Acting Out

Acting out is a defensive psychological mechanism that helps to release subconscious tension. It results in behaviours that actualise a frightening scenario by changing one’s role in it from passive victimhood to active initiative.

The works presented in Acting Out are act as a critical commentary on the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe associated with the war in Ukraine. Otdelnov’s paintings are an attempt to find signs hidden throughout history, leading to the war we have today.

The exhibition comprises several conceptual elements, starting with Ressentiment which unites paintings themed around the Soviet Union, its failed attempts at monetary reforms and the destruction of its military potential. Otdelnov builds on the notion of ressentiment, an instinctive psychological reaction associated with a sense of hostility and resentment. As such, the works communicate the rootedness of Russia’s recent propaganda in the feeling of injustice at the outcome of the Cold War, which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of its “superpower” status.

Meanwhile, Generation directly addresses the artist’s contemporaries: a generation of people who have bravely taken to the streets to protest and demand change, be it to seek fairer elections or to speak out against censorship and war. It is now estimated that over 15,000 people have been detained during the protests this year and over 1 million Russians have left the country in 2022. People whose lives have been radically uprooted are juxtaposed here with representatives of the ruling elites whose power originated in the repressive structures of the late Soviet state.

The exhibition concludes with The Beautiful Afar, an idiomatic phrase in Russian culture which references a fictitious place of idyllic carefree life and prosperity. This section acts as a direct commentary on the sentiment of post-Soviet nostalgia and traditions that continue to coexist alongside the realities of contemporary life in, and sometimes outside of, Russia. 

The works presented in Acting Out were created specifically for Pushkin House’s historic premises. 

 

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. The Path. 2022. acrylic on canvas. 110x150

Pavel Otdelnov. The Path. 2022. acrylic on canvas. 110x150

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Bunker. 2022. acrylic on canvas. 67.5x67.5

Pavel Otdelnov. Bunker. 2022. acrylic on canvas. 67.5x67.5

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Nuclear briefcase. 2022. acrylic on canvas. 40x50

Pavel Otdelnov. Nuclear briefcase. 2022. acrylic on canvas. 40x50

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Throne. 2022. mixed media. 210x260

Pavel Otdelnov. Throne. 2022. mixed media. 210x260

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Tsar Bomba. 2022. oil on canvas. 67.5x67.5

Pavel Otdelnov. Tsar Bomba. 2022. oil on canvas. 67.5x67.5

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Missile Silo 1, Missile Silo 2. 2022. oil on canvas. 67.5x67.5

Pavel Otdelnov. Missile Silo 1, Missile Silo 2. 2022. oil on canvas. 67.5x67.5

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Money. 2022. mixed media. 210x260

Pavel Otdelnov. Money. 2022. mixed media. 210x260

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Money. 2022. mixed media. 210x260

Pavel Otdelnov. Money. 2022. mixed media. 210x260

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Grey Suits. 2022. acrylic on canvas. 110x150

Pavel Otdelnov. Grey Suits. 2022. acrylic on canvas. 110x150

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Swan Lake. 2022. acrylic on mdf. 32x40

Pavel Otdelnov. Swan Lake. 2022. acrylic on mdf. 32x40

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Seats. 2022. oil pastel on canvas. 60x80

Pavel Otdelnov. Seats. 2022. oil pastel on canvas. 60x80

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Cargo 200. 2022. mixed media. 120x150

Pavel Otdelnov. Cargo 200. 2022. mixed media. 120x150

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Generation. 2022. mixed media. 210x260

Pavel Otdelnov. Generation. 2022. mixed media. 210x260

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Parade. 2022. mixed media. 210x260

Pavel Otdelnov. Parade. 2022. mixed media. 210x260

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. The Wall. 2022. mixed media. 210x260

Pavel Otdelnov. The Wall. 2022. mixed media. 210x260

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. The Wall. 2022. mixed media. 210x26

Pavel Otdelnov. The Wall. 2022. mixed media. 210x26

 

 

 

Pavel Otdelnov. Time machine. 2022. acrylic on canvas. 40x50

Pavel Otdelnov. Time machine. 2022. acrylic on canvas. 40x50

 

 

 

PDF presentation

13 October 2022 – 28 January 2023
Open Monday–Friday 1–6 pm; Saturday 10 am–5 pm
Free entrance

Pushkin House
5a Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2TA

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