Closed world

Selected works on paper (drawings, etching), 1978-1985.

My early images frequently depict a "closed world." This world sometimes has a wall enclosing it in the back, and other times it has all three walls. In some drawings, the ceiling serves as an enclosing surface.

These drawings can be interpreted as stage designs for imaginary plays. You are the observer watching this scene. But a play - a narrative, a story with actors, motivations, and actions - never was of interest to me. I was only interested in scenography. As a result, you rarely see human figures in my drawings – only space and objects.

Another interpretation: we live in the world which for us is real, but it is only a performance inside an enclosed theatre stage. This concept comes from my experience of growing up in Russia during the late communist era. I experienced reality around me as a giant surreal performance on the scale of a whole country. Every day, people were performing the roles they were assigned in front of one another on a massive stage.

There is no other outside world. People spend their entire lives in this theater. There is no redemption, escape, some “normal” life, or even some small rehearsal area. You get born into this society and learn its rituals already as a child.

Nevertheless, enclosures like low hanging skies, back walls, and curtains aren't always perfectly fixed. The corners' seams came loose over time. To keep them in place, various pols and nails were added. The simulation is slowly disintegrating, and perhaps a few actors even managed to escape. The toilet paper roll is affixed to the rear wall of a particular area, but we cannot be certain. The typical construction site objects (we lived next to one such site in Moscow) progressively became frozen. They became part the utopia that turned into its opposite. We can see from the signs that this has been ongoing for at least 800 years and that construction will never be completed.