The Battle for the Harvest

Graphics, installations

2019 

 

Tradition is the preservation of fire, not the worship of ashes

Gustav Mahler

 

The battle for the harvest is a set expression from the Soviet history. Despite all modernistic trends of the hammer and sickle era, the fighters for the Radiant Future in promotion of their propaganda very soon understood that the only way to succeed is to rely on tradition, including the valorous heritage. This was the art they exploit to “temper the steel”, and at the same time create a brand new mythologeme, the new Epic where main characters were the leaders of the Revolution, the Stakhanovites, the Chelyuskinites, later the builders of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) and the conquerors of space. In parallel with issues of mere survival, they came to realize that heroism is valued not only in war, but in peacetime, too; and that dedicated labor for the sake of higher goals no less deserves honoring and recording into the Chronicles and the Pantheon of the builders of communism.

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With absolutely dominating cult of the uniting proletarians, the Soviet mythologeme was supplemented with inevitable praise for heroic deed of collective farmers, who were chosen not only to conquer the nature or open up the virgin lands, but also to put their muscular shoulders to the burdens of the heroic battle for the harvest, the battle for staying alive.

 

The Battle for the Harvest project shows their deeds through its own mystified view, combining the aesthetics of the Soviet agrarian south and the heroic Epic of the archaic Black Sea steppes, capturing rattling of nomad herds and knocking of railway wheels into a single meaning. Looking from the present back at the past it amalgamates together cultural levels of epochs time-spaced by millennia. The myth originating from cultural identity layers is persistent, variable and capable of transformation. Indeed, the Soviet mythologeme with its battle for the harvest was naturally associated with the cosmogony of the Migration Period, with its typical means and patterns of worldview.

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The Battle for the Harvest project is sort of “archaeological” fantasy, an attempt to consider the ancient world and our recent past though a common mythological perspective. Such point of view allows one to take the Soviet Union and its aesthetic attribution, beyond any ideology. The time went by; the past has turned into a poetic metaphor and ceases to dominate over the present.

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