past continuous. 7 may 2021 — 30 jun 2021

sergey dorokhov

The 50s, 60s, 70s ... the static of the past flashes before us like newsreel footage superimposed on one another...

Commemorative culture, that is, the culture of memory, functions as a glitch: on the state-approved historiography, private, specific memories of people are layered, forming a peculiar, multi-layered and dense pattern.
Imagine that any event or historical fact has a trace that must be found under a hundred others. The historian, like a true archaeologist, layer by layer clears, deconstructs, and catalogues thousands of footprints, creating a linear, consistent narrative. The artist works in a different way — he captures the trodden path of history in all its floridness and complexity, adding to this his unique look. The works of Sergey Dorokhov are the result of this attempt to speak about the contradictory past and present of our state through common cultural signifiers. And this conversation is exciting.

In the series "Hindrances of the Past", well-known subjects of Russian history are easily read: the death of Stalin, the" corn fever " of Khrushchev, the famous kiss of Brezhnev and Honecker, the flight of Misha the Bear at the closing of the 1980 Olympics — these images are easily guessed even by someone who was not a real witness of those events. Mixed with static and white noise, they flicker like a television screen. The " box " from the 80s-an information medium of bygone eras-is timely to the events that it "shows". The same logic is followed by a return to the analog aesthetic of early video games — we immediately understand that over refers to the game called "USSR". However, there is something in these works that turns them into a testimony of the present and a prophecy about the future — the same glitch, flicker, shift.

The pink color seems to "glamorize" the things and events shown. Glamour-literally "charm, charm" - is an aesthetic of mass consumption, based on hedonism and external brilliance. Originally associated with the spread of aristocratic luxury and erotic freedom, in its mass exasperation, glamour has degenerated into the vulgarity of conspicuous consumption, blatant gender stereotypes, and decoration that hides emptiness. So at the click of your fingers, the pathos of the famous black and pink subculture becomes a posturing game on feelings, and the socialite turns into a political dummy. In fact, glamour melts everything solid into a mess of empty signifiers.

Pink riot police and police dogs built, as in Space Invaders, in the words "Freedom" and "Power", are also devastated due, firstly, to pink, and secondly - to their iconic nature. Power, nation, state-these are signs that have been stripped of their denotation and have become symbols of ideological wars, protected not by some abstract hegemon, but by concrete people-officials who are in love with glamour. They have made their symbol the solstice of pink oil rigs, which suck out quite real barrels of black gold from the bowels of the earth. Dorokhov ironically called it "Infinity". However, this game will end someday. It ends now. And if you pay attention to the messages that the artist leaves, it becomes clear that this is all just white noise for the reality that dances its dance for infinity. An army of riot police, pink towers, a government made up of dogs — "this will pass." So let it become important to us what is closer to the skin, and not what claims to be dense, while it is empty.

Anastasia Khaustova