YURY VASSILIEV – RUSSIAN RED
Laznia 2, ul. Strajku Dokerow 5, Gdansk
Curator: Evgeny Umansky
Yury Vassiliev – Russian artist, born in Leningrad Oblast in 1950, now lives in Kaliningrad. A series Russian Red, carried out by him since 2000, take the form of video, photography, performance art and installation. It has so far been presented at many Russian and international art reviews.
The title red is for the Russians not only the color of the Soviet revolutionary flag, but also the color of hypnotic excitement. The artist wants to show the Russian soul, that makes its way from the state of formlessness and blandness, to the intended highest energy level. Perversely, it is the color white that will dominate the video installation of Vassiliev. It symbolizes life on Earth and the by-day existence of Russian society, which consists of a sense of disbelief in its own actions, a futility of undertaken efforts and an experience of the cruelty of fate. The colour red, acting as a counterpoint to the white, is to be a reflection of divine light.
The St. Petersburg art historian Ivan Chechot called the video installation In Winter in Last Next Year, that dominates on the exhibition shown at Laznia 2, “a timeless landscape”, claiming that “timelessness, or otherwise – a specific state, destitute of qualities of time and eternity – is a perfect metaphor for life in Russia”. This state of suspension is also present in other presentations, such as a video Waiting Room showing a man at a train station who tries to go somewhere, takes multiple attempts, but in the end stays. Other works presented – Snow White, Fitness, Walking, Rolling Snowballs – link to the myth of Sisyphus, and the absurd, murderous work carried by him.
The exhibition is realized in the framework of the project “Close Stranger: promoting mutual understanding between population of Gdansk, Kaliningrad and Klaipeda through facilitation of exchange in the field of contemporary arts and culture”. The project is co-financed by the European Union – Lithuania-Poland-Russia ENPI Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013.