Exhibition “The Forbidden Place” in the Electrozavod Gallery // 2017

Old Nature

When writing this text, I deliberately did not set myself the task of answering the standard art critic’s question “what did the artist want to say”, rather I was interested in the position of what the artist did not want to say, but said.

Sergei Katran is an artist quite connected with technology, for the majority of his works there is an interest in technology, in physical and scientific processes. Quite unexpectedly sound its political subtexts in the works exhibited in the gallery “Electrozavod”, and I believe the matter here is not only in a state of alarm, danger and discomfort which, due to objective external factors, we are all experiencing recently.

It would seem that the obvious interest to science and technology, complicated, especially for the Russian art scene, the technical production of Katran’s works, all this, should displace interest in nature. And here for me the moment of some replacement is of interest. The name of this text “Old Nature” is not accidental, here there is an ironic reference to my previous strategy “new nature”, where the field of new technologies, the realm of gadget devices actively penetrating into our lives and social network flows turn into a new environment, modern nature, replacing the ever-flooded meadows and cool lakes.

The political context was always present in the intellectual and emotional world of humans . It is difficult to trust our rather abstract ideas about the life of first men, but certainly the structure of power and repression started to be formed from thevery  first uncertain steps of the  mankind. Nature is also familiar with leadership and acts of humiliation and power.

Nature and politics are very much connected. The main feature is some kind of alienity, danger and illogicality. Here the problem lies in the inner logic that is inaccessible to the most people – such is unclear the surrounding to  the person turning up into nightime forest. Similarly, certain actions of political structures can also be unclear.

Given the ongoing processes and changes, it is quite possible to say that it is politics that is “old nature”, and going to a demonstration can rather be compared to a picnic in a shady forest. And these two natures remain unclear to us and in some ways hostile.

Kolya Onishchenko

Exhibition Forbidden Place in Electrozavod Gallery, July 12 – 21, 2017