Den røde armés tilbaketrekning /Возвращение Красной Армии /The Withdrawal of the Red Army

What is contemporary art? Each person has his or her own opinion about it. it’s a pity that the most part of population doesn’t understand (and doesn’t want to understand) what’s going on in art. I believe it is connected with the narrow mindset. A person who doesn’t even try to see in an art object some metaphors and allegories in a real events or personalities would never find sense in contemporary art exhibitions and trends.



Yesterday opened travelling exhibition “Den røde armés tilbaketrekning /Возвращение Красной Армии /The Withdrawal of the Red Army”. The exhibition is amazing: I could stand in front of each object and think about a dozen of interpretations that the artist might have created.

Actually, the exhibition is really wonderful and unique at least because it’s been prepared for seven years. I will not even say that the objects are collected from museums from all over the world. Most importantly is that despite the major serious and dangerous theme — war — this exhibition is irregular. It changes the consciousness and actually carries you in this terrible time…


It’s a challenge for Arkhangelsk. Firstly, because of the form of the idea: originals and copies of paintings, drawings, sculpture. Add two more hammock, two videos (one of them is rated 18 +) and two photos in one-to-one resolution. By the way, they were the ones who had the greatest resonance in the views of the audience. Of all the people I had to discuss the exhibition with, only 20% really appreciated the experiment.

Secondly, the subtle relationship of all objects: Hammocks, video from Hall 18 +, photography and colorful drawings — what unites them? Why are they represented in this location and order? After all, why are they, rather than our usual attributes, from war in the form of weapons, letters and clothes?


I can’t boast of an absolute understanding of the exhibition. Thanks to a brief conversations with curators of the exhibition, local art historians, specialists from museums and artists I have made certain view on the exhibition. However, I am aware that in order to fully understand the meaning of the exhibition and to finally understand my impression I need to come here more than once. Without friends and acquaintances — alone. I hope it will be possible with my tight schedule. Because I want to repeat this cultural hike.

Of course, the exhibition causes gossips, a lot of criticism and at the same time admiration from “ordinary” citizens and well-educated people. It is a contemporary art that requires reflections, disputes and arguments. As Ivan Galuzin – the curator of the exhibition – said, one of the goals of the entire project was to make the viewer think so that the person will try to find his or her point of view.

Photography: Polina Nechaeva

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