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Mute Blaze
Egor Fedorychev

19.03.2021 – 22.05.2021

Friedrich Schelling, the German classical philosopher, argued that painting employs two non-corporeal and spiritual tools: light and colors 2, both necessary to depict nature as an unconsciously spiritual creative principle, which remains in an unchanging, eternal state in absolute spacetime.

The spiritualization of nature and its unity with man, inherent to romanticism, is found today in new ontologies that arise from a desire to describe the natural world independently of human existence. "The difference ... [between them] is that today's philosophers of nature no longer view their subject as a mirror of the spirit, the universe of divine creation ... but seek to understand the world as it really is."3 While accepting this distinction, can we still apply the expressive "assets" mentioned above to newly emerging philosophical concepts? Do we have everything at our disposal to represent this Absolute — an incomprehensible, simultaneously frightening and delightful, ominous, majestic and immense world-without-us? Maybe there are already flags flying over our heads, picturesque landscapes of critical realism, gonfalons4 raised high?

Our gaze plunges into the cool blue-green murk of a swampy lake, then rushes to a straw-colored field and earthy glades continue onward to a grassy hill stretching to the very horizon and disappearing into a pastel distance and rolls down its gentle slope to the fresh undergrowth and then into a dark, wide swath of forest glimpsed through the fog.

These picturesque images of a world without humans are the promise of enjoying "the higher Law ... [and] the true light of unspoiled and undistorted nature."5 However, the promise is not kept because we fall into the trap of the artistic tradition: "Every drawing or painting that used perspective proposed to the spectator that he was the unique center of the world."6 This trap continually brings us back to ourselves, ascribing the ability to see and comprehend exclusively to humans. The traditional canon of art is clearly too limited to accommodate something that, in terms of spacetime, is many times greater than a person.

However, this does not mean that the tradition cannot be challenged. The intuition of artistic language can be reclaimed, as convincingly demonstrated by Yegor Fedorichev's "silent glow". The exhibition creates something simple, an effect that comes off as a general impression. It doesn't come out of a landscape — an archetypal image of nature — but out of the artist's struggle with his own language, with the way his language is understood by the tradition to which he belongs.

The exhibition opens with three vertical stretcherless canvases that span from floor to ceiling, then continues with a large-format canvas resembling a portal, and ends with two opposing pictorial planes, one tiled and one textile. "History" is hidden behind one of them.


The first three works are compositionally based on the conflict of two figurative components: realistic landscapes in the center and abstractions encroaching from all sides. The landscapes are replicas, allusions and reminiscences of paintings by Russian artists of the late 19th century. Depicted on colorless military tarpaulins, faded or tarnished, modest, soft and lyrical, they suggest the trace of a classic tradition addressed to pristine and untouched nature. They represent the historical dimension. This is the "archaeological" layer of the exhibition.


The abstract shapes are formed from vivid layers of color. The palette and texture are associated with the human body and bodily secretions. The abstraction is energetic and assertive, the landscape is static and calm, and the contrast suggests a threat between them. Surprisingly, there is no real answer to the question of who (or what) is threatening. Because a landscape can be interpreted both through the image (views of nature) and through culture (a work of art), this affects our perception of the abstraction: it may take the form of something human, or of obscure and impressive natural forces.

Fedorichev's intuition grasps the complex relationships within this conceptual system and transfers it to the plane of art. Layers and drips of stubborn and unyielding substances clash with realistic images, revealing tensions between them and provoking anomalies and breakdowns in the painting tradition. The result is a renewal of the artistic language.

Roland Barthes wrote in an essay about Cy Twombly: “Whatever the metamorphoses of painting, whatever the support and the frame, we are always faced with the same question: what is happening, there? Whether we deal with canvas, paper or wall, we deal with a stage where something is happening... So that we must take a painting... as a kind of traditional stage: the curtain rises, we look, we wait, we receive, we understand."7

What is happening at Fedorichev's "Silent Glow" exhibition? Captivated by some big, lofty idea, we gather under its banner and set off on a crusade. We march through the black impenetrable mouth of the portal into the frightening unknown, where we will either rest against the cool blue tiles of bathrooms, restrooms and public spaces, forfeiting our spiritual, romanticized aspirations for the bourgeois way of life; or we will find new imagery and language in the folds and wrinkles, and learn to portray our feelings and experiences in realms that can't be described with words. The main thing is not to stare too long at the glow that attracts us and illuminates our path, so as not to be blinded when we look away. Or like small kittens, we will start chasing imaginary sunspots behind our eyelids, mistaking them for reality.


2 Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von. On the Relation of the Plastic Arts to Nature // Schelling, F.W.J. Works: vol. 2. T. 2. - M., 1989. p. 75.

3 Timofeeva, Oksana. Black Matter // Kramar M., Sarkisov K. (ed). Experiences in Inhuman Hospitality: An Anthology. - M .: V-A-C press, 2018. p. 167.

4 A gonfalon is a type of banner mounted on a crossbar and hanging down, like a sail.

5 Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. - SPb: Cloudberry, 2012. p.124.

6 Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. - SPb: Cloudberry, 2012. p. 22.

7 Barthes, Roland. Cy Twombly. - M.: Ad Marginem Press, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, 2020. p. 7.



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