Dina Karaman "Cinema to a Romantic"

Central Exhibition Hall Manege,
Media Library of the Museum of Screen Culture Manege/MediaArtLab, Moscow

22 February – 16 March 2014

Dina Karaman
Cinema to a Romantic

Part of the Great Expectations cycle

Curator – Roman Minayev

The film’s action begins in a large tourist town on the Volga River in the 2010s, during the third term of Putin’s rule. The main plotline concerns a young female artist from the capital, Dina Karaman, who works at the meeting point of video art and film. She comes to this town with the aim of visiting what was once the main museum in the USSR, where she intends to shoot footage for her new project. It turns out, however, that the museum is closed on this particular day, and the artist heads off to another of the city’s sights – a children’s library. There, she be- comes an involuntary witness to the implementation of “A Strong Family”, a bio-political project of the United Russia Party. It is here that the state ideology, finally feeling out the soil beneath its feet, finds its embodiment. Here, the children, as well as being introduced to the library’s rules, in the form of staged actions, take on a love for family, private property and the state.

The second plotline revolves around the relations between Soviet ideology and the writer Alexander Green, whose book “The Scarlet Sails” the artist sees being used in the reading room as a weapon, as an educational aid in the following stage of the children’s introduction to the library. A former revolutionary, Green was a man for whom the glorious future of mankind didn’t come with revolutionary achievements, instead it became programmatic for his life and took on physical form in dreams of fairytale lands and noble people. In the Soviet media, the writer’s position was regularly criticized as being antithetical to proletarian culture in its idealization of reality.

Dina Karaman constructs her narration by coupling it with the physical shifting of the viewer within a labyrinth of time and meanings. She reveals an invisible dialogue between art and political authority where the latter views creativity if not as a potential tool for its own legitimiza- tion then as a possible threat to its authoritarian order. The artist very precisely describes the trajectory of possible historical development, opposing the intellectual, the critical and the rational with the subjective, the emotional and the transcendental. The lunar landscape that she finds in her archive takes on a symbolic significance at the point where the artistic act can no longer be seen, by virtue of its formalistic qualities, as being capable or incapable of falling into place within certain ideological frameworks in the conditions of the industry of consciousness, and at best merely indicates the beginning of a journey. 

Dina Karaman works with film, video, installations and sound. She was born in 1986 in St. Petersburg. At present, she lives and works in Moscow.

In 2003, she graduated from the Kustodiev Arts School. From 2003 to 2009 she studied environmental design at the Institute of Decorative and Ap- plied Arts. In 2011, she enrolled at the Institute of Contemporary Art and took part in the MediaArtLab educational program. In 2012, she continued her studies at the film directing faculty of the Moscow New Film School.

In 2012, Dina Karaman received a grant from the Victoria Art of Being Contemporary Foundation for a residency at UNIDEE at the Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Italy.



– 5th Moscow Biennial of Modern Art,
Film Program,
Manege Central Exhibition Hall, Moscow, Russia – 13th Mediа Forum of the 35th Moscow International Film Festival, MOMMA, Moscow, Russia
– Unidee in progress, Biella, Italy
– Memory and Place Disclosed, FRAC, Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella, Italy
– Towards the Unknown, Central House of the Artist, Moscow, Russia
– The 12th Media Forum of the 35th Moscow International Film Festival, The Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, Moscow, Russia
– In the Fresh Air, ArtPlay exhibition center, Moscow, Russia 

Catalogue of the exhibition