THE OBJECT AS A SCULPTURE. Vadim Gushchin: between the supermarket and the void
Mikhail Sidlin, 2012
We live in the Universe of Malevich. But very rarely notice it. Vadim Gushchin photographs everyday objects in such a way that it immediately becomes clear that they have originated from the “Black Square”.
The main idea of design – is the sparing use of form. El Lissitzky was the first to formulate this idea in relation to the industrial object. He was a pupil of Malevich. Kazimir Malevich used the expressive means of painting sparingly. Lissitzky transformed his world for the needs of production. Therefore, Malevich can be found in the depths of an industrial object.
The modern object has the same roots as modern architecture. CDs and their boxes are similar to the clubs of Konstantin Melnikov and Golosov, viewed from special angles (this can be seen in Vadim Gushchin’s series “Prokofiev”, 2011). And plastic meal trays are related to the architecture of Mies van der Rohe or Frank Lloyd Wright (and this can be seen in Gushchin’s “Foam Plastic”, 2011). But in order to detect this, they should be photographed. Things demonstrate their architectonics through photographs.
Gushchin’s space could be called a Matisse-like space. This is because the picture plane “falls” towards the viewer, just as it does in the great Frenchman’s canvases – such as “Red Fish” (1912). Apart from one, very important, difference: the plane in Gushchin’s works has no limits, except for one – the edge at the top. In Matisse’s works the objects are laid out on a definite physical surface: be it a table, rug, or the ground. Gushchin’s objects are placed on a plane which loses its physical nature.
Is this a table before us? Yes, possibly, there was a table in the studio. But the defining parts of the table for the viewer are the tabletop and the legs, their relationship and their shapes. When we do not see any of this, the table itself loses the original objectivity contained in it, and nothing, visually linking the plane remaining in front of us with a table, exists any longer. Before us is something that has a surface and an edge. That is, a plane in pure form. The plane, reduced to the idea of a plane.
At this point we depart from the usual illusionism of photography. From the fact that it is linked to the imitation of reality, and from the imitation of painting that imitates reality. In his rejection of illusionism Vadim Gushchin follows in the path of Kazimir Malevich. Because when we talk about pure forms, we recall Malevich – his works, reduced to the depiction of the pure plane.
There is a paradoxical effect in the photographing of objects. It would seem that it documents reality. That is to say, it presents things as they are. But in fact, in order to do this it takes things beyond their usual context. That is, places each separate object in a meta-position in relation to reality. And the better the shooting is done, the more accurately the thing is reproduced, the greater the size, the better the lens, then to a greater degree the thing will be estranged from its habitual existence. Having been photographed, things rise above themselves.
Photography transforms things into the images of things. The question which arises is about the aim. In advertising, it is obvious: the elevated image of an object contributes to sales. In Vadim Gushchin’s artistic space industrial objects are transformed into sculptures. And each of these sculptures gives witness to its source – the Universe of Malevich.
Vadim Gushchin balances on the thin edge of the object-objectless. The world of ideas – is the world of Malevich. The space of objects – is the space of consumerism. By putting objects from the supermarket into Malevich’s cosmos, Gushchin returns them to that place from whence they once came. To the primordial void. To the space of pure ideas.