solo exhibition at Vadim Sidur Museum
The difficult and turbulent course of life is associated with the recurrent gaining and losing freedom, the interchanging experience of tranquility and pain. Moments of loss of freedom and feelings of pain constitute a response to violence. Violence that is often invisible, hidden behind closed doors, inside the apartments in residential neighborhoods. Harassment. Not a war where the enemy is not identified, as it is at the front, but a cryptic war between the living, it can be sensed clearly even through the walls, behind every tile, door, and window there is pain.
The space is empty. Faintly lit. There is a row of mirrors to the right. To the left there is a wide window equipped with an electric mechanism for raising and lowering the blinds. They go up and down. The system gets activated, the roller blinds are lifted again, moving up, lighting up the room, pushing the boundaries, suddenly changing the space, opening it up. The mirrors reinforce this feeling and expose a line written in reverse
The world without people is of no interest to me / em ot tseretni on fo si elpoep tuohtiw dlrow ehT
This part of the installation informs me that the enclosed space conceals something hidden from the external view. The mirrors plunge my reflection into a phantasmagoric haze, and the opening blinds complete an act of violence.
On two balconies, creatures with plasma lcd-bellies clung tightly to the whiteness of the railings. Bend over the railing in their embrace and look down to see how the coercion machine works. This is what a gravitational well of pain looks like, dragging you into the process of humiliation. This is what a dialogue between a terrorist and a victim looks like, where any response gives rise to a new outbreak of insistent, itchy hatred. Here any object of an offline or online conversation becomes a weapon that inflicts trauma.
Human violence is a perverse biological and military principle, a World War II doctrine: action is reaction to action. When the refrain of irritation — response ceases to be coherent, when the phantom constant response is sustained, then violence breaks out. The quivering of inhabited apartments is precisely the quivering of the continuous response, when the abuser creates a distortion, but still believes that symmetry is intact.
The gaze is cut off by automatic roller blinds, ceases and resumes its uninterrupted response. If one tries to stop oneself from engaging in the theurgic action, to perform the two-part ritual of aversion to excessive compulsion, the response is interrupted in due time.
Entering the Museum space, Mikhail Maksimov initiates a dialogue with the heritage of Vadim Sidur, whose artistic reflection of the 1960s addressed the issues of war experience, violence and human tragedy. These problems still unresolved today have fallen under the notice of Maksimov in this art project.
Leaving the exhibition space virtually unchanged, the artist plunges the visitor into a borderline psychic state. In his work «em ot tseretni on fo si elpoep tuohtiw dlrow ehT», the boundaries of the gallery space extend, and come back again, so that this motion, on the one hand, points to an act of violence that is being perpetrated by an individual somewhere, and comes as a response on the other. As a follow-up, Maksimov’s video installations dwell on the relations of the terrorist and their victim. The mechanics of violence is visualised through the metaphor of the «well of pain», with everyday objects acquiring the quality of traumatic weapons.
The «Continuous Response» project is the way to mirror our social reality through art; it declares the need to address the issue of violence.
The Continuous Response project is also organized as a gaming experience, which is available at itch.io: