Вадим Гущин: официальный сайт художника


Subject Interpretation

Irina Chmyreva, Ph.D., 2015
“Subject Interpretation" in programm of the 7th international Festival of Photography "PhotoVisa" // The Kuban State University, Krasnodar, Russia

The Kuban State University, Faculty of
Architecture and Design, Exhibition Hall, Lizy
Chaikinoy str., 4, 4th floor; Krasnodar

PhotoVisa presents works by the famous Russian photographer Vadim Gushchin, created in years 2014—2015. Works of recent years are a new stage in work of this prolific master, scrupulously constructing his own objective reality.

Vadim Gushchin became known in the late1980’s, when amid compound experiments of hiscolleagues he exhibited minimalist photographs of the shelves with arranged objects. Later it became clear that what was important for him was not the lower point of view on a still-life and not a shelf — pictorial technique as in early bodegons (he went through a stage of proto-still-life very quickly), but the very work with the subject. Gushchin was interested in still-life not as a classic genre of fine art, but as an area where the artist may, without explanation, work closely with a subject. Item — object — subject — thing. During three decades Gushchin has been rotating entities in front of the lens of his camera, checking them with acts of possession/aspiration to a subject/attribution/freedom (to let go, give away, not to aspire to [a thing]).

Among the fancied items of Gushchin’s camera books and the attributes of arts hold a special place. He turned to them several times, finding new perspectives of understanding their shape and function. Another role is given to the objects, meaning eternal symbols (for example, bread or tools), and the objects fixing the signs of our time, literally of the current moment. Among the latter there were plastic utensils, clothes, electronic gadgets. But even while cataloging the signs of contemporaneity Gushchin affirms the presence of a basic shape of each object; the artist is interested in the relationship of temporary, associated with momentary function, and the archetypal monumentality which is like a genetic code inherent in creations of man.

Probably the semantic saturation of simple shapes of a book and a sheet of paper, the proportionality of these objects, set out by following the Renaissance tradition, determines the frequencyof the artist’s turning to them. Over the past two years Gushchin has created a dozen of projects involving books and paper. At a first glance, this seems paradoxical: in times of digital media and the technological revolution, the artist is scrutinizing the objects symbolizing the previous stage of civilization. But not of the culture. For culture a book and a sheet of paper, being a potential carrier of the man-made image or text, have enduring value. Those shapes are something like the Ark, a container of cultural memory of mankind; representatives of new generations of creators can work on their design, but tradition (accompanying the sacred purpose of the object) stores its shape as an entity despite the encroachment of the contemporaneity.

If during the first twenty years of work Gushchin operated black-and-white photography, finding its minimalism relevant to the challenges of his own philosophical exercises, in 2010’s he started including color. Vadim Gushchin is an artist constantly educating himself; having started with the history of the European classical art he passed through preoccupation with the world contemporary photography and minimalist abstraction, where everything is possible to express with the monochrome tone and playing textures. Starting using color is associated with his personal discovery of Russian avant-garde art and iconography; both have basis in understanding of the symbolic nature of the primary colors and idea of energy profuseness of the geometric plane and expressiveness of its laconic silhouettes.

In doing so Gushchin preserves intact the thin line between the background as the plane and background as the cosmic deepness of the black hole, drawing the object in. In the projects Folders, Library of the World Literature, he approaches the objects so that he focuses already on a fragment, which is expanding its significance to all-encompassing abstraction. Color planes start moving, forming an overlap and spatial layers. This movement from the integrity of an object to the generalization of the fragment is akin to the movement of the futurists, reconstructing a picture of reality using deconstructed items.

As his predecessors, Gushchin makes this new two-dimensional angular picture start moving, the rhythmic repetition of simpleshapes creates an illusion of not just recognition of the items, but of their torsion and recognition of geometry of their construction in space and time. In the images of recent years Vadim Gushchin creates an allusion to art history, primarily to the pre-existing relationships between an artist and reality; at the same time he creates new interpretations of ordinary things, revealing their meanings which don’t belong to a brief moment of the contemporaneity.

Irina Chmyreva, Ph.D.