Sergey Kalinin

A Lannister always pays his debts
16.03.2016 — 29.03.2016, Triumph Gallery

In his project Moscow-based artist Sergey Kalinin addresses TV series — the main cultural passion of our age. Through his matchless picturesque talent he shows what is concealed in them. In his chosen detail of «The Game of Thrones», «True Detective», «Sherlock», «Breaking bad» the depth of meaning for which we intuitively love these stories, is made clear.

Things that the audience doesn’t notice, fascinated by the plot, — the artist shows as symbolic. Every moment reseen by Kalinin turns into philosophy, politics and art history. The way he paints can create an illusion of «previously unseen classic’s masterpiece». You can assume that it is Caravaggio —but that is Ramsay Snow torturing Theon Greyjoy.

The artist is interested in specifics of national, territorial view. For him «Sherlock» is not just a detective, but the impersonation of «britishness». When Sherlock and his brother, high ranked employee of the ministry, hide cigarettes from their mother like children — it reminds of «Monty Python» with its «The Ministry of Silly Walks». Though we can see what they have hidden — and in Kalinin’s project the true detective is the viewer, exploring the paths of cultural associations. Two bottles of pills from «Pharmacological Duel» of Holmes — is simultaneously Damien Hirst with his project about medicine as a new religion, and Francis Bacon with his figures in transparent cells, and the key moment of «The Matrix», when you have to choose — whether you remain as a «source of power» for a deceitful system, or quit to live with an awful truth.

In each of the artistic cycles there is a dominating genre, which exposes the character of the show. In «The Game of Thrones» it is a nature morte: we see flesh, blood, people cropped like torsos — same meat. There is property, possessing objects, even people — nothing but objects, tools used to reach a goal. In «True Detective» it is a landscape, shown as a roadmovie, typical American Cinematic genre. Action takes place engulfing the human, destroying him, — and peaceful scenery hides its implication to tragedy, like in «Blow-up» by Antonioni.

The painting is usually composed of many frames — in order to escape anything random and inharmonious. Every cycle has its own internal dramaturgy: chosen moments recall each other, showing the viewer the meaning of the movie. For example in «Breaking Bad» a bloody handprint appears twice (in one of the theories it indicates the birth of paleolithic art). When it first appears, the main character is the hunter following the prey, the second time, when the hunter becomes the prey. The spider in a jar and the teddy bear that fell into Walter’s pool from a crashed plane — that moments make Walter understand how destructive his actions are. A surrealistic detail — teddy’s eye that Walter holds in his hand — a metaphor for «taking a look inside yourself».

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