Theodor Bastard. Beloe: Hunting for Fierce Beasts
28 November 2018 — 11 February 2019
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Erarta Museum presents paintings, video art and music by Alexander Starostin, the leader of Theodor Bastard music band

  • Images forced into the recesses of human memory
  • Contemporary Russian folktales
  • Paintings immersed in sound

The exhibition at Erarta Museum presents Alexander Starostin, best known to the experimental music fans under the alias Theodor Bastard, as a universal artist. It features evocative paintings based on the graphic sketches made ten years ago in the restless state of cold-related fever. These drawings somehow fell in sync with the experimental music on Beloe: Hunting for Fierce Beasts album by Alexander Starostin's band Theodor Bastard, becoming an integral part of the record.  

This album was one of the first influential releases for the Russian ethnic electronica.

Theodor Bastard managed to combine contemporary sound with Russian lyrics and Russian folkloric narratives, much to the astonishment of their admirers estranged from the song tradition and accustomed to dark soundscapes. This work of paramount importance for the Russian ethnic music scene also inspired the sound installation which, together with the painted images, creates the atmosphere of a grim fairy tale. 

In his visual art, just like in his music, Theodor Bastard explores the relationship between man and the forces of nature, drawing on the traditional artistic practices which helped our ancestors get to grips with the world. Old mills haunted by minor evil creatures, beasts of prey and bloodshot flowers are the creepy images long forced into the dim recesses of our memory and no longer used in everyday life. More and more often modern parents indignantly slap shut Russian folktale collections, unwilling to read the unthinkably violent stories to their children. However, it is exactly the children with their relative cultural innocence who make the ideal audience for the archaic texts from the times of 'childhood of humanity.' They need no explanations for metaphors or evil actions of some magic swan geese. This is the theme addressed by Cuckoo video installation directed by Theodor Bastard and also featured in this exhibition. The video was shot during a multi-day expedition into the Karelian wilderness. The idea is simple: even our contemporaries, weary of endless consumption and reluctant to part with the comforts of civilization when surrounded by nature, can run into a fairy tale. For that, they simply need to resort to the mythopoetic experience of their own childhood when imagination helped shape reality.

about the artist

Alexander Starostin, aka Theodor Bastard, is a Russian multi-instrumentalist, composer, artist, founder and leader of the eponymous band — one of the oldest and most acclaimed ethnic electronica and world music projects in Russia. Over more than two decades of its existence, the band gained a cult following and received numerous awards, including the Russian World Music Award and the Golden Gargoyle.

Theodor Bastard are well known far beyond their homeland: their albums were released in more than 10 countries, while hundreds of gigs throughout Europe made the band true ambassadors of the Russian music.

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