21.11.2020 – 19.12.2020

Exhibition of the TOY team
«I walked around the town, went around the neighbouring villages. And also painted the walls I liked. Fortunately, I always had paint in my net bag. In the studio works, created as part of this project, I pictured what I saw on the local news, overheard while queuing at the shop or found out from local acquaintances», says Error TOY about his ways of examining the inner life of Vyksa in search of local gossip. Who is Error TOY and why does he collect all manner of hearsay?

The description for the TOY group show in 2015, penned by Anna Nistratova, dubbed them the ultimate enfant terribles of Nizhny Novgorod. 'All guests of the city must have seen tags and bizarre drawings featuring the word 'TOY' on brick walls, abandoned buildings and in some very unpredictable places. The TOY group are befitting representatives of the graffiti genre, the one that still inevitably raises the same old question: is it vandalism or is it art? They paint all the time on all surfaces available: buildings, canvases, trains, clothes, scraps of paper. Their activities and social networking have made TOY widely known far beyond the borders of Nizhny Novgorod. They have already exhibited at the Street Art Museum (St Petersburg), and were described as the most fashionable Russian graffiti team during a show in Paris,' she writes. Since, the team's success has been reasserted by exhibitions in major museums and galleries, including the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow) and the Manege Central Exhibition Hall (St Petersburg). Now their works can be enjoyed in Vyksa.

The TOY group's new show, Gossip, is based on Vyksan mythologies. TOY do not paint imaginary scenes on paper, but reproduce snapshots borrowed from the everyday life of Vyksa and its environs. The wandering gaze of a town dweller rarely stops on these small scenes, readily recognisable to the locals, but TOY drive a hunt for them: in one joke they casually mixed local toponyms, Vyksan chronicles, urban and industrial folklore, recent news and memes, graffiti and advertising, memories and travel notes, through the lens of which it depicts the existing urban language, a complex canvas of multilayered texts.

What makes TOY's pictures funny is the deliberately simplistic recourse to complex subjects and the process of turning them upside down, the entanglement of the high-brow and the low-brow in culture. Their works illustrate the understanding of the 'carnival' according to Bakhtin: in this one they've named two fat geese Ruslan and Lyudmila after literature's romantic characters, in that one a yellow price tag has been stuck to a grey tombstone, in the next one a hand prepares to throw a stone into someone's window — but wait, this is an illustration of the myth of the iron rose!

TOY Art Group
The TOY art group is a duo of Nizhny Novgorod-based emerging artists formed in 2012.

Part of the Nizhny Novgorod street art movement, TOY interact with urban landscapes using an alias, which they systematically incorporate into letter messaging. Deliberately sloppy, light, almost random style taps the street aesthetics and communicates the subculture lifestyle. The artists call themselves 'chroniclers of the everyday' and explore the subjects of everyday life and street gangster culture.

Selected solo shows:
Uncomfortable Environment – NOT FOUND Gallery, Moscow, Russia, 2020.
The Daily Grind – Triumph Gallery, Moscow, Russia, 2019.
What is good and what is bad? – TOLK gallery, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, 2015.

Selected group shows:
15-minute Break – All-Russia Museum of Decorative, Applied and Folk Art, Moscow, Russia, 2020.
L'amour – BDSM Lounge, Berlin, Germany, 2019.
The Wall – MMOMA, Moscow, 2019.
The 1st Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art – the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia, 2017.
Other events