The Hermitage is Ours / 2017
Street Art Museum, Saint Petersburg
The artist painted the facade of a fabric building covering 1600 m² in the industrial area of St.
Peterburg as the Hermitage — one of the biggest museums in the world. He placed a statue of
Lenin in front of it. The monument is authentic — it dates back to the Soviet times when it had
been kept at the “Plastpolymer” factory and then given to the Street Art Museum for this project.
The Winter Palace and Lenin are the pieces of collapsed worlds: the former — of the emperial
world, the latter — of the Soviet one.
Nevertheless, the artwork is not about the historical buildings or events. It is about the substitution of the symbols. The Palace is the emblem of the royal family and the October Revolution, and now it is one of the most famous museums. Only during the Revolution the symbols replaced one another. This makes them very arbitrary — a shed and a storage can very easily be turned into a palace, because in the most cases the facade defines the purpose and meaning of the things.
Hall of Fame / 2016
Outdoors Festival, Rome
Оn the wall are written the names / surnames / places / dates / other important things, one way or another, influenced the work of the group, formed a style and way of thinking. For example, film directors — Fellini, Antonioni, Tarkovsky, Hitchcock, Jarmusch, Sokurov, painters — Kandinsky, Malevich, Rothko, writers — Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Mayakovsky, Pelevin, favorite cities — Rome and Saint Petersburg, and for example “Petrogradka” — bohemian neighborhood of St. Petersburg, where you can meet a lot of work on the walls of the group. On the opposite wall is an invitation for the public: look back, sometimes is necessary look back for moving forward.
It is widely known that the Russian people associate the liver with alcoholism, and jokes on this subject have become an important part of our culture. Kuril Chto’s piece entitled, “Liver” was intended as both a nod to this cultural joke as well as a commentary on Russia’s current relationship with the European Union.
“Liver”, which is a painting of an aluminum can, is intended to be ironic and have a double meaning. At the time that the artists behind the piece were planning it, the EU initiated economic sanctions against the Russian Federation, leading the Russian government to establish an embargo on European products. The artists hypothesized that living conditions in Russia could only get worse because of the embargo, in which case it would be useful for each Russian man to have a spare can of liver—but not to eat.
“Liver” can be found on the wall next to the Street Art Museum’s office on the territory of the Laminated Plastics factory on the East of Saint Petersburg.
Euroremont / 2016
In the summer of 2016, Dutch curator Melanie Post van Ophem invited Kuril Chto to the Netherlands as part of an artist’s residency program. Over the course of the summer, the artists created many works, including a performance piece entitled “Euroremont.”
While artists were in residency, the Conny Janssen Danst dance collective was holding shows at Ferro Dome, a popular Rotterdam cultural spot that had previously functioned as a gasholder. The curator of the residence asked Kuril Chto to decorate a waiting area for the audience to wait prior to the beginning of the show.
The huge space was dirty, full of garbage, and occupied by pigeons. The artists started think about ways to clean and repair the space. Kuril Chto used this opportunity to create a performance piece inspired by a joke about the popular Russian concept of “Euroremont”. While painting the walls right in front of the audience’s eyes, the artists tried to explain to them that “European standards” are what Russians use when doing quality renovations. Unfortunately, the audience did not understand the joke.