∆ Triangle Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of the artist Pavel Zyumkin.
In his own words, Pavel Zyumkin (b.1985, Zelenograd) "forges dialogue in places where there is no one else around." But whom might one talk to in a space filled only with emptiness? Obviously with whatever remains after a conversation and its participants have left the hero – no doubt, a romantic one – to his loneliness: fragments and snippets – phrases, words, gestures and the cigarette stubs that invariably accompany any conversation. Cigarette stubs, "butts" (although here it would be more fitting to use this word without quotation marks, to let it take its time, without limits) – these are the true companions and the traces of conversations, often the only document certifying that anyone ever spoke (wrote, thought, simply were present) here. Isn't it strange that the most irrefutable proof of one's presence or company, our mutual coexistence here in this place, would be the scattered trail of butts from cheap cigarettes – the leftovers, the garbage, the leper trail of a slow suicide in the drive to get the most out of one's life while little by little destroying it?
Apart from pointing towards the syncretic desire to destroy oneself or just extending one's thoughts or conversation, the cigarette butt phenomenon operates in two distinct registers: time and place. Time – discrete upon meeting, then short as the flame makes its way down to the filter – continues on, never ending, never stopping, to the place where the cigarette butt is the only trace, the only sign, just the way a word leaves a trace, but no, that is not it, keep going, and there you have it, another trace, other traces, the kind that cannot be reproduced, returned, relived, but more than that, there is the desire to slow time in order to catch it, to seize it, and to savor it, so that cigarettes can be smoked, one after the other, and one after the other, they will leave their butts behind, stubbed out in ashtrays or bins. It is the same with place. Place is a marker, a carrier of memories of meetings and events, while cigarette butts are mobile, brought into the space as an agent of the place, able to not say a word, but to hint, to hold onto smells (again, also ephemeral, which is strange), and to again wrap itself in a thin coating that can be perceived with the senses, that can be grasped by an outsider observer on the fly.
But why does Zyumkin need to glue, paint and collage designs which are usually not significant, but, if anything, expenditures, reeking with the stains of incremental words and movements towards consensus? By selecting the cigarette butt out of all possible documents, by inverting its features into their direct opposite, giving the burnt stub, spotted with the stains of human saliva, not rights exactly, but the power to speak for those for whom the butt itself is the essence of trash, the artist has made a simple and honest gesture towards all of us: he does not just formally remind us that the cigarette butt will outlive everyone we know and everything we will produce, and doesn't just sulk in the shadows of those despicable heroes of kitchen wars, but that it quietly shows us just what it actually is (that is, counter to what we are accustomed to think) that we produce in the end, and even more, what we will undoubtedly keep producing.
Exhibition till August 2
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Pavel Zyumkin was born March 6, 1985 in Zelenograd. He studied at the Moscow Art School № 303 and later at Moscow's Stroganov Academy of Industrial and Applied Arts.
Zyumkin builds his work using the principles of a utilitarian visualization of messages. His sphere of interest ranges from the optimization of day-to-day life within the present reality of a culture of overconsumption, to the both literal and symbolic preservations of heritage, and the accompanying reappraisal of this epoch, as expressed in the series of quilts and carpets, birch bricks and the act of using blankets to cover up monuments to noted historic figures.
Developed as tightly-formed concepts, few of the artist's works stay that way. Instead, they breach the confines of the hermetic thought laboratory in which they were formed, taking on their own embodiment as objects or interventions into the physical world: the map of public bus routes in Zelenograd, the bridge to Syromyatiniki "covered" in quilts, or the carpets, strung up on the flagpoles of buildings in Moscow and Kiev. Zyumkin manages to draw in equal message from the autonomous codes of the "Russian" and the "Soviet."