During last two months I have been working on a project in Kolomna, a small town not far from Moscow. Being a resident in art-residency Artkommunalka I collected local funny and sad stories about neighbors and made an one hour long video. Unexpectedly I found that this collection gives a portrait of Russian life during last more than 50 years.
Installation will be open for public June 6th – July 16th. Opening on June 6th at Artkommunalka museum, Kolomna, Russia
Here are some photos from the opening:
trailer from video:
Text of Curators (Mariya Udovychenko & Margarita Bard)
Artist Ekaterina Kravtsova is traveling from one art residency to another, researching local cultural codes and social paradigms. Last two months she spent in Kolomna making a project Communal Anecdotes. The main principle of the work is direct collaboration with local community, which perfectly fits into the concept of museum-art residency Artkommunalka. Erofeev and Others.
Project of Ekaterina Kravtsova is a research of spoken folklore, particularly anecdotes, related to communal life and neighbors. The aspect of common mode of life surrounded by number of myths was the reason of creation visual and notional symbols, which are integral parts of Russian culture. For the project Communal Anecdotes the author gathered real stories of people from Kolomna. Her respondents were people on the streets, the museum team and it’s permanent visitors. All together these anecdotes, funny and scary, absurd and sad, turned into a kind of encyclopedia of Russian life, epic narrative which reveals the whole layers of the Soviet and post-Soviet reality.
Researching those narration made the author think of man’s place in the system of values. Soviet society thought globally, forming huge utopian ideas of future and comparing that one human life loses it’s value. Despite of capitalist paradigm we have now the man’s place is still unsteadily. Society continues to represent behavior models and relations which are shaped for years and rooted deeply into conscious.
As a result there is a variety of neighbors’ fates, whose common existents give birth to curious situations or real human drama. Ekaterina Kravtsova managed to fix the diversity of life twists and turns united by the main character – an individual, in spite of all the difficulties has remained optimism, warmth and attention to people who lives nearby. Characters of the project show mutual support mechanisms. This is the key to survival in the most ambiguous situations
(from the article by Mariya Udovychenko)
However you can ask how spoken folklore connects to our perspective of visual art? When the listener transforms into the viewer, or listening viewer or viewing listener? Exactly here visitors will be surprised by art delicacy. According to author’s idea all these unpublished stories create fabric of visual-verbal image, part of mystical space of video installation. You are invited to ritual philosophical tea party, while objects on the table are moving by invisible mag like during séance. Voices of inhabitants of the city- microcosm transform into spiritual essences, guardian angels of the place. Obviously all those simple human joys and fears, shame and woe, love and madness, kindness and betrayal, humor and hate, force and weakness, all it all the whole human comedy, the whole emotion of human life are is the main and valuable so much to be in the focus of high contemporary art.