Secret, code


Vladislav Kruchinsky
The New State, 2021

Three parts in rotation; UV print on polyester
292×1,172 cm each
Courtesy of the artist

Vladislav Kruchinsky’s series of drawings is presented like an unusual miniseries. Over the course of the exhibition, the large- scale multi-figured composition will change twice, offering viewers the opportunity to see three episodes of a story about the outbreak of an unknown “state” sweeping an unnamed Eastern European city. According to legend, the symptoms of this New State include nervous system disorders resulting in heightened perception of colors and smells along with mental changes that produce, in particular, a refusal to obey the authorities and an ability to self- organize that is unprecedented in modern times. The artist does not know the scenario of rapidly developing events in advance and responds to the current news using the speculative tradition of political caricature.

The reason for such a “dynamic” display is the unpredictable emergency we are witnessing today, caused by the pandemic, the constitutional change allowing nullification of presidential terms served, and other events that have knocked time out of kilter. The New State’s through the looking glass world is marked by a carnival reversal of the familiar: people suffering from coronavirus lose their sense of smell, while those troubled by the New State become extremely sensitive to odors. Whereas the pandemic forces us to maintain distance from others, in the New State inhabitants “clump together” and, in an attempt to adapt to these new conditions, it is not shopping centers that are turned into hospitals but pharmacies that become community centers. Just like in children’s Wimmelbooks, which feature richly detailed pictures and funny events, the well-known characters of Kruchinsky’s universe appear in the fictional space of the city observed from above: the main protagonist is the young artist F.V. Paps (celebrating the tenth anniversary of his career this year), the familiar inhabitant of Free Koptevoland Gurgling Flesh, the symbol of the 2020 pandemic Running Ass, and some new heroes— scientists and doctors dressed in hazmat suits, pharmacists, art scene people, etc. What other disturbances the New State will visit on residents of the city and whether this totally absurd story will result in a catastrophe or a happy ending remain to be seen.