November 24, 2014 - Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY) - Lenin: Icebreaker Revisited
November 24, 2014

Lenin: Icebreaker Revisited

Lisa Kereszi, Ship on Door of VA Library from the series “Governors Island, NY,” 2003. Chromogenic print, framed 20 x 24 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York.

Lenin: Icebreaker Revisited
December 11, 2014–March 9, 2015

Opening: December 10, 6–8pm
Panel discussion 6–7pm (RSVP required)

Austrian Cultural Forum New York
11 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10022
Hours: Daily 10am–6pm

T +1 212 319 5300
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Artists: Amy Balkin, Judith Fegerl, Yevgeniy Fiks, Jim Finn, Lisa Kereszi, Marko Lulić, Lisi Raskin, Isa Rosenberger, Leonid Tishkov

Curator: Olga Kopenkina

In 1957 the Soviet Union launched the icebreaker Lenin to international fanfare, which included delegations from the United States and United Kingdom. As the world’s first nuclear-powered civilian vessel, it epitomized the “Soviet Peaceful Atom” initiative, which promoted the application of atomic energy for purposes of civil engineering—a program bookended by the opening of the world’s first nuclear power plant in 1954 and the Chernobyl disaster some 30 years later. The Lenin would operate for 30 years before being decommissioned to serve as a floating museum, its hull worn too thin by decades’ worth of ice to continue operation.

In its youth, the icebreaker Lenin served as an icon of the socialist utopian ideal: a classless society based on boundless technological progress through the lens of military advancement and limitless resources through the application of atomic power. In the world that has emerged in the ensuing years, in which a tiny portion of the world’s population receives limitless services in an automated, computerized, late-capitalist utopia amidst a steadily degrading ecology and decentralized global strife, the exhibition Lenin: Icebreaker Revisited posits the question: Does utopia still have a social function?

Curated by Olga Kopenkina, Lenin: Icebreaker Revisited introduces works in a variety of media from nine artists hailing from Russia, Austria, and the United States. Amy Balkin’s ongoing project, A People’s Archive of Sinking and Melting, displays objects found in areas experiencing rising sea levels or land erosion, and includes a Russian contribution. Three works by Judith Fegerl examine the navigation of temporal and spatial reality and myth by way of sound and sculpture. Drawings and sculptures by Leonid Tishkov show deep-sea divers as a metaphor for the “forgotten utopia” as the early Soviet avant-garde envisioned it. Conversely, the abandoned and seemingly obsolete appears in American Lisa Kereszi‘s “Governors Island” series of photographs depicting the island’s current state after decades of serving as a military site. A slide projection and videos by Lisi Raskin show images of human-made environments and landscapes in Lithuania and Afghanistan, marred by Soviet construction, in an installation modeled on an American living room. An installation by Yevgeniy Fiks features images of locations in Moscow named after revolutionary leaders, which between the 1940s and 1980s served as secret meeting points for gay people. These photographs are directly attached to the volumes of Vladimir Lenin’s writings, translated and published by the American Communist Party. A recent film by Austrian artist Isa Rosenberger tells the fictional story of a Soviet naval officer who immigrates to America amidst an eternal afterlife debate between Nixon and Khrushchev. Jim Finn‘s film Encounters with your Inner Trotsky Child constructs the “utopia” of personal salvation using a language that combines hyperbolic Communist rhetoric, lo-fi video effects, and a 1980s aerobics video. Another video work, Marko Lulić‘s Sacrifice, documents a modern choreography which pays tribute to Stravinsky’s seminal ballet piece The Rite of Spring, the conclusion of which serves as the starting point of a journey toward a better future.

The opening reception for Lenin: Icebreaker Revisited will take place on Wednesday, December 10, from 6 to 8pm. Also starting at 6pm there will be a panel discussion featuring participating artists Marko Lulić, Yevgeniy Fiks, Jim Finn, Austrian author and journalist Susanne Scholl, and curator Olga Kopenkina. Admission is free. Due to limited seating, rsvp for the talk is required. Tickets are available by clicking here or calling T +1 212 319 5300 x46.

More information here.
Press images are available here.

Admission to exhibitions, concerts, and other events is free.
Reserve tickets online at

Media contacts
ACFNY: desk [​at​] / T +1 212 319 5300 ext. 77
Andy Cushman: ac [​at​] / T +1 917 744 4042



Austrian Cultural Forum New York presents Lenin: Icebreaker Revisited
Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY)
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