A special project of the State Museum of Fine Arts named after A.S. Pushkin
Parts of David, author’s text
May 18, 2020 I received two boxes with belongings from the courier:
David’s right eye
David’s left eye
Lips of David
David’s left ear
David’s right ear
Hand with stone
The Old Testament shepherd David won a victory in the confrontation with the giant Goliath and saved the people of Israel from the impending defeat. The golden age of the Renaissance and the great master turned the shepherd himself into a giant. The inhabitants of Florence perceived the five-meter statue of Michelangelo Buonarroti as a symbol of freedom and democracy. Michelangelo’s sculpture surpassed the best examples of art of the era of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome in skill and daring.
In the workshop I open the wrapping tape from the plaster parts of the sculpture. “Shepherd David” was dismantled long ago by the methodologists of art schools. Plaster eyes, ears, nose, lips. In my mind, David remains whole. I see his menacing gaze, the whole harmonious figure standing in the Italian courtyard of the Pushkin Museum …
Contrary to high alert rules, I come to the workshop during April and May. My quarantine began on March 18, 2020. Since arriving from London. There I made an arrangement with Oxford University about an exhibition. Just today it was supposed to open. After waiting two weeks and making sure that I did not bring in an imported coronavirus, I slowly begin to come to the workshop and work. At some point, a roll of aluminum foil comes across my arm, and I wrap the Laocoon training plaster head, working on the details and repeating all the subtleties and ornateness of curly hair and a suffering face. In the workshop were found busts of Aphrodite, a Roman citizen, Venus. I also calmly seal them in foil. These studies save me from an obsessive and, for sure, imposed feeling of external danger, with which I do not want to have anything to do. Aluminum foil has long been a material for memes. Everyone knows that to protect yourself from the telepathic effects of aliens, you must wear a foil cap, the most ambitious idea of protection using foil is revealed in the TV series Better Call Saul, where Chuck McGill, Sol’s brother, suffers from a nervous breakdown and protects his home and his private life using this material. One way or another, I want to protect sculptures from external influences, from threats. Perhaps this reaction is close to that of Dingo dogs, when they are faced with an unfamiliar and insoluble, from their point of view, situation, they simply begin to dig the ground. I wrap and wrap plaster sculptures in foil and feel relieved. When not a single unwrapped sculpture remains, I collect them in a car and take them to the Pushcha near Moscow. The forest exhibition is located among trunks, dead wood, roots and grasses, in secret places. She will be in the forest until I feel that it is time to return the sculptures back to the workshop.
22nd of May. I continue my interventions. I am taking “David’s parts” to a forest near Moscow, preparing a new exhibition there. It’s not completely clear to me what is happening and why I am doing it. I organize indoor exhibitions, not for the public, but for the forest and myself. I want these “powers” to absorb the power of nature and acquire a new meaning. It’s like in a Russian fairy tale, a mortally wounded hero is first sprinkled with dead water so that his parts grow together, and then alive so that he comes to life. Something deep and important, sacred and mysterious is happening now. Witnesses are not needed here, perhaps evidence. Evidence in the form of digital memory. The camera is a part of the body. I am attracted by the theme of freedom. I do not want to participate in social madness, I go into the thicket and wander in search of a better place for “part” of David. The process is exciting, and I am already far from yesterday, today and tomorrow. I am deep within myself. My mission is to put the “David parts” together.