OBSERVER OF IMMENSE SPACE 2021 Mixed media, multimedia
300 × 650 × 250 cm
Video: Iraida Yusupova, Valentin Korzhov

One of the main motives of monumental art is the establishment of a connection between a person and something greater. We know that this greater thing is always with us, but because of its scale we cannot observe it correctly. A look at eternity requires transcendence, which is the act of overcoming the metaphysical border.

Sixty years ago this way to eternity was taken by Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. His image in our minds is a natural and seemingly self-evident combination of two scales, earthly and cosmic, personal and historical. At the same time, he rises to an unattainable height from Leninsky Prospekt (it means famous monument on Gagarin Square in Moscow) and smiles to each of us from famous photographs.

Valentin Korzhov puts this “two-worldness” into contemporary art. His Gagarin inherits the traditions of classical sculpture, reinterpreting the body of texts by key figures in Russian cosmism, from Velimir Khlebnikov to Nikolai Fedorov and Vladimir Vernadsky. Korzhov points to the deep spiritual beginning of the Gagarin’s flight, to “moving beyond the cradle of consciousness”.

The artist passes this philosophical construction through the filter of contemporary. This appears through the cosmic (or cosmogonic) ultra-blueness, and the integrated video installation, and through deliberately exaggerated proportions. The pictural elements in sculpture are literally fused with linear, geometric ones. To create his video art Korzhov explores the heritage of the Russian avant-garde, using figured images from the exhibition “0,10”, the last manifesto of the Futurists.

From these refractions, one of the flow-through motives of work crystallizes – a continuous transition from one state to another, from the virtual to the material, from the present to the timeless, from the earthly to the cosmic.