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Photo: Alexey Guschin

Friend of the State 1

Andrey Rodionov, Ekaterina Troepolskaya

From April 11th until May 20th, “The State”, solo exhibition of Dmitry Tsvetkov is opened in PERMM (Perm Museum of Modern Art).

In the film Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, one practicing theatre expert reflects about building up a plotline that would raise interest in the spectator. He uses three terms: blood, love and oratory. According to his words blood adds sense to any plotline and goes well with oratory and with love, or with both of them. With no blood spectator is not interested in oratory and love.

The State, exhibition of Dmitry Tsvetkov that has recently been opened in PERMM (Perm Museum of Modern Art) is luxurious. It takes two floors. The first floor evokes inspiration and admiration because we see the state as it is supposed to be seen – trim and fluffy. The second floor blows up spectators’ heads. Here they enjoy splendid embroidery, beads, sequins and pearls forming all possible state paraphernalia, and all of a sudden they see the same glamorous stuff like pearls, beads, sequins and silk being used to create dead heads. 


Heads of Heroes is bloodthirsty series that assigns a specific meaning to the entire exhibition and asks, what the state consists of. The answer is – of blood. Dmitry Tsvetkov piled a table with severed heads of heroes, and the State acts as Salome.  Marie Antoinette, Yemelyan Pugachov, Cleopatra, John the Baptist – they all are guests at this holiday. They grin and demonstrate their teeth made of pearls and squirt their precious blood. There is blood of colored beads, faces of clay and hair of fur. But what the horror one feels, when looking at them, is made of? Probably, of the same precious stuff Dmitry Tsvetkov creates his State of. He also wanted to color the blood blue, but it looked too acid. The science department of the museum even plans to restrict entry to the junior schools. The glamorous heads looks scarier than bodies on TV. 

The State itself makes a cheerful impression mostly because we are used to living in this kind of state. Fur animals dressed in coats over their own fur walk in echelon, one after another. This group of sculptures or, more precisely, group of stuffed animals, is named Ice Age. Animals obviously are trying to save their lives. The last one stands the bear in royal ermine mantle – he is showing the way. But since he is the last one, no one is looking at him, everyone cares only for his own skin.

Now this bear is the property of the museum. After reconstruction it will become a part of permanent exhibition. 

Towards the animals from the other hall comes crowd of human mannequins. Brilliant blondes in multicolored marshal’s uniform jackets are proudly carrying orders and medals made of beads and sequins. Order of Victory, Order of the Red Banner, Order of St. Andrew, Order of the Patriotic War – honors for the most dignified chests. Everything is serious. Dmitry Tsvetkov’s dream is his own boutique for military men, and he is quite upset that so far only glamorous ladies are interested in his orders and uniforms. We are also surprised: no one feels the power and beauty of the State like he does. How come he is not commissioned for the state?

By the way, of dignified chest. State woman of Dmitry Tsvetkov has beasts like domes. And such is her bra. The whole series of huge bras is presented in the styles of the religious buildings such as St. Basil’s Cathedral. They even got crosses on them! – which was immediately noticed by public in Perm. By the way, at the exhibition in Tver these crosses were allegedly absent.  Dmitry Tsvetkov’s Superbra is a provocative series, and we are yet expecting the reaction of god-fearing visitors. However, artist himself denies any provocation and admits only canons of beauty. And what can be more beautiful that large breasts of an Orthodox woman?

As for women, artist is making himself quite clear. Women of Dmitry Tsvetkov either give birth or die. Gorgeous Barbies in search of fashion have received brilliant coffins for every day of the week. And freckled Matryoshka dolls, quite the opposite, procreate offsprings featuring the entire families: newborns are screaming, husbands are bringing flowers. Crematory for Barbie and Birthing Home for Matryoshka definitely can be considered his patriotic speech, no matter what he says about it.  

Dmitry Tsvetkov at the opening of “The State”

But let’s oppose ourselves: patriotism of an artist is a delicate matter. A true artist is a true patriot of his own country, unknown to anyone else. That’s why we are only trying to interpret it, and the artist denies our attempts with tender smile. We see devils coming out of every corner of his Roman paintings, and he says these are merely stylized crows. Yet there is one thing we can’t insult by our interpretations: it is his people, thousands of little men, like cave painting. These are some kind of prohuman beings, living in the head of the artist and running around on his paintings and guns and other objects. 

That’s why the artist doesn’t call his people devils or anything else. These are spirits, spreading beauty like infection – cold and unbiased beauty. Pearls are no less precious if they act as rotten teeth of a deadman, are they?  

Photo: Alexey Guschin