A few words about the exhibition
When I assembled this exhibition, I intentionally didn’t inquire about the curators’ position, to avoid taking part in a high jump competition. As the Cloud Commission usually avoided manifestos and simply prepared a convenient observation spot on high ground, I knew that I would end up arguing with the curators about a place in the sun, skilfully hidden by clouds. So I was happy to agree to the option proposed by the architects — an imitation of museum storage. The paintings are not exhibited in any special way, but simply are there. And although the connections created by the author within a series lose their original clarity, as the paintings from one series are placed alongside works from other series, a new serial is created and new garlands of meanings intertwine.
I first encountered the museum system for storing paintings when the art museum in the Dutch city of Enschede kindly invited me to their storage facilities, to show me how my work felt there. I had to sign a form giving my approval. When the museum employees moved the stacks and showed me the device for maintaining the temperature and air humidity, the level of my self-esteem rose by a few degrees. And when I saw the painting itself, I was almost moved to tears. It was hanging upside down, and the inverted figure depicted in the painting looked like a sleeping bat.
The painting was asleep. Let them sleep. Sometimes they shouldn’t be woken up.
When I prepared this exhibition, I kept the following situation in my head. Imagine that a singer—a baritone, say—is waiting for guests to arrive. He puts a crisp white tablecloth on the table. He arranges a line of drinks and dishes. From time to time, he looks in the mirror, anxiously adjusts his bowtie and sings: “Mi-miiii-mii”. For this is not just going to be a dinner party, there will also be a small concert. He plans to perform a few numbers from his repertoire. The hour comes for the guests to arrive, but for some reason no one turns up. One hour passes, then another. The singer sits down at the table, pours himself a drink, and then takes another drink and starts to spoil the pristine arrangement of the dishes. He gradually empties all the bottles, and passes out on the table. At dawn, he is woken up by the doorbell ringing. Looking seedy, feeling thirsty and hungover, he opens the door. The guests are standing there. They cheerfully applaud and asks him to perform his new songs. The singer coughs, opens his mouth and emits a husky groan. Then he suddenly comes to his senses, dashes off and soon comes back to his guests with a sheaf of paper. It contains the words and music of his new songs.
In the exhibition, the primary forms of art—cone, cylinder and sphere—which are both the finale and the dead-end of the viewer’s trajectory, are viewed from the beginning of this trajectory through the gaping voids in a gallery wall. In a situation of meanings that are kept for future use and preserved in time, the artist’s collection lives in torturously repeating light cycles, frozen in expectation. In expectation of the moment when the notes will be heard…
I dedicate this exhibition to my artist friends who are no longer with us: Leonid Voitsekhov, Alexander Gnilitsky, Oleg Golosy, Oleg Petrenko (Perets), Alexander Roitburd, Vladimir Fyodorov and others.