Elysium

2019

multimedia installation: garden sculptures, inflatable pool, salt, a running line, digital picture frames.

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Elysium is the place without any disease and suffering, where the eternity reigns, and everything that exists is unchanging and constant. A man there loses the fear of the end, truly deep one that Adam and Eva had experienced after the expulsion, when everything became finite for them: seasons of the year, events, relationship and life itself. Till today, every time when the man experiences an irreparable loss, he repeats the same journey of the “expulsion from paradise”, feels the fragility and transience of his being.

I recreate the happy infinity of the mythological paradise in my “Island of stay” – the place, where the number of items is excessive, which means infinitely. The guarantee of this new infinity is in the inexhaustibility of resources. In such an image of the world, feelings are refillable like objects: I feel happy to own a ceramic deer. If it falls and breaks, I can always buy one more replication. It reminds of the joy of contemplating supermarket shelves during the sales season.


Any subject on the island is replicated and promise the opportunity of an easy replacement. Definitely, this garden will not let you down. Replicated animals and eternal values are replaced by the value of eternity here in plastic heavens. (Lyuda Kalinichenko)

Elysium is the archetypal image of an ideal, beautiful place. The image of the garden with wonderful plants and animals, where the sun always shines and pain or sadness do not exist, roams between the cultures and religions, it emerges in the various geographical points and historical eras. The constant longing of the man for his natural harmonious state leads to a constant attempt to recreate it. But is this classic idea of paradise relevant today? And if Paradise, Edem, Elysium are the
quintessence of the beautiful, the place, where people want to live forever, how does it appear in the 21st Century? Temple mural that convey the ideal was replaced by the glossy picture from the magazine or advertising catalog, which remains as unattainable as heavens for the majority. Elysium by Ludmila Kalinichenko was assembled from the kitsch items, from the things that any mass consumer buys to decorate his garden or hacienda turning it into his personal paradise. Plastic palms, ceramic deer, inflatable dolphins live in a handmade pleasure garden, making it twice more artificial. What should be the source of life turns out to be a product of mass production, a real turns out to be a replication.


The artist offers us to be the first humans in this new Edem, she immerses us into the difficult problem field. Is there anything beautiful regardless the time, fashion, taste? In the 21st Century “paradise” what place is given to a technology? In our world, where the physical reality is so tightly bound with the digital one, does the good old analog paradise still possible or soon we will all be sent to the “cloud” instead of the clouds?

(Lev Shusharichev, the curator )