PURFICATION (2011)

Duration: 9 days, 5 hours/day

Solyanka VPA Gallery

A special project of the 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. 

 

 

I repeated the same performance for five hours a day, nine days in a row.

 I wanted to get a better understanding of what cleansing – the memory – meant ... I stood at the front of the gallery, in a white robe, barefoot, holding a bucket of water in my hands. While people were walking in, I tried to feel who I wanted to follow. After choosing a person, I would follow him or her. Whenever he or she stopped in front of a work of art, I would kneel down, immerse my hair in water and begin to wash the floor around this person with it, thus, absorbing all the negative memory, clearing karmic space, and soaking up all the pain, suffering, resentment, anger and so on, like a sponge. This speechless contact with a person was very important to me. But at the same time, it turned out to be very intimate. While doing this, I wouldn’t look into visitors’ eyes and – even more so – wouldn’t speak with them.

I wasn’t expecting it, but it turned into some kind of research. Research of myself and others. For myself, I managed to overcome many complexes, and most importantly – shame, when kneeling in front of someone like I was a servant. Every time felt like the first time, and every new person aroused different feelings. It seemed that I was intruding a person’s karmic space. And then, I noticed a few stages that were often repeated.

 

At first, a person doesn’t understand what is happening; he or she is afraid and almost running through the gallery for the first five or ten minutes. The second stage is habituation. The person realises that he or she is not threatened and tries to understand what is happening and why. The third stage is when the person can no longer exist without you: he or she can’t leave the gallery for a long time and comes back over and over again, wishing that it will last forever.