Into the Luminous Future

Growing up during the Perestroika (Ukraine, Georgia, and the Baltic) I was mesmerized by the ubiquitous banners and slogans reading "bright Soviet future is at hand", "the immortal teachings of Lenin", "power of the proletariat", etc. One that stuck in my mind was "Into the luminous future". When I asked a teacher what was (then) our "luminous future", I was dismissed as impertinent brat. Still, my childish mind was haunted by the inherent contradiction between these bright promises and the banal, gritty and monotonous despair late-Soviet reality. I have addressed this childhood, formative condition (via this three-dimensional series) as if through the mnemonic prism of a young yet impressionable child. The pieces are small, intimate, infantile, and shiny, outwardly devoid any serious meaning or philosophical dimension. Still, they are in a way an extension of the Soviet ideological cosmos. Hence the slogan "Off with the trash into oblivion" resulted small figure - a worker (political prisoner?), with the traditional ushanka cap, fufaika (padded jacket) and valenki (felt-boots) wielding a wheelbarrow marches on atop a bright Soviet star. The allegory continues in the piece "Perestroika", where a worker heroically bears a workbox on his shoulder, and in other pieces. The celebrated cosmonaut, Yurii Gagarin, who probably embodied the concept of "luminous future", is depicted. Although Gagarin already had become a, to me he was an angel, the only angel allowed by the system. In one of the pieces his golden image seems dwarfed by the span of the huge red wings made for him to wear by the system, making him the personification of the famous slogan Krylia Sovetov ("Soviet wings"). The slogan Vlast' meniaietsia ("power is changing") is represented here by the figure of a worker moving a gilded statue of the leader on a dolly. Finally, Lampochka Illicha ("Illich's little lamp"), refers to the celebrated "building Communism through electricity" campaign of the 1920s. Here miniature figures are trapped inside a lit-up bulb, entangled in its golden wires, existing within the confined vacuum of their lives.

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