Typography Center for Contemporary Art presents first big solo show of Krasnodar artist and photographer Alina Desyatnichenko A Town of Gold.
First big solo show of an artist and photographer Alina Desyatnichenko. Taking as a project title the name of popular Boris Grebenshchikov’s song featured in some films of the era of «perestroika» (restructuring) including famous «Assa», Alina creates a total installation dedicated to a dream, expectation of a miracle, metropolis and periphery, fragility of collective history and reality itself, power of imagery. And — perhaps first and foremost — this project is devoted to the photographic art.
Alina Desyatnichenko is an artist and documentary photographer whose reports are published at leading Russian mass media — Meduza.io, Takie Dela, Afisha Daily, Russian Reporter Magazine, RBK, Yuga.ru, Novaya Gazeta, etc. Alina’s solo shows were held at Zarya Center of Contemporary Art in Vladivostok and Metenkov’s House Museum of Photography in Yekaterinburg. Alina is one of the winners of Supercover Festival (2019). In her artist projects Alina use photography and video to explore closed communities. city scapes and dreams.
The installation is focused on a fully set table and stories about the products coming from the speakers. In the opposite, there is a video screen with people changing and wishing each other a Happy New Year in front of the Kremlin Wall. TV is still a main form of decentralization and data distribution from the center to regions. There are some products’ portraits hanging over an empty counter: Moskovskaya sausage, vodka Stolichnaya, Kremlin saveloy, Rublevsky kholodets (jellied meat dish) and other products bought at chain stores of Krasnodar and often made far from Moscow and its region. These common foodstuffs refer to the idea of progressivity of the center and periphery’s backwardness. On the another wall there is a basically promotional collage depicting meals from the «Book of Tasty and Healthy Food» which looked so good on paper but were not always available in Soviet stores. The installation finishes with a video in which guests of the vernissage become heroes of either a dinner party or an art installation.
The circle closes.
This installation is based on gaps and contradictions. Who are the exhibition attendees in fact — members of a dinner party or spectators at a contemporary art center? What does this empty 20-meter counter means in the context of the project? What did it mean in the days of long queues and shortage of food supplies in USSR? Did Moskovskaya sausage taste good ever or just seemed delicious as it was so hard to get? Or it seemed tasty due to our memories of sausage sandwiches as a reward received after waiting for hours in long queues? Did all these «sausage trains» really exist? Or are these just some false memories of our complicated collective history which manifest themselves in such weird form? What do these photos of groceries refer us to? With its clearly structured frontal composition on a white background, they also resemble of the days of command economy and books about tasty and healthy food, portraits by Thomas Ruff and the main symbol of the era of consumption — Andy Warhol Campbell’s soup canvas.
This installation represents an elusive and hyperreal space, in the sense that there are no concrete images presented here and every picture conceals a variety of meanings. Alina has succeeded in creating this space using photos and collages. Is this a real or staged photo or is it even made in Photoshop? In the context of documentary photography this question has no more sense — as for the context of the reality itself.
The simplest guideline in this elusive world of the absence of clear definitions becomes a dream of a better, happier and more comfortable life. A dream, embodied in products for someone, and, to some, in their place of residence; a dream that was never meant to become true, which has always been a vague object of desire hidden behind continuously successive simulacrum and images.