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My Choice Ц Landscape with Lenin's Tomb
Ten years ago, in collaboration with Alec Melamid and a number of public-research polling firms, but, most importantly, in cooperation with the thousands of people we polled, we made a discovery. Lenin's dream did come true, it finally became clear what kind of art the masses need!
It turned out that in different countries the majority of the population, regardless of the level of education or wealth, prefers a blue landscape. Thus, there are more similarities than differences between the art preferences of different peoples. I found the landscape of Italy's Most Wanted with its absence of human beings and the combination of imaginary and realistic looking objects to be the closest to my liking. The Chinese one attracted me with its large format and the Russian one with its familiar aspirations for spirituality.
In my childhood, I liked to paint landscapes very much. The People's Choice resurrected this old love. At some point I remembered the caption on the temple of Apollo in Delphi and, having closed my eyes, I asked myself: what kind of landscape would I prefer myself? What would be My Choice? Thus, in collaboration with the god of the arts, the idea of "self-polling" was born.
By asking myself questions I had once asked other people, I saw many shortcomings in the old questionnaire. Some important questions had to be altered (see the addendum).
The most recent version of "My Choice" is a painting installation. A pentaptych with Lenin's Tomb facing a mandala with a mirror.
I understand that at a different time my choice would have been different. The "self-polling" and work on the landscape were conducted simultaneously with my other project Ц The Three-Day Weekend, and they influenced each other. In these projects I combine Sots-Art and "Dukhovka" Ц the main trends in the non-conformist art of my youth.
As I have already said before, during the process of self-polling I recognized the shortcomings of a number of questions that I had asked other people before. The old questionnaire had to be amended. I will enumerate the most important amendments.
1. From the very beginning I understood that I had no answer to the question about favorite artists. When I replaced it with a question about favorite paintings, I immediately imagined those I had loved since childhood: Above Eternal Peace by Levitan, The Jewish Cemetery by Ruisdael and Abbey in an Oak Forrest by Friedrich. While different in style, these cemetery landscapes are connected in my mind to the poetry of Ecclesiastes and Lenin's Tomb. Thus, I saw the tomb as an important part of my landscape.
2. There was no single answer to the question "What is your favorite color" either. I prefer a combination of several colors.
3. The questionnaire did not ask about the preference of the horizontal, vertical, square, round or oval shapes of a painting. It did not mention diptychs, triptychs, pentaptychs and other similar installations.
My Choice was a large horizontal landscape composed of five vertical canvases that were turned facing a round mirror in the center of a mandala.
4. Unfortunately, People's Choice did not discuss mandalas and meditation; visual symbols and metaphors; symmetry and asymmetry.
Thanks to the meditation of "self-polling" my love for images of celestial geometry came into focus-the square as an ancient symbol of the Earth, the circle as a symbol of heaven and the triangle as a symbol of spirituality.
I saw that a landscape is a circle over a square Ц the Sky over the Earth, that the trees are columns, that the heavens are a cupola and that nature is a Temple Ц a Temple for everyone.
5. People's Choice also did not contain a question about the combination of words and image. In my landscape I included some text. For example: "The three-day weekend is the shining future for of all mankind!", or "Friday, Saturday, Sunday". These captions connect "My Choice" with my other project "Three-Day Weekend". For me the combination of the sacral days of the basic religions represents not just another ecumenical dialogue, but a childhood dream about a happy family. My parents were atheists Ц like all members of the Party should be. Nevertheless, the reason for their divorce was that Christian traditions were still alive in my father's family, while my mother's family adhered to Judaism. Alas, back then there was only a one-day weekend!
6. In "My Choice" as well as in "Three-Day Weekend" I combine the main trends in the non-conformist painting of my youth: Sots-Art and "Dukhovka." There was no mention of either in the old questionnaire.