Freud and Obama at the Parade

Sergey Fedulov, Freud and Obama at the Parade, 2021. Gouache on paper. Courtesy of Studio 6 at St. Petersburg Municipal Psychiatric Hospital No. 6. Photo courtesy of Mikhail Ryzhov. The painting is currently on view at the exhibition Beyond the Establishment, at the Marble Palace of the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.

Beyond the Establishment is an inclusive project of the Russian Museum and the first large-scale attempt to present the work of non-professional modern artists with mental disorders and/or psychiatric experience from an artistic point of view. Without diminishing the social significance of the exhibition, the aesthetic value of the artworks is in the foreground. The authors presented here express their personal attitude to the world through creativity, which fits well into the strategies of contemporary art, where the factor of professional artistic education has long ceased to prevail. First of all, these artists are distinguished by [their] lack of involvement in the art community, the art establishment and its marketing strategies, the current discourse on art, etc.

The process of including such art into common artistic practice was launched at the beginning of the twentieth century, but the terms that arose decades ago have acquired new shades of meaning over time and now no longer seem to be either correct or accurate enough to describe the phenomenon in its entirety. This also applies to the two most common terms: art brut and outsider art. The title of this exhibition, Beyond the Establishment, does not solve terminological problems, but indicates the intersection point for the six artists represented here.

Source: Beyond the Establishment

A rendering of the text below, about the artist Sergey Fedulov, in Russian Sign Language

Sergey Fedulov (born in 1981) started drawing at an early age. His grandfather was an artist and supported his grandson’s hobby, allowing him to make art any way he wanted and anywhere he wanted—even on the walls. After finishing school, Sergey studied to be a restorer at college. At first, he drew from life, as many artists do, but he always dreamed of finding his own special technique and original manner, and he was helped to do this at the Alternative Studio at Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic No. 7. After the Alternative Studio closed in 2018, the artist began working at Studio 6 at Psychiatric Hospital No. 6 and found support from the Outsiderville project.

Fedulov is fond of science fiction and is prone to supernatural interpretations of social and political conflicts. The artist’s style can be defined as a fantastic realism that is not averse to irony and sarcasm. In his world, communism has triumphed on a universal scale, but it is not aggressive or threatening: it is the ideal model of intergalactic order. The frightening potential of political myths is rendered harmless: they turn into anecdote, fairy tale, awkwardness. In the curators’ opinion, the inclusion of Masyanya as a recurring character helps Sergey openly fantasize and feel free on the paper. In every work there is a dialogue—not only between earthly authorities, but also with the inhabitants of other planets, who can also be heard. The frightening potential of political myths is neutralized—they are turned into anecdotes, fairy tales, embarrassments. Dream and reality are intertwined: Comrade Stalin meets Napoleon, the psychiatrist Pyotr Kashchenko treats aliens, Sigmund Freud and Barack Obama review a military parade, and these events are calmly observed by the cat Masyanya, the artist’s pet. According to the curators, the inclusion of Masyanya as a recurring character has enanbled Sergey to fantasize freely on the paper.

Fedulov’s works have been shown at the Russian Museum (St. Petersburg, 2019, 2020), the Museum of Russian Lubok and Naive Art (Moscow, 2019), the Ariadne’s Thread Festival (Moscow, 2018), the 2nd Triennial of Self-Taught Artists (Yagodina, Serbia, 2019) and Art Brut Global. Phase II (a virtual project of the Outsider Art Fair, 2020). His work was also in competition at the Paralym Art World Cup in Tokyo in 2020.

Source: Beyond the Establishment. Translated by the Russian Reader. Thanks to Mikhail Ryzhov and Victoria Andreyeva for bringing this marvelous artist and this show to my attention.

Mikola Dziadok: “Any sentence doesn’t seem so daunting anymore”

Mikola Dziadok
Facebook
November 26, 2021

Мікола Дзядок аб сваім прысудзе

Прысуд не выклікаў у мяне асаблівых эмоцый. Калі мяне судзілі першы раз, у 2011 годзе, і другі раз, у 2015 годзе, я моцна хваляваўся. Цяпер гэтага не было. Я быў гатовы атрымаць як больш, так і менш.

Я стараюся сябе прывучаць глядзець на гэта зусім з іншай шкалой, разумець, што мой прысуд – гэта толькі эпізод каласальнага па велічыні гістарычнага працэсу. Я стараюся не аддзяляць свой лёс ад лёсу сваёй краіны і анархічнага руху. Калі думаеш такім чынам – усё ўяўляецца ў зусім іншым святле. Любыя тэрміны перастаюць пужаць.

Зараз за кратамі вялізная колькасць выпадковых людзей: сімпатызантаў руху за перамены, якія не планавалі сядзець у турме за каментар і адно выйсце на праезную частку. Гэтым людзям я спачуваю больш за ўсіх і не дзіўлюся, што многія з іх здаюцца, паддаюцца песімізму і паніцы. А ўсім, хто лічыць барацьбу за лепшы свет сваім прызначэннем, трэба проста набрацца цярпення і ўспрыняць тое, што адбываецца, як заканамерны этап у жыцці. Я думаю варта натхняцца як прыкладамі з мінулага, так і прыкладамі барацьбы ў іншых аўтарытарных краінах – Іран, Венесуэла, М’янма.

Яшчэ я імкнуся не забываць, што турма – гэта ідэальнае месца для працы над сабой. Тут можна бесперашкодна вывучаць сябе, сваю псіхіку, пазнаваць людзей, з якімі ніколі б не сышоўся на волі. Гэтым я і стараюся займацца: выхоўваць сябе, займацца самаадукацыяй і адточваць валявыя якасці кожны дзень. Тады нават знаходжанне ў ізаляцыі набывае сэнс.

_____

In general, the verdict did not cause me much emotion. I remembered that when I was tried the first time in 2011 and the second time in 2015, I was very nervous. That wasn’t the case now. I was ready to get both a stricter and a softer sentence. I didn’t care much whether they would sentence me to 5, 7 or 10 years. I am trying to get into a mindset and train myself to look at it on a completely different level. Then you realize that your sentence is just an episode of a colossal historical process. I try not to separate my fate from that of my country and the anarchist movement. And when you think about it like that, everything is seen in a completely different light. Any sentence doesn’t seem so daunting anymore.

There is a huge number of random people behind bars right now who are sympathisers of the movement for change, who weren’t planning to go to prison for a comment and stepping on a roadway once. Frankly, these are the people I sympathise with the most and I am not surprised that many of them give up, succumb to pessimism and panic. Well, all those who believe the fight for a better world is their vocation just need to be patient and accept what is happening as a logical step in their lives.

I think it’s worth taking inspiration from examples from the past, but also struggles in other authoritarian countries such as Iran, Venezuela and Myanmar. And personally, I try never to forget that prison is an ideal place to work on yourself. Here you can freely explore yourself and your psyche, get to know people you would never get to know on the outside. This is what I try to do: strengthen, educate myself and hone my willpower every day. Then even being in isolation makes sense.

Thanksgiving: Petersburg’s Culture Laundromat

Five years ago, Vanya Lendyashov, Nochlezhka’s engineer, sent a letter to David Papaskiri, the owner of Prachka.com, a chain of laundromats. Vanya wrote to ask how best to organize a mobile laundry point, a kind of laundry on wheels where homeless people could get their clothes clean for free. David responded by offering to set up a full-fledged laundromat with washing machines and dryers, just like the ones in his chain, especially for Nochlezhka. He decided to give us the equipment for free—we only had to find a suitable building. Our volunteers joined the search and soon found a space at Borovaya, 116, not far from Nochlezhka’s shelter.

Thus began the story of our Culture Laundromat, which has been running like clockwork for five years. Over the years, three and half thousand people have used the laundromat, whose washers and dryers have run over twenty-seven thousand cycles. The laundromat has helped our patrons to go to interviews in clean clothes and get a job, to feel like normal people, to save money, and to avoid condemnation and hatred.

A video about how the Culture Laundromat is organized, and about the people who come there for help

The project got its name thanks to the famous joke “Hello, is this the laundromat?” Jokes aside, the place really has become not just a laundromat, but a genuine space for culture. During off hours, a theater studio has rehearsed there, volunteers with the Persimmon project have gathered there to knit warm clothes for homeless people, an apartment concert has been staged there, and the Notyetpozner team filmed an episode there featuring Shortparis lead singer Nikolai Komyagin.

 

There are shelves of books at the Culture Laundromat and stacks of newspapers and crosswords. Indoor plants turn green on a whatnot in the back. It’s a great place to wash off the grit and grime of hard, terrible days and put on warm clean clothes before going out the door and continuing the path to home from the streets.

Like all our other projects, the Culture Laundromat operates thanks to the people who support us. Thank you for this anniversary and for every day that Nochlezhka is up and running.

Source: Masha Kalinkina, Nochlezhka email newsletter, 25 November 2021. Photo and videos courtesy of Nochlezhka. You can support Nochlezhka by making a donation (via Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, Google Pay or PayPal) here. Translated by the Russian Reader

Yuri Leiderman: The Black General

Yuri Leiderman
Facebook
September 29, 2021

“The Black General”
I arrived in the city of Heraklion and checked into the hotel. I turned on the TV while I got settled in. On TV5Monde, a group of intellectuals in well-chosen nonchalant jackets was discussing Rimbaud, Kafka and Gallimard’s new releases.

I should have been like them, I thought enviously.

I could have become like them, I thought, horrified.

There is no Pinochet to reign them in,
No Black Colonel,
No Black General,
I thought with a grin.

So I am the very last Black General, overgrown and useless and grassy, I thought without much emotion, after appending hands, palms, and wrists, like claws, like threads, to the seams.

Translated and reproduced here with the artist’s kind permission by the Russian Reader

Bad List Updates

Marta Hillers’s Book A Woman in Berlin Placed on List of Extremist Materials
Wonderzine
November 23, 2021

Sota reports that the Russian Justice Ministry has placed A Woman in Berlin, a book by Marta Hillers, on its list of extremist materials. In the book, the writer recounts the end of World War II and the mass rapes of German women by Soviet soldiers. The Abakan City Court in the Republic of Khakassia had petitioned to have the book placed on the register.

Sota also draws attention to the fact that in 2008 the book was adapted for the screen. The film is not mentioned in the list of extremist materials.

“Kill the Beggars,” a song by the group Pornofilmy, and eight other materials were also placed on the register. The list was published by a Telegram channel about updates to the list of extremist materials [and “extremists” and “terrorists”], maintained by the programmer Ivan Shukshin.

Thanks to Anna Romashchenko for the heads-up. Image courtesy of Kinopoisk. Translated by the Russian Reader

“Kill the Beggars!”

Come on!

Progress and efficiency have triumphed. And how!
Today we have a neutron bomb
We’ll destroy our surplus enemies quickly
Without touching their property, we’ll do everything cleanly

Well, it didn’t come in handy in the war
It will come in handy at home — both for you and for me

Kill the poor!
Exterminate, destroy them!
Chew them up, crush them! Come on!
They’re not afraid to die
The beggars will be only too glad
Every beggar goes to heaven
Kill the beggars!

Come on!

The sun laughs in gasoline puddles
We don’t need a war tax anymore
The slums are on fire, burning perfectly
And a million unemployed people have just disappeared

Well, look: the country is rising from its knees
Unemployment is defeated

Kill the poor!
Exterminate, destroy them!
Chew them up, crush them! Come on!
They’re not afraid to die
The beggars will be only too glad
Every beggar goes to heaven
Kill the beggars!

Come on!
Fucking do it!

Champagne splashes, joy and pride
Crime is falling. Breathe freely!
Smiles frozen on the faces of the fortunate
And Putin said that we have won

Let’s get dressed up! Shout “Hurrah!”
We’ll dance until morning

Kill the poor!
Exterminate, destroy them!
Chew them up, crush them! Come on!
They’re not afraid to die
The beggars will be only too glad
Every beggar goes to heaven
Kill the beggars!

Come on!
Come on!
Come on!
Kill the beggars!

Source: AZ. Translated by the Russian Reader

Lights Out for the Territory

Dmitry Strotsev
Facebook
November 22, 2021

Lukashenko is obliged to take in the people whom he let into Belarus with a one-way ticket. He is obliged to give them a roof over their heads, find them jobs, and provide them with medical care and social protections. Otherwise, he must admit his irresponsibility and resign. But we all understand that neither the one nor the other will happen. Belarusians, regardless of their political stance, will share responsibility for the criminal actions of the illegitimate authorities. What lies in store for Belarus is a new stage of the humanitarian catastrophe, which will affect everyone, no matter what they think about the migrants.

*

                                For Alexander Skidan

in the autumn park
hungry eyes
leftovers
on
a newspaper
among us
animals breathing
growling in a cage
a rib cage continuous
vagrants german shepherds
among us
say it say it
I am
among
you

September 14, 2009

Translation and photo by the Russian Reader

Our Blood Is Wine

Earlier this afternoon, my dog was feeling “agitated,” as she put it, so she asked me to lie down on the couch with her and watch this doco. Emily Railsback’s Our Blood Is Wine is unpretentiously lovely and informative and reassuring. It’s a treat for people like me who love Georgian wine, food, music, cinema and culture. You should watch it too, especially if you know nothing about Georgia. See below for a hint on signing up to the streaming service I watched it on. NB. This is not a paid endorsement of this service. ||| TRR

Our Blood is Wine
A Film by Emily Railsback

“Embraces both its subjects and the audience in a kind of cultural exchange that you rarely find.”
—Third Coast Review

Filmmaker Emily Railsback and award-winning sommelier Jeremy Quinn provide intimate access to rural family life in the Republic of Georgia as they explore the rebirth of 8,000-year-old winemaking traditions almost lost during the period of Soviet rule.

By using unobtrusive iPhone technology, Railsback brings the voices and ancestral legacies of modern Georgians directly to the viewer, revealing an intricate and resilient society that has survived regular foreign invasion and repeated attempts to erase Georgian culture. The revival of traditional winemaking is the central force driving this powerful, independent and autonomous nation to find its 21st century identity.

Source: Ovid Email Newsletter, 19 November 2021

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Source: Facebook