Persimfans was an exhibition curated by David Sarkisyan at the Moscow Biennale of Architecture in 2008. David Sarkisyan gathered 12 architects in the space of the Ruin wing: they were the Persimfans—an orchestra without a conductor. Alexander Brodsky and Meganom designed the exhibition layout: the “bridges” and platforms, connecting all parts of the Ruin space.
David Sarkisyan, curator:
Persimfans is, of course, merely a declaration and a joke, but with triple irony.
Firstly, I am starting to love it more and more, this community of the best Russian architectural studios that has been forming in the recent years (before my eyes, I would say), not organized in any way, but increasingly cohesive and firm, and already professing the features of a collective identity with its own authority and voice. The voice is soft and infinitely sarcastic, but very strong and accurate.
Secondly, I believe this brotherhood already has something to say to the authorities, ecstatically blending with the people in a tender Herostratus-like love for a pretty, brand new lush cemetery, built in the name of recent history, where they enthusiastically bury alive beat-up genuine architecture; to the camp of Contemporary Culture (which one would expect to present the opposition), where augurs—curators—continuously celebrate their complete, eternal, unconditional and final triumph; and, finally, to themselves—candidly at that.
And thirdly, I was so confident in the ability of like-minded architects to instinctively sense each other—like quantum entangled photons at a distance—that I could easily afford to limit my curatorial contribution to a single gesture and then simply remove myself from the process. I just needed to point a finger at a representative dozen; it was as the symphonic structure that self-assembled and where twelve different musical instruments freely, whimsically and independently created wonderful music together, as if by miracle.
The name Persimfans refers to the heroic era of the famously rebellious avant-garde ensemble of soloists who overthrew the power of the conductor and smoothly performed even the most complex symphonic works. In this tragicomic reprise we are diligently turning our own history into, it is sometimes useful to revive old methods and practices. Applying the old and exotic method of the absence of a single creative leader, we risked ending up with a disharmonized set of utterly incongruous things. But what was created was a single beautiful installation, amazingly coherent and thoughtful, unexpectedly and joyfully lifting the spirits of the viewers in the exhibition space. There was no rational explanation to it. Thus, the great mystery of art manifested itself once again.”