top of page

The Leak /

Installation /

06.12 — 07.12.2022

Non-State Non-Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Pestelya 6

In art, Dmitry Sirotkin mostly preferred to deal with various forms of eternity: the Hermitage, which positioned itself as a space independent from the rest of Russia, old art, the Petersburg landscape, which devoided of the features of the era, myth, cemetery, ruins. This eternity could last as meditation, repeat as the change of seasons, or solemnly freeze, like a child in a photograph. The sleeping museum, a burned-out match, a frozen pedestrian, the ruins of the architecture of fallen empires, the click of a camera shutter all do the same job—they cancel the course of history. But last year, time continued to move forward; the distance between "now" and the tragedies of the past became smaller than the focal distance.

In one of the interviews, Dmitry compared the museum and his own practice to eternal permafrost, where organic matter doesn't decompose, but rather accumulates timelessly, preserving its life potential. One of his recent projects, "Eternal Ice", can also be remembered. The installation that the artist made for НеНеМу Gallery gives this metaphor a new twist. The crystalline lattice in which humanity's horrible dreams were locked is thawing, releasing the hell outside that through the thickness of ice seemed like a "classical plot".

The Baroque moulding swells and leaks pale drops falling into the darkened casings. From the depths of gypsum and cement emerge fragments of a series of engravings devoted to Alexander the Great's wars, like mold or pieces of painted frescoes. Geographical maps dissolve and lose their boundaries and sharpness on the table where water pours in. Countries, cities, battlefields flood into each other, making the world amorphous. The heroes of Robert Capa's war reports intermingle with ancient wars in the reception of French classicism, fragments of engravings by Gérard Audran and Barthel Beham. The entire mise-en-scène resembles a war council before a battle that the forces of chaos are determined to give to any order – political, stylistic, geographical, chronological, psychological. The rozen carcass of the empire is thawing, covered in cold sweat.

The artist leaves the viewer in a quandary. On the one hand, the image of thaw, drips (and leaks as their consequences) possesses not only meteorological but also political connotations in the Russian tradition. Perhaps Sirotkin's artistic intuition allows him to distinguish behind the monotonous echo of drips and military clatter the approach of spring. On the other hand, the words "warming" and "thawing," in Russian classical literature conveying improvement in emotional state, are now triggers that launch a complex of eschatological climatic expectations and premonitions of planetary collapse. Anyway, eternity is now in deficit, time is spinning with acceleration, the ice is melting, and it seems that the position of a detached viewer will fail for anyone.

A. Dashevsky

bottom of page