Soft Power |
04 – 27 Mar 2022

©Copyright Fabula Gallery | by Rattlesnake Group Limited
Curator: Ian Ginsburg
Dates: 04 - 27 Mar 2022
Artist: Vlad Zorin
Date:
Category:

Soft Power |
04 – 27 Mar 2022

On March 4th, fābula gallery will present a solo exhibition of Vlad Zorin’s Soft Power. Working with the theme of sensuality and sexuality amidst the realities of Russian culture, with its centuries-old traditions of suppression and oppression of the body, requires boldness and persistence in order to overcome them. Such cultural restrictions and stereotypes require the negotiation of external circumstances, and with the passing of time – cultural restrictions and stereotypes, as well as resolving our internal complexes and traumas. The story of Vlad Zorin’s creative path is an example of one such journey. For the sake of his own liberation, Vlad searches for ways to speak freely about current problems and age-old questions in a universally accessible manner. Vlad has sought an adequate modernity and a universally understandable language with which on can speak freely about current problems and find answers to age-old questions. About the artist: Vlad’s creative and daring nature was formed through his adolescence in Chelyabinsk, an environment of creative freedom juxtaposed with certain life restrictions. Struggling with a sense of loneliness and desiring to pursue his ambitions, he expanded his horizons and moved to Moscow at the age of 15. He subsequently moved to the wider world, now working between Moscow and Paris with representation in New York and London. Defined by an early emerging sense of self-determination and rapid professional development, Vlad is a dazzling/representative of his generation: he starts his work ‘the Novel’ with photography taken at age of 8. When he was 13, Vlad was already working as a photographer, initially in the field of fashion and advertising. At 16 he shot the first magazine cover. However, his awareness of the hypocrisy of commercial photography and its possible harmful influence led Vlad into the field of art photography – focusing on exhibitions, auctions, and participation in international projects. The metaphor of transcending/overcoming boundaries can be seen to define the consistent deepening of the range of topics and issues that Vlad touches on in his projects, as well as a change in his visual language. In his series, titled of ‘Hare’, Vlad examines otherness – the acceptance of the “other”, shown through the image of a perfectly built half–naked man in a rabbit mask, who clearly does not fit into the environment by using bright and provocative snapshots that rely on aesthetics borrowed from the world of fashion photography. The God series is dedicated to the search for the philosophical foundations of the world and the harmony of man with nature, where the visual language itself reflects a happy impulse, the desire to free oneself from earthly shackles, referencing Ryan McGinley’s photo series and Terrence Malick’s films. The themes of physicality and male sexuality were also touched upon in one of Vlad’s first projects, the photobook “From Russia with Love” which was published at the end of 2021 and became a true manifesto for a new sincerity and sensitivity. Vlad managed to achieve the seemingly impossible: combining sensitivity and delicateness, creating a safe space in which a whole generation of young people dared to share intimate and personal stories about their desires, experiences, problems, and injuries. With a trustful candour found through the use of direct speech and sensually directed photographs, he found a language in which it became possible to expatiate on fundamental taboo topics like physical and mental health. This sensual photographic style developed on specific and deeply personal material was developed in the allegorical-conceptual project “Soft power”. The main theme of the project is two traditionally opposed principles in art – struggle and love. In the pictures, beautiful young men are fighting and playing with toy weapons. The author notes that the creation of these images was accompanied by smiles and laughter, awkwardness and tenderness, never aggression or malice. The playful and performative beginning of this work holds an important value/meaning/role. In this and past projects Vlad often uses masks for protection and exclusion, as masks allow for allegorical and metaphorical representations, whilst allowing him to comment directly on complex, relevant and timeless topics whilst allowing for the most open, sincere and direct interaction and communication to take place through this playful performance. “Serious things should be presented simply and with irony,” the author believes, adding “in order to draw the viewer in, you need to easily present the most serious and important thoughts.” The images from the Soft Power project are bright and sexual, full of freshness, colour and warmth. Perhaps it was also influenced by childhood memories from Chelyabinsk: an environment of snow, flooded with sunlight, and a piercing blue sky. It is no coincidence that Vlad often recalls the image of Peter Pan – a symbol of youth and joy, calling for the preservation of an inner child, sincere and direct. The openness, youth/juvenility and beauty captured on film, presented in the form of photographs, videos and installations, reflect the spirit of the times, acting as the voice of a generation striving to convey to us that the only weapon capable of qualitative changes in the surrounding world is love. About the curator: Ian Ginsburg (b. 1988, Moscow) is a Russian artist and curator. Ian graduated from the Institute of Contemporary Art Problems. He is a winner of the Moscow Art Prize. The artistic practice of Ian Ginsburg is a non-canonical example of analysing and re-working memory and artistic heritage in Russian contemporary art.