Wednesday, January 2, 2008

from door to door

This summer, walking dusty moscow streets, half-cooked in Summer heat I found myself on the premises of an old Beer Factory that has been closed since the early 90's. Today it was open and functioned well, but not as a beer-factory, rather as a New Art Center. It was still under construction and dirt around the area smelled like Soviet beer. In the middle of this beautiful mess a new and clean New York style gallery with high ceilings, wooden floors and big windows was standing. I entered. The name of the gallery was (and is) Proun.
You can find more about it on:
Show that I found myself in was called ENTER-EXIT. Even a title gave me goose bumps, because it was almost a year since I was thinking about painting on doors; sort of try and switch from painting doors to painting on them and see how different it will be. I think I have a right to label myself as a gambler, when we talk about the mystic of positive and negative space, entering and exiting spaces. i worked with images of stage, open window and dividing forever. I felt almost high. Old folk-style doors, collected from Russian churches and villages have been installed around the gallery, coming out of the floor, like mushrooms after the rain.
Each door was more designed then painted and images would be simple: flowers, one figure, a tree. Because of the installation the viewer was able to see the door from both sides, so everything that was written, painted over on another side of the door became a part of the story, making everything more narrative and more "russian" that way. I walked around the show for about 15 minutes and, once exiting, thought about Red Riding Hood and an angry wolf.
The whole experience was challenging. Who am I? Am I thinking and creating based on my background? Am I a XIX century peasant or a Moscow XXI century curator? Oh well... I am who I am and this is just great. Coming back from Moscow, I took a deep breath and started my doors series. I do think that "Enter or Exit?" still is the best title for my up-coming show in March? So far, it keeps growing and changing, but all makes sense. They  (doors) do look like my work, tell stories, ask questions. Sometimes its a good idea to knock before entering. I am not afraid of the plastics of forms and find old door handles, locks and order metal tabs.

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