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Chechen Women's Team of Parachute Jumping

Alexey Kallima

March 5 - April 22, 2010

Canvas, sanguine, charcoal, 195x870 cm

Canvas, sanguine, charcoal, 195x870 cm
harcoal, sanguine on canvas, 209x303 cm

harcoal, sanguine on canvas, 209x303 cm
Charcoal, sanguine on canvas, 283x200 cm

Charcoal, sanguine on canvas, 283x200 cm
The entire exposition
In large, almost monumental canvases the artist depicts the training sessions of the top parachute jumping team of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, which no longer exists. Creating a photographic effect of authenticity, he embodies in the images that Chechnya, which we, perhaps, can see today in documentary photographs. That Chechnya without the war which lasted off and on for 12 years. That Chechnya which he saw with his own eyes in pre-war Groznyy.

Where there were vast de-privatised spaces, no man's territories, in which fences served the industrial needs of production or just as a symbol of the administrative demarcation of land. Where it was possible to freely enter almost any territories building sites, institutes, stadiums... Where also the social divisions of time allowed for it to be passed more freely... he watched the training sportswomen, who were truly engrossed in soaring in the clouds under cupolas of white silk.

Now Alexey Kallima, having referred back to those images in his memory in which technology, the body and dream are combined with the raptures of flight and soaring, finding the source of pictorial delight in the past delight of the observer, is offering his version of that which was really important and valuable in Socialism. Meaning the spatial, sensory, corporeal settings of Socialist life in the nineteen eighties, exceedingly far from the dream, but which today, particularly in the Caucasus, call forth nostalgic memories of a peaceful and stable life. And the achievements of pre-Stalin culture which followed the dream and, in essence, existed predominately in a state of dream.

The obvious allusions to Deineka, who also loved the heavenly spaces populated by the new man who had mastered technology, indicate such interest in the socialist past. In fact, this comparison is far from perfect. Because the slightly frightening, though progressive technological nature of Deineka's graphics, which anticipated the 3D graphics of contemporary computer games, here acquires the form of flat images mimicking contemporary digital photography. Watching them the eye is not absorbed in the perspective of the three-dimensional image, but remains on the surface of the contemporary media way of looking. Here lies the modesty of the contemporary artist, careful in the creation of visual illusions. This comparison allows one to notice as well that Kallima's paintings are also free of another frightening side of the Art of Socialist Realism, its link with imperial ideology. In the complex development of history and ideas Contemporary Art is acquiring more and more tangible regional connotations. For the remaining elements of the "big style" we are obliged, most likely, to nostalgia which, possibly, could be progressive. In as much as Fine Art, immersed in the space of dream, is still capable of anticipating the visible and sensory forms of future life.

Pavel Mitenko
Translation: Pavel Glebov

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