reede, mai 09, 2014

Critics lullabies to Jevgeny Zolotkos exhibition “Lukewarm”

Art critics Šelda Puķīte, Valts Miķelsons and Indrek Grigor have assembled and annotated a selection of songs, intended as kind of conceptual soundtrack to their soon-to-be-published article “The Truth”, which analyses Jevgeny Zolotko's exhibition “Lukewarm” (01.04.-19.04. gallery Noorus, Tartu)

1. James Brown “This Is a Man’s World”

Zolotko's artistic world is very much centered on the masculine conflict. The fallacy of mankind rests on the father-son relationship. The woman is pushed into the background, or if she appears as for example in the 6th part of the installation “Things” on the attic of Tartu Art House, she is the representation of divine purity, not part of the temporary world.

2. 2pac - Changes [That’s Just the Way It Is]

The chorus of 2pac’s Changes repeats “That's just the way it is. / Things are never gonna be the same”. The world is corrupt and there is nothing we can do about it. The people are as indifferent towards each other as they are towards their things, as Zolotko has pointed out. Inspiration for including this track came from Zolotkos’ audio installation “Dialogue on the staircase”. It is an neverending story (the narrative literally goes in a loop), of two dudes meeting on the stair of an apartment building and having a small talk about work - which nowadays means working abroad, and life - which means mainly domestic violence.

3. Lady Gaga “Judas”

“I am just a holy fool…” Here comes the christianity theme… Lady Gaga is is like Nescafe 3in1 instant coffee. She bears all the facets of the desire that gives meaning to the world and determines its value. The unconditional, but blind love of Virgin Mary, the submissive desire of Mary Magdalene and the ambition to own the monopoly of truth and justice that lead to the betrayal of Christ. “Jesus is my virtue and Judas the demon I claim to”

4. Dead Ringers “The Last Supper”

This is a Man’s World Pt. 2. Judas is a strong symbol for the weakness of mankind, both Lady Gaga as well as Dead Ringers video stress it. While in Gaga’s video Judas is a macho led by different passions, in Dead Ringers he is more of a trickster with cash, which is obviously more in line with how Zolotko himself would like his betrayal to be seen. An individual redemption (“I will go and hang myself”) instead of an open trial, by a crowd who thinks they are without sin.

5. USA For Africa - We Are the World

“We can't go on pretending day by day / That someone, somewhere will soon make a change / We all are a part of God's great big family”. Jevgeni uses children as the pure, undamaged souls, to whom we try to pass our knowledge failing to accept that in their sincerity they understand more of the world than we do. 2pac’s Changes featured the lyrics “I’d love to go back to when we played as kids / but things changed, and that’s the way it is”. This inability to reach back to one’s own childhood seems to trigger an interest in one's father, to him you will always be a child. It seems to be no coincidence, that the fifth part “Ecce Homo” of the installation “Things” in Tartu Art House attic depicted a son carrying his father back from the realm of the dead, formally resembling Pieta where Christ's body is lying on Virgin Mary’s knees. It is a depiction of total hopelessness – the sincere and pure child in us is dead. But as we know from the story, Christ was revived! The whole theme of “Lukewarm” actually starts from the question whether we can wash the sin from our hands, and be revived like the fish in a children's science fiction TV show in “Lukewarm. Prologue”.

6. Sabrina “Boys, Boys, Boys”

The visual impact of Zolotko’s exhibition without any question relies on the aesthetic language introduced to the art scene by Joseph Beuys. So again it’s all about boys boys beuys.

7. Snap “The Power”

Zolotko may claim, that all of us, including himself, who is incapable of articulating what he wants to express, are corrupt. But his attitude towards the viewer, who, to understand or judge his work, must, in his opinion, be the one without sin, proves that, despite everything, Zolotko [thinks that he] has got the power.

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