Hometown

Hometown an exhibition by artist Pavel Otdelnov is a show that seems tailor-made for this abandoned station waiting room haunted by exoduses. Otdelnov, who has made London his home since 2022, after protesting against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, moved here with his family on a Global Talent Visa.  

His first London exhibition Acting Out in Pushkin House looked at the wider signs hidden in Russia’s history that led to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe but in the current exhibition, his focus is narrower. In Hometown, Otdelnov casts an exile’s jaded eye on his birthplace and in meticulously observed canvases, he uncovers the lives of those who have worked and of those who remain working in Dzerzhinsk, a Soviet city built on sand, once a chemical capital, now one of Russia’s largest munitions hubs.

His paintings suspended under the forgotten, vaulted roof of the departures hall are often peopled by ghosts: his grandmother’s head held high in what was once her plexiglass workshop, his family outside their first garage, the gang members who roamed the streets then and are now often in positions of power on these same streets.  

He has split the exhibition into stories. Gangs features the notorious youth gangs that pervaded Dzerzhinsk, in Otdelnov’s childhood. These are memorialised on canvases featuring newspaper offset print looking like nefarious school portraits and on concrete slabs suspended on metal grids, which stare defiantly at the viewer.  

The family series, which is one of the most colourful, shows the image of the artist as a child in his militaristic-looking school uniform and a spectral portrait of his family gathered proudly outside a line of brightly painted garage doors. Painting these was one of the few ways that Soviet citizens could show their individuality. 

The Honest Workers series, shows the workers of the once derelict, now thriving munitions factories hard at work in images that the artist has culled from Russian TV and social media and captioned with real-life posts, like ‘once started we must continue’.  

He also depicts the toxic legacy which has poisoned the environment, and images that seem fantastic, like the blue dog in Blue Landscape are in actuality, a reality. Stray dogs in Dzerzhinsk, feeding on sites contaminated by chemical pollution are frequently dis-coloured blue. 

From the mid-2010s Otdelnov’s work has explored what he calls the ‘ruins of Soviet mythology’ and the environmental and urban realities of the post-Soviet state, in series like Promzona (Industrial Area), Russian Nowhere, and Acting Out and in this spectacular new show he lays bare the political, environmental and personal history of his former hometown.  

 


 

June 7 — 14,
the Old Waiting Room, Peckham Rye station, Station Way, SE15 4RX (View on map)

Opening: Friday, June 7 (5 pm — 9 pm)

Saturday and Sunday 12 — 8 pm,
Monday to Wednesday 5 — 8 pm, Thursday 5 — 9 pm, Friday 4 — 9 pm.

Upcoming events:
Sunday, the 9th, 5 pm: Svetlana Stephenson & Pavel Otdelnov: Hometown Artist Talk (Link)

 

 

 

 

 

Abyss. Blockhouses 2023. Oil on canvas 100 x 120 cm

Abyss. Blockhouses 2023. Oil on canvas 100 x 120 cm

 

 

 

Blue Landscape. 2023. Acrylic on canvas 210 x 285 cm

Blue Landscape. 2023. Acrylic on canvas 210 x 285 cm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandmother. 2023. Acrylic on canvas 210 x 285 cm

Grandmother. 2023. Acrylic on canvas 210 x 285 cm

 

 

 

Gang. 2023. Acrylic on canvas 210 x 285 cm

Gang. 2023. Acrylic on canvas 210 x 285 cm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For any further information about this project and press enquiries contact Abbie Amey (e-mail)

Press images link


The Hometown exhibition in the Old Waiting Room Peckham Rye is a part of Making Connections 24 produced by Lost Text Found Space


 

eng|рус