The CUBE Collective. A Half Step into Twilight
Erarta Museum presented an exhibition by the CUBE, an independent association of Perm based artists, that takes the viewer on a journey into the universe of twilight fears and fantasies
A collection of phantom fantasies, shadow emotions, and ghost states
Artworks evoking book illustrations, comics, and anime
A crossover between the kids’ and adults’ perception of the world
Those who grew up in the Soviet times certainly must remember the spooky urban legends about the Black Hand, Red Spot, Green Fingers, Yellow Eyes, and other evil creatures of all forms imaginable. When left alone, kids would whisper these stories to each other in the darkness. When twilight breaks, however, the space surrounding the child suddenly transforms and starts teeming with visions of ghosts lurking in the darkness. Bedroom and closet doors, windows, the empty space under the bed, each dark corner – everything turns into a secret portal into a world occupied by monsters. These monsters are indeed terrible: terribly cute, naïve and kind-hearted.
A Half Step into Twilight is a symbolic journey into the world of children’s fears and fantasies, in the course of which the artists allow the twilight ‘monsters’ to reveal themselves. Here these imaginary creatures seem to be restored to their rights. For a succession of years, members of the CUBE Collective assembled tiny bits of life: phantom fantasies, shadow emotions, ghost states. The artists were particularly fascinated by the sensation of fear – not so much by the actual threat, but rather by the ‘false fears’ triggered by our imagination. They tried to capture the very instance of fright, feel its tangible substance. The artworks presented in the exhibition do not reference any specific characters of the kids’ horror stories: after all, a verbatim recreation of the Black Hand or Red Spot imagery would not reflect the essence of a child’s boundless imagination. These images are eclectic, eerie, at times naïve; they might evoke book illustrations, comics, or anime – anything that sparks the imaginative mind. This is not just the children’s perspective: the exhibition also reflects the adult perception of the twilight myth universe.
Each piece is a key, an elusive yet accurately captured moment that transports the viewer into another world: either into the past or to a parallel dimension. Formal logic does not work here: fwoosh, and a match striking against the box takes us to a place where a second turns to infinity.
Sometime in the early 2000s, several young Perm based artists teamed up to establish a collective living and creative space. The art squat that emerged as a spontaneous hub for independent culture transformed over time, changing its residents and broadening its range of visual practices. Nevertheless, the collective’s artistic creed remained unchanged: they view the cube as the key element of the nascent space, the underlying module of the game that is art. Today the former squat morphed into a shared studio with a crystallised artistic strategy: the CUBE is its three-dimensional and multifaceted structural unit. It is this many-sidedness, tendency to tackle every issue from all angles that acts as the connecting link between the artists Yury Shikin, Yegor Subbotin, and Yury Smirnov.