“The land without people for people without the land”
(the slogan of Jewish immigration to Palestine)
Ukrainian artist Nikita Shalennyi in ARTVILNIUS’15 will present one of the most impressive works dedicated to the consumption topic that will become the central art piece of the fair. A special project will be realized with ARTSVIT gallery’s support.
Installation “Siberia” is 20 metres in length and 4 metres in width will be installed in LITEXPO Exposition Hall 5. The installation requires 1,000 green fabric towels made in China, which has become a symbol of cheap and fast modern production.
“Siberia” is addressing a complex ravel of issues accommodated within the past, present, and future of Siberia, bringing forward an astonishing visual portrait of the enduring might, mystery and beauty on a massive scale.
When flying over Siberia and exploring the landscape from the sky one cannot help, but relish the sense of overwhelming scale, openness and freedom, wild, unspoiled beauty and peace. There is a belief that its name originates from the Siberian Tatar word for “Sleeping Land” (Sib Ir). This sleeping beauty is now a part of Russia, constituting 77 percent of its territory, inhabited only by 27 percent of the country’s population.
The take over dates back to the 16th century when the first groups of traders and blood thirsty Cossacks began to enter the area and the Russian army began to conquer and set up forts farther and farther East. By the mid-17th century areas controlled by Russia have expanded to the Pacific, paving the way for the migration of 7 million Russians later in the 19-th century. By the 20th century the Soviets had mounted the large-scale infrastructure of resource exploitation, the one way parasitic relationship between the empire and the colony has entered its peak.
While extracting the best out of Siberia, Russia has treated it as a waste land for all that’s unwanted. Some of the worst known places of human suffering such as the slave labor GULAG camps have attributed Siberia the reputation of depressive, desolate part of the world. Being sent to Siberia is considered the worst punishment in the mind of any post-soviet dweller even today.
In 2014 Russia has broken the seal on the “Pandora’s box” over the territorial world order established after the end of WWII. By annexing Crimea it has created a precedent allowing other imperialistically minded countries to reconsider their options and view expansion as a valid possibility. Learning from mistakes of Russia in Ukraine, China, a modest, hard working long time guest of Siberia has now enough of its people assimilated, married to local Siberians, holding Russian passports, bringing up children that look and speak Chinese, ploughing its land, running the business, getting hold of political control… If the take over of parts of Siberia by China does soon happen, it will be done without a need for army.
Art Expert Masha Shaluieva