Arrival. The exhibition by Alexander Artemov and Yury Molodkovets
Erarta Museum presents the “Arrival” exhibition: a series of portraits taken in the first minutes after birth
The photographs by Alexander Artemov and Yury Molodkovets show not the defenseless newborns, but strong and powerful creatures that have come to the Earth to fulfill their tasks and missions of surprisingly wide range. One of the main aesthetic purposes of this project is the exploration and decoding of the characters and destinies of the Heroes in the photos.
“The point of Arrival: Maternity Hospital N 10. How far back can you remember? You can go back to four, three, or two years old, hardly any earlier… A large portion of time is veiled in the haze of obscurity, with just fragmentary details deduced from the stories told by parents, siblings or other relatives… How accurate are they? Do they adequately represent our first impressions, thoughts and desires? There’s nothing, but uncertainty and emptiness. In my childhood, it was H. G. Wells who was responsible for the alien arrival; I read his collected works, borrowing the books, volume by volume, from the Dom Ofitserov library. Of course I was waiting for the aliens and was convinced that, in case they decided to make a stop on the Earth, they would not find a better place than the sea shore of our tiny town. Besides, I was completely open to communication… I was so looking forward to meeting them… After graduation, I worked at “Giprotsement”. One day a man walked into my photo lab, a place, where, in wild 1990s, “Mitki-Gazeta” newspaper and the publishing house “Mitkilibris” were born from the creative effort. The man was wearing a hat and neat little beard, and asked to develop a film, hinting that there he had captured the contact with UFO. I set about the task with enthusiasm and in half an hour I was excitedly holding in my hands the wet film, looking at the negative images of middle-aged men and women who were drinking cognac and chewing sandwiches, occasionally throwing up their hands towards the empty sky over the stunted bushes. The ufologist, who came to collect the film, reacted very calmly to the message that I had not found any aliens. He said: “Yes, that time they didn’t come again”!
In the spring of 2011, Sasha (Alexander) Artemov and I were working on the “Samara. The Vertical” project. It was the portrait series or collection, depicting the residents of Samara on the backdrop of their own lives. However, the key element we were looking for in our heroes was the Cosmos, in its historical, physical, and spiritual understanding. We ended up having a lot of heroes, ranging from the monk Grigori Zhuravlyov from the Utevka village, who was living in the XIX century, Vladimir Vysotsky with his legendary “Woodstock” concert to the graduates of the Cosmonautics School and the workers, engineers, and constructors who create the spaceships and engines. It was that trip that made me understand the way we’re entering the cosmos and the reason why Samara is exactly the place where the vertical lift, connecting us to the Space, is located. My idea for one of the episodes was the collective portrait of several pregnant women in the local maternity hospital. The birth of a child is the most direct way to launch the new spacecraft into Orbit of Life. When we arrived at the hospital, we were greeted by the severe and noble chief physician. After I had explained to her our plan, she nodded and said: “Very well, I will give you our best girls!” So we were walking down the corridor, and the chief physician was looking in the different wards and commanding: “You and you! Get ready for the photo shoot!” The photo turned out great and, in the autumn, two beautiful Mothers with their Infants came to the exhibition opening.
The Year 2017. Maternity Hospital N 10. Every day children are born here. The first people they meet are the photographers Alexander Artemov and Yury Molodkovets. It’s a series of extraordinary meetings. And it’s an extraordinary experience. For us as the photographers, it is especially true. These are the portraits of the mere infants… And yet, they are the Future, the Force and the Solution for our Common Fate… Every day, children are born all over the world, and this is the Arrival… What is this story about? It’s about the Cosmos and God.
The Year 2018. The Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art. We would like to thank the entire personnel of the Maternity Hospital N10, and, in particular, Lada Anatolyevna Ivanova, for their courage and faith in our vision. We are grateful to the parents of our Heroes for their trust. AND WE WISH HAPPINESS TO OUR HEROES. P.S. H.G. Wells was once described as “a man whose word has cast light to many darks corners of life”. I hope, these photographs will also cast light to the dark corners of the Human life”.
Yury Molodkovets, the authors’ introduction