05.12.2014 – 21.12.2014
Triumph Gallery, Moscow
The theory of relativity is often illustrated by the story of two twins, with one heading off on a journey into space, while the other remains on Earth. When the first returns, his wrist watch will have lagged behind the time on Earth, and he himself will be younger than his brother. The imagination sketches in the following picture: a young voyager travels parsec after parsec, whilst the withered old stay-at-home awaits his return in order to be confronted with his own reflection from the past, as if this encounter will in some way counteract the passage of time for him too. CrocodilePOWER's project “Russian Space” is about the Russian present, a slightly drunk guy, staring into the sky in the hope that his mythical brother-cosmonaut, who once left the Planet Earth, will return. And with him, enthusiasm, heroism and a belief in a radiant future will also be returned. The real Russian space is lamentable, the future is gloomy. We can only appeal to the past and create an illusion, as if it's on the verge of being born anew.
The porcelain cosmonauts in their gilded helmets perform mysterious rites. They can't get into space, but they are by no means at a loose end: each is occupied with his work – one is dragging a hose, a second is helping to stop his comrade from breaking free from the cliff, a third repositions a crooked pipe, and together they are attempting to fix or sort something out. Their childish proportions, with their markedly potbellied space-suits, give spectators the impression that all of the action is a touching game. But first impressions are deceptive: soon the eye registers the skeletons of heroes that have passed way, their presence laying bare not only the vanity but also the danger of attempts to restore former greatness out of heaps of debris. These sculptures are sited in a space where scattered earth, dotted with light-emitting diodes, forms a map of the Universe turned inside out. And that, in turn, echoes the group of cosmonauts in the sculpture “ZP2S” – in their striving to take off, they scramble on their hands and knees. Another section of the exhibition comprises painted porcelain tiles where the scenes from the lives of the cosmonauts are matched with elements from their professional language, such as commands and numbers, the meaning of which has been forgotten today. The tiles are placed within frame-explosions of fiber glass and, in combination with them, appear to be alien artifacts, icons appearing miraculously for those who believe in the second coming of Yuri Gagarin.