For over 6 years the epicenter of St. Petersburg art life has been residing within the walls of the building №2 on 29th line of Vasilievsky Island. Another “Epicenter” is planned to be set up here in late November by the Permian talented artist Alexander Grekov.
Psychological test on human maturity
A special Universe of two villages in Perm region
Paintings that are simultaneously percept as “cemeteries” and “runways” of life.
This is how the artist describes the exhibition:
What do I mean by “epicenter”? It is a place where the external forces cause fading of life. It is a place where people either feel thirst for life, or degenerate. In fact, I grew up in one of such epicenters, which exist in abundance in Russia, Europe and the United States. Detroit, for example. The subjects of my research are villages of the Perm region — Shumikhinsky and Yubileyny.
I’d like to emphasize that I’m not going to philosophize about the reasons of decay. I’m absolutely not interested in politics, economics, ecology, etc. Only people are important, and the villages become a trope.
When I came there the first word arisen in my head was “space”. It was a strange and surreal atmosphere as if inside somebody’s fantasies. The presence of adults, children and dogs was strange and inexplicable. Of course the first thing that caught my eye was empty Khrushchev-era apartment blocks. They were looking at me with the empty eye sockets of their windows.
The second strange thing was the people. Adults were bunching together to enjoy the “pharmacy gifts” of infusions and spirits. The garbage and drained bubbles after these unpretentious pleasures were then left all over the ground floors of the abandoned houses. At the same time children were playing around. Their games are dangerous and monotonous — running up and down the stairs. One would say: “So what?”. The thing is that their staircases are different from what we are used to. The first, they are covered with snow and turn into slides. The second, they have no rails or walls, so you can easily “reach” the ground from the fourth floor, skipping the middle ones. Of course they percept it is an interesting and dangerous game range. Looking at those kids, I was thinking how the place would influence them? Will they understand the deadness of their habitation? Or will they choose vegetating as their parents did?
I have no desire to feel bad for the inhabitants of such places; I’m more interested in the question, whether humans are ready to realize that the world owes nothing to them? We all suffer from what I call dependency. How many times did we hear someone whining about what the state owes him? About the benefits people in Europe happily live on. After all, isn’t it nice to lay on the couch sipping a beer and spout off rhetoric on who and how much steals and spends in the government. Instead of getting up and actually working.
I am absolutely convinced that everyone should be responsible for himself. Suffice it to recall the failed US experiment of providing the poor with housing and assistance. The Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis, Missouri has become a place of dirt, drugs dealing and crimes.
While working on my project I thought that could become a sort of psychological test. What will be the percentage of viewers who will see there not a frightening void, but a free road? The Epicenter for me is not just another series of works on the social topic. I have witnessed success and tragic disappointments of the “wise heads” and standouts. I have seen prisons, alcoholism and stagnation of people in their thirties looking like baked apples. The Epicentre showed things that are difficult to explain by coincidence. Sometimes the fate lines become wonderful thanks to epicenters.