25 November 2021 – 12 February 2022
Preview: Wednesday, 24 November 2021, 6–9pm

Pushkin House presents a two-artist exhibition Desire International by two contemporary artists Yevgeniy Fiks and Ian Ginsburg, exploring the utopianism of queer sensuality and imagination. These two very different projects will be in dialogue with each other to unpack the potentials of visual and verbal language in capturing queer identities in the Soviet realm and beyond.

Dictionary of the Queer International by Yevgeniy Fiks ambitiously suggests the possibility of a global emancipatory language made up of words and phrases related to queer identities in various cultures. The dictionary brings together expressions from different languages, including insiders’ slang used by representatives of sexually and gender non-conforming communities (such as ‘Tematicheskiy’ in Russia, ‘Beki’ in the Philippines, ‘Polari’ in the UK and ‘Pajuba’ in Brazil) and reclaimed slurs. Fiks further explores the potential of the invented language by creating a series of poems and turning them into provocative banners.Visitors are encouraged to respond to the first edition of the Dictionary of the Queer International by introducing new materials and providing feedback based on their own experiences and viewpoints. The banners and a special edition of the Dictionary of the Queer International were designed by Katya Sivers.

As part of Ian Ginsburg’s first presentation in the UK, Pushkin House will exhibit his project A Barrack Named Desire: Reframing Viktor Duvidov. As both an artist and collector, Ian Ginsburg recontextualises the legacy of the prominent Soviet artist Viktor Duvidov (1932–2000). Known primarily as a children’s book illustrator, Duvidov was convicted for homosexuality during the Soviet era. Later he created a series of erotically charged etchings and woodcuts, partially based on his prison experiences. By finding visual and conceptual connections between the playful illustrations intended for children’s gaze and the sombre intimate images of prison life and male corporeality, Ginsburg reflects on our understanding of beauty and aesthetic innocence and turns the low-brow creative ambition to decorate into an impactful practice. Using original works by Duvidov and Soviet-era books as well as various found elements, Ginsburg has created a series of collages and complex formal structures, reframing our perceptions of double identities and rediscovering queer sensuality in sterilised visual produce.

Organised by Puskin House