About What Your Memory Remembers

Alexei Eroshenko19/07/22 17:41510

There is a belief that with the development of history we subsequently gain insurance against the possible repetition in the future of those phenomena we perceive as wrong, (horrible) and corrupting. But this belief is false. There is no such insurance. Even those phenomena that we have experienced in the past century, which seem to us to be unequivocally negative and impossible in the future, as it turns out, can have a repetition. The whole modernist project that spawned the collapse of empires, communism, Nazism and so on did not end with the establishment of a new world order and the inoculation of “never again. No "end of history” followed the Arab Spring; the terrorist attacks in New York and other cities; Brexit; the migration crises; the rebirth of nation-states and the increasing tendencies toward disunity. Despite the surge of pandemics and the closing of borders, new revanchist sentiments here and there ignite them and push the consolidating poles to reshape a seemingly settled world.

The longing for big narratives in art today has led to the same disciplinary repetition as the quasi-paradigm of the metamodern, born of a desire to believe again in the human and in its potentiality to overcome this human.

From the general to the particular. In his new series, artist Kirill Basalaev turns to the personal experience of a man who finds himself on the ruins of history, above all personal. What was carefully arranged turned out to be in a situation of stoppage and impossibility of the former. The confused person is desperately trying to make the right decisions, rushing around in possible vectors of both global restructuring and his own life. Migrating briefly to different places he tries to fix materiality of their memory in his own.

The theme, which as a strategy the artist once chose for himself, consistently pursued and developed as the basis of his method, has already become for him the hand of destiny. Everything that had been carefully constructed by some aesthetically selected approach turned out to be the real situation of a local author facing collapse and ruin in a situation he had not chosen.

The theme of memory and time, affecting reality, a red line runs through all of Basalaev’s work. He moves from street experiments to institutional agendas and to gallery easel compromises. He also tries non-spectacular approaches to gain acceptance in the “local sandbox”, which tends toward the conceptual.

But it is always about the same thing. About what slipping reality leaves behind: cracks, fractures, scars…

Recent experiences of what a couple of decades of calm and, in a sense, pastoral state allowed to enjoy a slow fade, was replaced by a sharp pace of destruction of the old way of life, leaving the human artist alone in front of this state. Wanting to grasp and fix this moment, he resorts to a method that is not simulative, where the process is technically reproduced, he switches to the direct fixation of it through the image of the collapsing space.

The author no longer flirts with the variability of how a surface can be transformed subject to influence of time and ability to keep its imprint, he only documents it, as well as his memory of it.


Елена Попова
Alice Vortman

Building solidarity beyond borders. Everybody can contribute is a community-run multilingual media platform and translocal archive.
Since 2014, researchers, artists, collectives, and cultural institutions have been publishing their work here