which Downey and Ponosov have been highlighting for many years through a range of in equal measures ironic and absurde gestures.
The multiple, which is editioned in 20 sets (+ 9 AP), features two coins; an American quarter dollar and a Russian 5 ruble. The American quarter dollar is engraved with the Russian coat of arms, and the Russian 5 Ruble with the American equivalent. The two engraved coins are held in the coin department of a foil embossed leather wallet. A Swedish 20 kronor banknote, which functions as a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity is held in the wallet’s cash pocket. The wallet comes in a bespoke, foil embossed and corner stapled greyboard box which is numbered by rubber stamp a tergo.
BIOGRAPHY BRAD DOWNEY
Brad Downey (b. 1980, Louisville) is a Berlin-based artist and activist from Kentucky. He studied documentary film at the Pratt Institute in New York City, and painting at the Slade School of Art in London. His multi-faceted projects include performative gestures, video, installation, painting and drawing. Using humor, sensitivity, and precise interventions, Downey investigates the underlying structure of our cities, our landscapes, our sacred sites, as well as the forgotten peripheries and contested borders. Downey has been featured in articles for Hyperallergic, New York Times and The Guardian amongst others.
BIOGRAPHY IGOR PONOSOV
Igor Ponosov (b. 1980, Nizhnevartovsk) is a Moscow based artist, co-founder of the Partizaning movement, and researcher focused on Urban Art. He is the writer, publisher and author of numerous books and publications on contemporary art. Ponosov has undertaken residencies including the Global Art Lab public art residency in New York, as part of the 2014 Arts Leadership Fellows, as well as at the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Moscow, in 2016. Igor Ponosov works as an activist, artist and independent curator of multi-disciplinary projects, focusing on the social environment of the city and its transformation through the arts.
Since 2013 Igor Ponosov and Brad Downey are carrying out their experiments, synthesizing American land art and graffiti traditions with homages to Sots Art, and Moscow conceptualism. Their artworks whimsically blend flags and coats of arms, and wittily interpret their cultures and everyday lives.