War! , Alexander Kabin

War!

About this Exhibition

The  art  project  “War!”  presented  at  Erarta  Gallery in  St.  Petersburg  from  May,  12  is  a  result  of  a  long-term work  by  the  artist  from  Severodvinsk  Alexandr  Kabin. Longstanding formation appeared to be the forming factor of the project, which can be seen through such characteristics of its current representation in St. Petersburg as versatility of painting surface, formal searches, plastic deformations and  language  changing  from  of  paintings,  created  in different periods of Kabin’s work.

Reference  to  the  war  subject  is  a  rare  and  courageous step for a Russian young contemporary artist working in the  field  of  actual  problematics  of  modern  painting  and overall art. Avoidance of this matter is mainly caused by the  fear  of  being  blamed  in  too  blazing  patriotism  and reluctance  to  be  put  in  the  conteхt  of  official  art  and even  propaganda.  Indeed  the  war  theme  was  and  still remains  the  most  evident  instrument  of  direct  social manipulation. Nevertheless, the artist successfully avoids using stereotypes and pretentious reputable statements.

The  main  theme  which  appears  evidently  in  the series  is  personal  and  collective  memory,  existence and  transformation  of  images  and  traumas  of  social consciousness from one generation to another. The artist strongly perceives himself as a participant and witness of historical  moment  when  epochs  change:  time  when  one can  directly  see  the  traces  and  hear  personal  statements about  the  horrible  human  disaster  and  the  time  when these  evidences  will  forever  be  buried  in  the  archives. Thus  the  artist  investigates  the  problem  of  memory conservation,  war  images  and  stories  transformation  in people’s  mind  and  their  self-sufficient  existence.  This can  be  exemplified  by  the  latest  work  from  the  series: small fragments of canvas shown against the white square background directly refer to the phenomenon of frame - fragment  of  war  newsreel  which  is  very  fragile,  wore  out,  with  the  image of  war  efforts  disappearing  through  times,  the  only  document  that  will  be available to the future generations.

The  most  sustainable,  most  vivid  image  of  war  for  the  artist  can  be  found only in private fact, personal experience saved and passed through the private history  of  the  family.  Therefore  in  the  present  series  from  the  beginning till  the  end  one  can  increasingly  frequently  notice  the  fragments  of  photos seem  to  be  borrowed  from family  archive  or  found  objects  and  materials (rough planks, part of the rusty metallic net) aimed to prove on tactile level the  reality  of  horrible  war  events.  According  to  the  artist himself  the  most complicated  work  for  him  was  the  painting  “War!  I  was  killed  near  Rzev” which is based on the real story of the artist’s family.

The expressive language of “War!” series develops also within the themes of memory,  war  image  conservation  and  its’ presence.  Thus  painting  surface seems  to  be  corroded  through  time  as on  the  old  films.   The  image  gets fragmented  and  partly destructed  as  if  from  inside  under  the  influence  of the painting  medium  and  then  again  breaks  through  the  painting  surface as  from  beneath  the  cultural  layers.  Therefore comparing  to  the  previous series by Kabin here painting becomes more textured and colorful while the human figure comes to the foreground from the empty landscapes and space structures  to  symbolize  the  private,  personal  experience,  which  reality  is doubtless and can’t be destructed by time.

works of art in the exhibition

Berlin

Berlin

Special train

Special train

Aliens

Aliens

Bombing

Bombing

Metastasis

Metastasis

June

June

1942, December

1942, December

Russian village occupied

Russian village occupied

Attack

Attack

Heroes 3

Heroes 3

Heroes 2

Heroes 2

Heroes 1

Heroes 1

Ash

Ash

No name

No name

Сrusaders. Variant 2

Сrusaders. Variant 2

Crusaders. Variant 1

Crusaders. Variant 1

Dancing 2

Dancing 2

Dancing 1

Dancing 1

War Series. I was killed at Rzev

War Series. I was killed at Rzev

First Day

First Day