Catalogs, texts

Catalog of the Sergey Kuryokhin Contemporary Art Award 2016 "Mall", Kuryokhin Center, St. Petersburg, 2017DSC_0341.jpg

Catalog for the exhibition "Come Back Home", Institute of Russian Realist Art, June, 10 – September, 10, 2017

ISBN 978–5–9909260–1–1

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Catalog for the exhibition "Mall", "Triumph" gallery, November, 12 – December, 6, 2015IMG_1145.jpg

In the late 1950s-early 1960s Yury Pimenov, who had until then created canonical images of the industrial landscape of the 1920s (You give heavy industry! ) and Stalinist glamour (New Moscow ), painted several canvases to inaugurate the birth of a new urban environment. The District of Tomorrow, Marriage on the Streets of Tomorrow, The First Fashion Ladies of the New District  glorify Khrushchev’s new prefabricated residential districts, against the backdrop of a sky blackened by the gib arms of building cranes and the stacks of concrete pipes on which they run sportily on their heels in brightly fluttering dresses, future husband and wife, parading directly on wooden bridges laid down in the dirt. At exactly the same time Dmitry Shostakovich was writing his own operetta Moscow.Cheremushki , which was shortly thereafter adapted in a screen version, glorifying the new housing developments as an opportunity to break away from the musty old world of communal flats to a new life — ascetic, free (the so-called “Khrushchevka” flats ensured privacy), desperately young, modern and even international. In Herbert Rappoport’s musical (born in Vienna and until his emigration to the USSR in 1936 the former assistant of Georg Pabst with whom he had worked in Germany and in Hollywood), they parody West Side Story and dance rock and roll directly on the panel of the house being built suspended on the crane. In the case of Shostakovich, Pimenov and Rappoport, people from the first avant-garde generation, the new housing developments of the thaw era marked a return to modernism, an appeal not to the mythical past or the eternal present as in the Stalinist Empire style, but rather to the future, at the time mentioned in the names of Pimenov’s canvases - Tomorrow , a time that has still not arrived, but will definitely come — so that one can for the time being endure patiently temporary inconveniences, the chaos of the establishment of the new and the dirt, which is presented in Pimenov’s pictures as sign of the organic vitality of the new world being built. The romantic halo that surrounded the new developments in the thaw years had definitively melted away by the onset of the stagnation era of Brezhnev. The typical suburban high-rise buildings became a standard form of alienation — whether it be the surprisingly depressing romantic comedy The Irony of Fate  as the country’s main New Year story, or the desperately existential drama Vacation in September, or the paintings of domestic photo realists, who sought incidentally, through “branded”, “western” picturesque textures, to transform the “Russian distemper” into something akin to “English spleen”. In principle, the high rises of the Khrushchev-Brezhnev eras deserved the fate of the Pruitt-Igoe residential complex in Saint Louis that was so similar to them. The high-rises built in 1956 were transformed from a rational utopia into ghetto housing that was so uninhabitable that they were blown up in 1972. As we know, for American architect and art historian Charles Jencks this was the date of the death of modernism and the birth of post-modernism in architecture. 

In the case of Pavel Otdelnov, who has already studied for several years in his paintings the aesthetics of Moscow’s commuter districts, post-Soviet post-modernism in architecture, if there has been any, is represented not by Luzhkov’s towers, but rather by the shopping centres in suburbs, growing in amongst perennial Brezhnev residential districts and waste lands. Following the appearance of these structures in the typically grey architectural landscape, at least some colours have appeared. The acidic, eye-grabbing colours of the shopping centres turn them into mock buildings, and even giant toys. The bright local colours introduced in the architecture might also have inspired the authors of De Stijl to come up with Montessori educational toys. However, naturally there are no didactic aspirations in the toy nature of 

Moscow’s suburban moles. It is highly likely that the builders, who had decided to do something appealing to visitors, had been overcome by the same babbling and obsequious tone as advertisers and the compilers of menus, who abused diminutives, appealing to our infantile nature.Incidentally, in Pavel Otdelnov’s canvases, the shopping centre are devoid of people — their interiors are reminiscent of neglected space stations of unknown civilisations, while their multicoloured 3D boxes on stale wastelands rendered them more similar to huge sculptures than buildings that you can climb into. In the new cycle they definitively devolve into mirages. There are no longer any buildings — the inappropriately bright colours stand out in the primordial greyness of suburbs as a glitch, a digital malfunction, a suspended “matrix”. At the time of their disappearance, these phantoms looks particularly resplendent — laser shows, the gaudy fairy show of Las Vegas. However, they are so ephemeral that they are not even reflected in the eternal puddles of the suburban wastelands. In the case of Pavel Otdelnov, who has already studied for several years in his paintings the aesthetics of Moscow’s commuter districts, post-Soviet post-modernism in architecture, if there has been any, is represented not by Luzhkov’s towers, but rather by the shopping centres in suburbs, growing in amongst perennial Brezhnev residential districts and waste lands. Following the appearance of these structures in the typically grey architectural landscape, at least some colours have appeared. The acidic, eye-grabbing colours of the shopping centres turn them into mock buildings, and even giant toys. The bright local colours introduced in the architecture might also have inspired the authors of De Stijl to come up with Montessori educational toys. However, naturally there are no didactic aspirations in the toy nature of Moscow’s suburban moles. It is highly likely that the builders, who had decided to do something appealing to visitors, had been overcome by the same babbling and obsequious tone as advertisers and the compilers of menus, who abused diminutives, appealing to our infantile nature.

Incidentally, in Pavel Otdelnov’s canvases, the shopping centre are devoid of people — their interiors are reminiscent of neglected space stations of unknown civilisations, while their multicoloured 3D boxes on stale wastelands rendered them more similar to huge sculptures than buildings that you can climb into. In the new cycle they definitively devolve into mirages. There are no longer any buildings — the inappropriately bright colours stand out in the primordial greyness of suburbs as a glitch, a digital malfunction, a suspended “matrix”. At the time of their disappearance, these phantoms looks particularly resplendent — laser shows, the gaudy fairy show of Las Vegas. However, they are so ephemeral that they are not even reflected in the eternal puddles of the suburban wastelands.

Pavel Otdelnov’s new project would appear extremely topical today when the joys of the consumer society and hopes for some cultivation of the local social and living space are bursting like soap bubbles. Carefree post-modernism did not come to pass. The motley cubes of the toy buildings remain like a computer model imposed on the colourless landscape of the commuter districts, which have not stirred from their sleep, on waste lands built by the fortresses of the residential districts, which have not turned into cities, while the slush waits in vain for the tomorrow that will transform it into a street. Furthermore, it transpires that new technologies or state-of-the-art trends do not provide the most appropriate language to describe this reality: rather, it is the figurative art that Pavel Otdelnov studied at V. Surikov Moscow State Academy Art Institute, at the studio of one of the founding fathers of Pavel Nikonov’s “austere style”.

Irina Kulik

   

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Catalog for the exhibition "Metageography. Space – Image – Action", The State Tretyakov gallery, Moscow g

 

Catalog for the exhibition of public-art projects "Expanding Space", V–A–C foundation,  2015IMG_1153.jpg

 

Mall. Glitch

Bright shopping mails, standing out against the background of the surrounding bedroom districts and industrial estates, have dramatically changed the city's face. Today they are not only a part of consumer culture, but a symbol of the first decade of the 2000s. 
Built from short-term construction materials from the shambles of the Soviet past, countless shopping mails today metaphorically resemble a computer glitch brought about by the mismatch between post-Soviet social realities and the market relations of a nascent capitalism. 
Otdelnov looks into the shopping mail as an architectural phenomenon, which is linked to the aesthetics of2000-s. The characteristics of this architecture are its temporality, ephemerality and the juxtaposition to the surrounding landscape. 

The Mall. Glitch project is a kind of a monument to the "colourful hangars" epoch, the period of stability. Today in many cities you can already find abandoned or unfinished trade centers. 
The author's intention is to construct an object consisting of several composite panels right next to the carriageway of the Moscow ring road at the 81 kilometer mark. As the viewer's perspective changes (for example, by looking at the installation from inside a passing car), a parallax effect starts manifesting itself: the parts of the construction will seem to be moving, creating the impression that the construction 
is mobile and non-fixed. 

The exhibition presents a 3D visualization of the object. 

   

 

Catalog for the exhibition "No Time", Smirnov & Sorokin foundation, Winzavod, 2015IMG_1156.jpgIMG_1157-копия.jpg

 

Catalog for the exhibition "Russia. Realism. ХХI century", The State Russian Museum, 2015–2016IMG_1159.jpgIMG_1142.jpg

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Catalog for the exhibition "Desolation of Landscape", Moscow – Saint-Petersburg – Usol'e, "Dialogue of Arts" magasine, 2014 – 2015IMG_7630.jpgIMG_7629.jpgIMG_7628.jpg 

Catalog for the exhibition "Inner Degunino", MMOMA, with the support of "Triumph" gallery, 2014IMG_7588.jpg

Pavel Otdelnov’s Inner Degunino is a project, prepared specially for the youth program of Moscow Museum of Modern Art.Exhibitions of the program have been hosted by the MMOMA since 2006. Over the years, works by many interesting artists, using different techniques, have been exhibited. We presented artists, engaged in photography, video, object and installation art, painting and media performance. In recent years, there has been a tendency of return of painting in the context of the latest trends of contemporary art. More and more interesting young artists turn to painting as a medium, which has a great visual potential and a rich cultural background. The Internal Degunino project is a good example of the artist’s use of the language of painting to solve his artistic and conceptual tasks. The project arouses a painful feeling of vast empty spaces of the city suburbs. As if someone creates a 1:1 scale-model of the city, collecting some elements of standard parts, but it is not still ready. The flat landscape covered with the grey urban snow together with residential areas creates the illusion of abandonment of alien objects, which serve as a shelter for the night and happiness of tens of thousands of people.

As if seen blurred vision, elements of the urban landscape transform into symbols of themselves, emerging from obscurity for a moment and disappearing again as soon as the viewer changes his gaze direction. Fixing of the ordinary was characteristic of the culture of the 2nd half of the 20th century. In the 1950s, praising objects, produced by mass culture, the Pop art introduced the profane in the language of art. In the late 1960s, the Hyperrealism captured the ordinary in great detail, and Gerhard Richter painted his “blurry photos”. The ordinary, familiar, banal became a legitimate part of the contemporary visual culture. The characters of Pavel Otdelnov’s paintings are subway passengers or P44 series panel buildings, or bright shopping centers. The artist seems to recreate the period of stagnation in the life of an urban inhabitant, the moment of his travels over the conventional West Degunino district, when surrounding real objects are scenery for teleportation to a tiny cell of the life with a sofa, dinner and a TV rather than a part of the life. Every day millions of people pass this way, followed by power lines, and erase it from their life, treating it as a period of meaningless solitude.

Daria Kamyshnikova

   

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Catalog for the exhibition of the main project "A Time for Dreams", the 4th International Biennale of Young Art, 2014IMG_7585.jpgIMG_7582-копия.jpgIMG_7586.jpg

 

Catalog for the exhibition "Neon Landscape", ArtRu Agency, 2012IMG_7597.jpg

 Comfort Zone

Paintings by Pavel Otdelnov

 

Neon in the history of material culture is connected to the notions of economy and movement. It is widely believed that the first neon sign in America was installed in California in 1922 and served as a sign for a car dealer. Artificial light based on inert gases from the atmosphere accompanies us on our route from the start – the railway station, the airport – to the finish, that is to say, another airport and station. Unlike natural light or a candle's dancing flame, this kind of light is constant and invariable. It is either on or something isn't right. Neon is also a stop on our way: the brighter the sign, the bigger the chance to halt the traveler's movement, because illumination equals security. A blinking daylight in a subway passage is cinematic cliché that serves as a marker of poor social conditions of the scene or gives the unseen threat seconds of darkness to form and strike. Bright city lights can be perceived as a sign of cheapness. Edward Hopper's “Nighthawks” (1942) hide their faces and shrink like moths on a light bulb. Neon's stable brightness forms the space of forced equality in public spaces of different functions, malls to prisons. Neon organizes people into masses. It turns personal dramas into embarassing signs of weakness. Intimacy is possible under the artificial light, but it has to be subdued by a dispersal surface like glass or cloth. Hopper's protagonists often look constrained, inert like gas, unable to enter each other's space.

 People on Pavel Otdelnov's paintings also can not be considered an active bunch, but they are not the center of attention. Otdelnov treats artifical light as a pattern that brings order and rationality to the real world, “giving us back the Euclidian space”, as he says. Empty spaces, where light does not tread, are places where the electric signal's lost. The painting turns into an object, a flat piece of canvas conversing with other things around. Here it also vibrates and projects natural light of paint outside. 

These areas of painting have depth that cannot be calibrated. Archaic remembrances of earth and subconsciousness abound, the painting becomes truly hand-made, independent from artificial light. Borders between light and a living, breathing plane are movable. In some paintings the light is slowly stripped of its architectural role, in others it stops abruptly. Men and women on stations and in trains are staffage in an ideal box that is painted by light. Sometimes humans disperse, as in “Local train”, reminding one of taking long exposure photos where moving objects leave but a trace of light. In Charles Demuth's “I saw the figure five in gold” (1928) a sparkling sign leaps out of futuristic space divided in dynamic blocks. It has none of the awkwardness that is often a feature of Hopper's interiors. Demuth shows no people, but his painting is a metaphorical portrait of William Carlos Williams and is based on a line from Williams' poem. A human being is constructed from neon lights and moving numbers. Personality in a psychological sense is no longer there, giving in to the gaze that is free to construct urban space according to individual logic. This is a gesture of freedom that is not sympathetic to discussions of dehumanization of the industrial world. Otdelnov in his turn treats artificial light with sympathy, though the artist is heavily inspired by Gaspar Noe's movies like “Irreversible” and “Enter the void”. In Noe's tales the light plays a constantly sinister role in the unfolding of events. In Otdelnov's paintings even Scandinavian railway stations do not look creepy. His unseen protagonist is happy to see the light because he feels the comfortable comprehensibility of a world patterned by nets of lamps. Physical presence fades into background with all inconveniences it entails. Constant movement swallows self-reflection and protects both the artist and the viewer from loneliness.   

Valentin Diaconov

   

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Catalog for the exhibition "Combine.Retrospective", Heritage gallery, 2012IMG_7609.jpgIMG_7613-копия.jpgIMG_7619.jpg 

Kovcheg gallery. "Postwar and Contemporary Art". 2010IMG_7961.JPGIMG_7960.JPG

 

Catalog for the exhibition "Overcoming Space", Kuznetsky most, 11, 2012IMG_7963.JPGIMG_7608.JPG

 

Catalog for the exhibition "On the contrary", CCA Vinzavod, 2010IMG_7620.JPGIMG_7621.JPG

 

The book of Konstantin Zatsepin "The space of the sight. Art of 2000–2010. Articles"–Samara, ООО Книжное издательство, 2016, 120p.

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