Rock – Paper – Scissors

 The exhibition is named after a well-known incantation in ritual shamanism, based on the interaction of primary elements that possess the same innate strength and are set in opposition to each other. A person who tries to compare these archetypes with each other faces a choice, and makes it.

This is a universal technique. In this project, the artist himself, primarily in his own art, chooses what can be considered a picture. The artist began his career with traditional painting, and gradually increased the size of his works, in effect exhibiting small drawings as large-format easel paintings several meters in size. Then, in the "Passions for Linnaeus" project shown in the gallery two years ago, he mused on the picture's current modes of existence. A picture was broken down into layers that were enclosed in small boxes, or it was an arrangement of perspectives suspended in the air that formed an image when viewed from a single point. An image could be made up of empty holes superimposed on each other after cutting out contours. Finally, an image was broken apart into thousands of paper rectangles, and each one was pinned to a base, so the artwork was re-assembled into something new, creating the illusion of a three-dimensional image. The artist's picture of the world nearly disintegrated into atoms, but his scientific approach of recording and archiving kept it from turning into chaos.

Now these pieces of the disintegrating picture are not simply recorded: they each find their own shelf or their own cell. The artist creates a boxed, nested arrangement like a giant crystalline lattice, where he places all the image fragments.

If we start with the specific and move on to the general, everything is broken up and divided so that it finds its unique place in order to create a collection. The fossil specimens placed in the same type of cells also allude to this collection principle. The sea urchins from the Cretaceous period and cystoids from the middle Ordovician, once living creatures, are now manifested as one of the primary elements. So the concept of shelving and sorting can be applied to any animate or inanimate objects, including objects of art. Here again we see a continuation of the artist's previous project, and we are reminded of Carl Linnaeus with his classification and taxonomy, aspiring to universality and totality. Anything can be defined and collected, including a person.

If we go in the opposite direction, from general to particular, then the objects on display resemble a modern digital image made up of pixels. Depending on where they are viewed from, they either show a specific image, or remain a ripple on the surface, almost like digital noise. But the main thing here is that these pixels are carefully drawn using the traditional method on traditional paper. The paper is also cut up into pieces by hand and placed into cells glued together out of cardboard with unsophisticated technique. In other words, this is an absolutely analog material version of the digital image, a completely handmade product in the era of digital automation. And this is where we can see the artist's cargo cult worldview that was demonstrated in previous projects. The artist resembles the natives who worship the airplanes that drop humanitarian aid cargo with the blessings of civilization. They don't understand the entire production chain, so they mythologize the results in the form of canned meat falling from the sky. To evoke these heavenly gifts, the natives perform complex rituals, make headphones and microphones out of coconuts to call the airplanes, build pseudo runways in the jungle, and make life-sized models of aircraft out of straw and branches.

Appropriating the cargo cult method as a tool for communicating with the universe, the author creates large pixel images in exactly the same way and with the same materials as a Baroque artist would have. The term Baroque originates from the Portuguese name for an irregularly-shaped pearl – that is, a defective artifact. It sees the world as the product of a lopsided clam. This explains the passion for collections of rarities and deformities and unusual specimens, which again are usually based on the collector's free choice, rather than on scientific logic. These are collections of rarities and coincidences, similar to how capturing moments together with the invention of the pendulum and the clockwork mechanism led to the motto of the entire era: "MEMENTO MORI". And the artist frames this baroque aesthetic in minimalism and disguises it as an object of the digital era. How to label the resulting artwork is up to the viewer, although the artist himself, due to the full cycle of manual production, sticks to the framework of traditional techniques and stubbornly calls these objects drawings.

Then there are the "white pictures" on display that remain outside of all this speculation. Apparently they don't fit into any of the cells, or rather, they are the consequence of breaking out of these and any other boundaries. Similar to seeds and spores, almost following biological laws, they sprout on blank sheets in black and white fanciful forms. These are some sort of proto-graphic clusters that haven't developed into any distinct image. What will they turn into, and which direction will they grow? This is a question for time and future projects to answer. Once again, it is a question of choice. A choice can always be made if there is something to choose from, and particularly if there is a trio of primary elements: fossils, drawings, a scalpel for paper... stone, wood, metal...


V. Grikovsky