12.02.2021 – 14.03.2021
Triumph Gallery, Moscow
Triumph Gallery presents Russian Nowhere, an exhibition by Pavel Otdelnov featuring a new series of paintings, installations, photography, and video. The artist has participated in numerous international exhibitions and biennales, received awards in contemporary art. His works are held in museum, corporate and private collections both in Russia and internationally. Pavel Otdelnov originally garnered recognition as an industrial landscape painter and a researcher of post-Soviet space.
His works depict the typical environment of the outskirts in Russian cities, where the artist explores their monotony and exceptional similarity of landscapes. Otdelnov is also interested in aestheticization of mundane industrial views and post-Soviet landscapes, which has been gaining in popularity on social media where it operates as an identity attribute for the generation born in the 1990s.
Pavel Otdelnov’s project Russian Nowhere is a continued exploration of the periphery in major cities and smaller towns, building on his earlier work in Inner Degunino (2013) and Mall (2015). The artist regards these areas as non‑place, or spaces that have nothing happening in them but also restrict deliberate access to themselves. In Pavel’s work they are represented by warehouses, power transmission lines and pipelines, garages and fences. Such mundane places appear both familiar and unfamiliar—an effect produced by their standardized and undifferentiated look and feel.
The new series by Otdelnov looks at these spaces through the lens of machine vision. Deserted urban landscapes in the paintings were found by the artist as he was browsing streetview panoramas in online maps, an online plein air of sorts. These pictures are usually taken and compiled by a disinterested and distanced artificial intelligence that relays the images “as is” without any author’s interpretation.
There are dedicated social media communities discussing such urban landscapes, trying to romanticize them and establish an ironic distance from them. Online comments from such posts are taken by the artist and transplanted into his paintings, photography, and light installations, reminiscent of a corner store sign. This bestows non-places with their own agency by infusing them with voices of the many people who live there or visit.