solaris: shelter for the next cold war

May 19 2019 - July 07 2019

Mark Kelner presents a multimedia installation at CultureHouse / in Washington, DC.  The exhibition opens at 700 Delaware Avenue, SW with a public reception on Wednesday, May 22 from 7 - 10 pm and continues through July 7, 2019.

Kelner’s collection of kitsch and fine art – exploring clichés of Russia and America – is woven into a satire of cultural and political commentary. He mixes a DC punk aesthetic with sleek printmaking, painting and video, Solaris calls visitors into a rich multicultural environment that vibrates, with tensions between individual and national identities, between fine art and political propaganda, and capitalism and communism.  As stated by the artist, “the story within my work is deeply personal; it is an emotional, unconscious narrative that is at once autobiographical and conceptual.”

The installation’s centerpiece is the Bunker Solaris, a free-standing structure suggestive of a safe room that houses the contents of a shelter.  Different from an archetypical shelter that protects physical properties, Kelner infuses his shelter with icons of emotional survival -- paintings, photographs, prints and memorabilia fill the interior of the structure while video, music and news clips surround the exterior.  Bassist-composer Kai Filipczak has produced a soundtrack especially for the installation.

Currently living and working in Washington, DC, Mark Kelner was born in 1974 to parents who fled the Soviet Union.  His roots in both Russian and American cultures form the basis of his artistic creations – from advertising and corporate branding in American media to symbols of Russian and Soviet visual culture and art history. Solaris draws upon this body of work that includes themes of authority, power and commerce.

The artist has exhibited in the DC area and, most recently in Paris, France.  He is a visual artist, filmmaker and writer.  As a graduate of George Mason University, he studied with famed novelist Vasily Aksyonov.  Kelner’s work has appeared in Artenol, The Atlantic, and The Times, which published his humorist essay “How to Sell Art to Oligarchs.”  His visual works have been showcased in various media platforms and his short performance film; “So We Beat On…” was recently featured by The Washington Post.



+ CULTUREHOUSE press release - 216 KB

solaris:  shelter for the next cold war : Thomas Downing 2 2018
solaris:  shelter for the next cold war : Gene Davis 2 2018
solaris:  shelter for the next cold war : Morris Lewis 1 2018
solaris:  shelter for the next cold war : Wonder 2016
solaris:  shelter for the next cold war : Col. Sanders 2017
solaris:  shelter for the next cold war : Signs and Wonders 2018 triptych
solaris:  shelter for the next cold war :

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