The final artwork from our resident Vadim Tziganasj from Moldova has been shown during Alt 30 festival in Cabiny the 4thand 5thof august. For the occasion, Vadim Tziganajs changed an old store into a gallery, reflecting his views on the situation of cultural institutions in Slovakia.
Please read the text by Vadim Tziganajs. This residency is the result of a long term collaboration with Oberlith association in Chisinau.
You can see the photos from exhibition here.
a stealth para-research by Vadim Tziganasj
When I was at the point of coming to Kosice for the residency from Moldova, I was receiving all sort of good-bye wishes. My brother advised me not to lose the chance of getting a well-paid job and to stay there for good. My parents wished me that I find a piece of a good woman, and get married. And my friends were chaffing about my departure as it would be a kind of “running scared” shirking, or escaping the “not the best” situation we have back there.
Clearly I was perceiving my departure to Kosice being much close to the state of a “lost expedition”. Not that those were my personal feelings, but I was getting a sense that it was conditioned to be like that in some uncontrolled way.
It was certainly not a matter of cultural significance the fact that I would go for a three-month period to the city granted as the European Capital of Culture and develop an activity as an artist. This particular point of view is due maybe to just a few actors of the small contemporary art scene of Chisinau, including the local facilitators of eastern partnerships for the Kosice2013 NGO. On a gross social level this expedition had a totally different meaning which is far from my artish ambitions or the objectives listed in the KAIR statements. So different that I understood very soon that I would better have to not even bring into discussion the topics of cultural matters, and even hide them, or even feign that they are meaningless or do not exist at all. The situation is close to the typical spy-movies where the secret agent is going on a mission directed by the agency, while nor even the guy’s wife is aware of his actual goals. She just knew her husband is going on vacation. But for a bit of more taste of comedy, it appeared as of an indestructible Freddy Krueger when actually the people of Kosice was asking me to acknowledge that I am on vacation when I was introduced as an artist in residence. This maybe goes on the account of the fact that local people don’t know that Moldavians are the type of artists which are on a permanent vacation only while being at home.
“Lost Expeditions” by Vladimir Malov – the gem of the late USSR young reading children and a high-ranked piece in my father’s library – is a book about explorers that disappeared during their expeditions of expanding geographical knowledge of their time.
From a conceptual point of view, the book is interesting for it is a notable example of attempting to bring into attention the stories of people which were not different from Columbus or Magellan and highlight the fact that, even they failed in their attempts, their expeditions played an important role in world history.
The stories about lost explorers are part-fictionalised, part-reconstructed based on researches organized years after when, motivated by various concerns, other expeditions were organized to go in search for those lost expeditions. Tracing the routes of the foregoing explorers who got disappeared years before, their successors were collecting objects, ripped pages of expedition diaries, human skeletons of the expeditions’ crew, stories of old local aborigenes who remembered about some ship sailing around their lands long time ago.
Undertaking this “letter of intent” of going in search for the earlier lost initiatives, it may be appropriated to present “Lost Exhibitions” as an attempt to play on the more quiet, not the top-classified, or the out-of-the-way aspects, concerns, or I don’t know – tastes of the highlighted art today.
Other way back, on my own account, “Lost Exhibitions” would be anyway a story about a lost expedition set on an ordinary eastern-western cross-border journey black-outed behind a story about some lost artistic beliefs. Or a real story about a lost artistic belief black-outed behind different stories about lost geographical, spiritual, or other sorts of expeditions. One way or another – it doesn’t matter – the connection is reversional anyway.
We have been notified that those exhibitions do no more exist.
Back in the days we were entering into the arts with strong, enthusiastic beliefs and ideas. But at some certain point, those beliefs got lost and instead of doing the art we wanted to do, we started developing art concepts about what is art. We got too much concerned about things around/or part of art system and thus our art was always just taking the form of a comment on art situation, on what is the role of the artist in society etc.
Those all were not part of our initial ideas. We wanted just to do some painting or whatever. Draw the portraits of the girls we like, print into big amount of copies and paste-up throughout the city. Or write some poetry. We were longing for ordinary stuff. No conceptual implications. We had no intentions of launching ourselves into debates for developing the new state of the contemporary art. We didn’t plan to solve problems or answer questions like what kind of art does the nowadays society need, what is art activism, how can we solve the gipsy problems, or why we, as artists, have to get involved into various processes. Political ones, for example.
We didn’t know what a white cube was. And we were not even interested to find that out.
Our concerns were pure subjective.
We were planning to do our art just because we wanted to. Because we needed it. And we needed to do those paintings stuff. We were the ones who needed those poetry, and those drawings of the girls we liked. The girls we liked needed those drawings.
We thought the whole society needed us to do those things. But then we have been told that the society needs something else. And that we, as artists, have the role to find out what society needs, and give it to it. We thought about it for a moment – and all our exhibitions got lost.
Nevertheless, the more and more we get deep into our activity of pleasing the society with deeply elaborated, conceptualized exhibitions, the more we get the feeling that this society actually wants no more of this. They want those lost exhibitions. That art we wanted to do when we were not giving a damn about what society wants. When we only cared about what we want. When we were young, pure, optimistic, and corrupted by no kind of any esoteric concerns.
“Lost Exhibitions” is the result of an archaeological research set in a far post-apocalyptic future to recover pieces of art from the period around 2012 AD (years preceding the end of the 13thbaktun of the maya calendar).
We, the organizers of the exhibition, are the members of this futuristic research team which excavated the lost gallery in order to reveal for the people of the future (visitors of the ▲festival) what was the art of the early decades of the 21stcentury intending to get to, what were the beliefs, concerns and values of the people of those times.
When we first entered the place we were like the characters from Tarkovski’s STALKER finding lost objects in the Restricted Area. Below is a short description of what we found inside.
Jednota Gallery – concept of the space
In the 1973 film “Game of Death”, Bruce Lee’s character Billy Lo has to breakthrough a warehouse consisted of three floors (Temple of Tiger, Temple of Dragon, and Temple of Unknown) and must confront an opponent practicing a different style of martial arts on each of them. Though the original plot scripted by Lee was presuming a pagoda of five floors, due to the death of the artist, the film finally produced half a decade after re-scripted the plot according to usable footages.
Though the house in Cabiny has two floors only (the roof could be presumed as the third), the lost exhibitions would be constructed based on the same structure of the three floors (three temples with each facing a different challenge for the artist and/or visitor).
The first floor would consist of conceptual works – easy to produce and difficult to grasp. In other words – the type of art I normally avoid to do and usually not much happy to see.
The second floor is for works of moderate production output – things I did before and probably continue doing, things I feel free working upon.
And the third floor is for experimentation, for works I want to do weather I am not too experienced at.
For the Temple of Doubts we will have censored graffiti on the walls, robbed paintings and sculptures from the gallery room and the depot of stocked artworks in an advanced state of deterioration. Following are the Temple of Compromise and the Temple of Vision.
One easy piece
Short comix about a wandering pilgrim confronting reality with the prejudices towards the western dream. The work is connected to the previous story made as an outcome of the residency in Miskolc in 2011. The idea is to produce a similar work for each of the upcoming residencies to be later grouped into a collection of shorts staring the same character facing related types of situations.
Animation short based on a mix of fairy tale plots.
“Space Mission Delta” was an animation film to be produced in 1984 by the Romanian studio Anima Film. The dark electronic band RODION was produced the soundtrack in ’83. Then there were some complications in project development, and another team was invited to work on the film. The soundtrack was subsequently not used. It is said that the film was finally produced and had a few shows in some theatres, afterwards it got lost and is nowhere to be found. However, recently the original intended soundtrack was discovered, and a small open call for reproducing the film was made. Only this time it’s the other way around – making the animation for the soundtrack.
Contemporary artists have repeatedly shown interest in developing projects and researches on similar aspects of our identities mostly detached from our common ex-soviet past, but shown no interest for the similarities of the more antiquary heritage. The Slovak tale of the “Three Golden Hairs” is nothing but the same story of the moldavian “Ionica Fat-Frumos” from the collection of “Tales of mosh Trifan Balta”. Small details are different, but the storyline is the same. A rich lord was travelling on business and stayed for night in the house of a poor man. That night the poor man’s wife gave birth to a boy. Late at night, while he couldn’t get any sleep, the lord heard the fates predicting that the boy would grow up and take the daughter of the rich lord sleeping upstairs as his wife. The lord then tries to drown the boy into the river, but he survives and grows up to be a strong lad (flăcău/chlapec). At this time they meet again and the lord goes angry to find out that the bastard is still alive. He hires him for a job and is sending him to his palace to deliver an important letter. The letter contains an order that the lad who brought it should have his head cut off immediately. But on the way to the palace the lad meets the good fates again and they change the letter with the one that says that the lord wishes this lad to marry his daughter with no delay. Returning to the palace, the lord again wants to send the young lad to meet his death. This time he, as a godfather, is asking him to get the three golden hairs (in the Slovak version) or the keys from the gates of heaven and hell (moldavian version). The lad of course completes his initiation journey with great success and brings the lord the keys of heaven and hell, but also the obligation that is already the lord’s job to go and lock the gates back, for all the devils have come out to earth. The lord sets on the trip and gets lost for good.
It is already a stated idea that we should interpret the heroes’ journeys in the fairy-tales as subliminal messages concerning the need to connect to a spiritual extension on a cosmic level. This way we must read the common Fat-Frumos as the main character of the most basic space mission of humanity. He is with no doubt the real antithesis for the outlander.