Hanna Zubkova: False Sun. The Paradox of Truth

Hanna Zubkova: False Sun. The Paradox of TruthHanna Zubkova: False Sun. The Paradox of Truth


For the several employments and offices of our fellows; we have twelve that sail
into foreign countries, under the names of other nations [. . .] who bring us the books,
and abstracts, and patterns of experiments of all other parts. These we call Merchants of Light.

Francis Bacon, The New Atlantis, 1627

The artistic research project False Sun. The Paradox of Truth is built around a found personal archive and suggests traces of the subjective experience of a Soviet philosopher, nomenklatura appointee, and agent of communication between the USSR and France during the Cold War. Discovered by a chance, this archive and the totality of documents, books, and artifacts of various statuses, types, and secrecy classifications that it contains raise the questions of truth and of the conditions in which this question can be addressed at all.

The artist’s interest in conducting this research and artistic project originates from both personal curiosity and ethical mapping of the spaces between the accidentally found archive with no addressee and the self who works with it, between history and the self, and between experience and the self.

The investigation problematizes personal experience in given ideologized spaces, reflecting on the notion of truth and its place in epistemic systems and in models for describing and articulating the world.

In this project the artist tests various forms of knowledge production, combines historical and artistic research, documentary evidence and speculative narrative, and touches on the fabrication of the canon and its boundaries, relations between subjectivity and cultural effects, modalities of Truth, and structures and representations of individual and shared experience.

Having started her research several years ago as a travelogue woven into everyday life that follows the archival documents’ symbolic and historical topology between Moscow and Paris, Zubkova continued the investigation at Garage Studios and Artist Residencies in 2019. Since that point, the work with the archive has been carried out within Russian and international systems of institutional cultural production. The small narratives of the private lives of the subject of the research and the artist, while devoid of heroic content, become part of history, with the museum as its interface.

The act of transferring the philosopher's archive to Garage Archive Collection will be a gesture initiating research into the country's cultural and historical heritage. In raising the status of this archive (by transferring it to a museum) and transforming a personal trace into a phenomenon of public knowledge, the artist finds a parallel with the splitting of the subject into the self and the discourse of the Other. Zubkova sees this gesture as an opportunity to perform a viewpoint of difference that allows for an exploration of the nature of duality.

Status: in process

Researcher: Hanna Zubkova


Hanna Zubkova (b. 1988, Moscow) is an artist. Moving between different linguistic, production, and value systems, she questions the place of individual experience in specific ideological, cultural, and psycholinguistic circumstances. She uses a research approach and captures the hybrid data obtained, creating performative situations, videos, objects, and installations. She is interested in the discrepancies between sensed experience and categorical systems and representation, as well as various forms of knowledge, both canonical and spontaneous, created by coincidence and chance. Selected group exhibitions include: Leaving Tomorrow, Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow (2015); Politics of Fragility, Na Shabolovke Gallery, Moscow (2016); End of the World, Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art, Prato, Italy (2016); Persistent in Changing Nothing, Mansart Gallery, Paris (2017); and To Thomas, La Box Gallery, Bourges, France (2020). Resident of Garage Studios and Artist Residencies, Moscow (2019). She lives and works between Moscow, Minsk, and Paris.