Response to the clash with terrain

Response to the clash with terrain

Nadezhda Striga
Author
Nadezhda Striga
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Perhaps, it is the anonymity of narrators that helps the landscape remain imaginary.















Death of an organism or landscape occurs naturally or with the help of another, and this other may be the state.















This approach broadens the perspective and allows you to change the focus settings to discover other relationships between people or elements of territory.

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, there were mostly wooden houses on the banks on the Tagil River. In 1899, a young teacher Kuzma Rudiy set up a garden on one of the plots of land and for a quarter of the century he planted the Nizhny Tagil factory village with trees and shrubs. He bred frost-resistant varieties of apple and pear trees and received the medal as a “Pioneer of the Northern Gardening” (1911). In 1937 he was arrested and shot. Kuzma’s son Lev and his wife Valentina took care of the garden for another 20 years. In the 1960s, when Lev Kuzmich died, the city vacated the territory near the river for a construction site: Valentina and her daughter were moved to an apartment, their old house was demolished and a part of the garden was destroyed. Nothing was ever built on this wasteland, and today some rare trees from the Rudiy’s garden have degenerated and produce wild fruits.

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Grapes and apples of the Rudiy’ garden, collected in 1948; The Rudiys’ garden and house, 1949; Grapes and apples of the Rudiy’ garden, collected in 1948; Kuzma Vasilievich Rudiy – one of the first gardeners of the city Photos provided by the MKUK “Nizhny Tagil Museum-Reserve “Gornozavodskoi Ural”, https://museum-nt.ru

At first glance, such an abandoned territory can be found in any city. Some Tagil residents still remember that there was the Rudiys’ garden here, others remember how they swam on a pallet, summoned spirits, or looked for adventures instead of lessons. The functional ambiguity of the wasteland sets imagination free, and the recollections resemble unconscious or artistic gestures that appropriate a place.

Anton Vinogradov’s house is located not far from the Tagil River floodplain, where he shot the series “Places where I played truant ” (2019). This project went through several stages and seemed complete at each one of them. Anton acted consistently: he asked the passers-by about their memories of this place, then performed their story in the floodplain – laid apples, bottles on the ground, kindled a fire in the form of a circle or built a raft from pallets – and took pictures. Thus, a collective imaginary location appeared on photos. If in the conversations the passers-by partake in the project, then the artistic redesign of the stories Anton makes alone – he puts several private stories related to the river onto the artistic plane. Perhaps, it is the anonymity of narrators that helps the landscape remain imaginary.

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Anton Vinogradov. Photos from the series “Places where I played truant”, 2019. Published with the author’s permission

In the late 1980s, the “Belarusian Climate” group similarly constructed imaginary territories for a photo documentation, they invited a photographer to the action, and no audience. In the “Conquest of the Belarusian Deserts” artists staged their own stories on the sand pits near Zaslavl, filling in the gaps of the collective memory(2).

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The “Belarusian Climate” group. Fragments from documentation of the action “Conquest of the Belarusian deserts”, 1988. Photo: Igor Korzun. Source: http://zbor.kalektar.org/14

Prior to “Places where I played truant”, Anton lived and studied for nine years in St. Petersburg. During this period, he shot landscapes and portraits in Karelia for three years. I planned a series like in the “Sleeping by the Mississippi” of Alec Soth: walked along the water and took pictures of people, habitat, nature. Into the final photo book “The Nature of Violence” (2017) Anton included only landscapes. The photographs show the post-Soviet North, fragments of the map clarify the geography.

In the project, Anton represents violence and death as the natural components of life. A viewer, like the photographer, is left alone with the landscape. Absence of a direct look at another person and disorientation in space can cause anxiety, as it happens when you wander in an unfamiliar area, or boredom from the usual transit wasteland. Anton began shooting in 2014, when conservative tendencies in the Russian politics were enforced, so instead of urban activism he chose to “go to the forest”. Strictly speaking, he stayed close to political topics, because he photographed places along the White Sea-Baltic Canal named after Stalin. However, he did not focus on Stalin’s repressions period and did not limit the knowledge about the territory to one historical event that determined the lives of many locals. He mentally and literally went with the flow, reacted to his collisions with place and information. From his photographs you can’t tell that in this area in the 1930s people massively died and became victims of violence. However, as in any landscape, birth, death and other elements of life take place. Today, the abandoned Belomorkanal is not used for its intended purpose, the residents of settlements along the water have little work and prospects – this contributes to the thoughts about death and the finiteness of ideas. Death of an organism or landscape occurs naturally or with the help of another, and this other may be the state.

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Anton Vinogradov. Photos from the series “The Nature of Violence”, 2017. Published with the author’s permission.

After talking about «The Nature of Violence», I noticed that there is a clash with the landscape in the other works of Anton. For example, in the video “Awareness of the concrete beach’s length” (2019) (4), Anton walks along the embankment of the Neva river and approximately every 10 meters rings circle clamps designed for boats. The boundaries of the concrete beach are shown quite clearly at the beginning and end of the video, and the rings seem to line up in a scale, with which Anton interacts. For the work “Not a Fountain” (2018), the artist collected garbage from the territory of Peterhof and exhibited it in the “QuartaRiata” gallery nearby. It seems that the lack of attention to fountains in favor of garbage is his conscious choice to notice more elements in the landscape.

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Anton Vinogradov. Screenshot from the video “Awareness of a concrete beach’s length”, 2019. Published with the author’s permission

Green alleys in the factory village and his personal “Garden of Eden” grew out of Kuzma Rudiy’s reaction to Tagil streets without birches and apple trees. Imaginary spaces in the works of Anton Vinogradov emerged thanks to an attentive gaze, capable of ignoring stencils, historically or worldly preinstalled in the landscape. This approach broadens the perspective and allows you to change the focus settings to discover other relationships between people or elements of territory. Anton meets with agents of the place – passers-by, sources of sound, garbage, memory and feelings, and the documents from meetings become the source of his projects or work.

 

 

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, there were mostly wooden houses on the banks on the Tagil River. In 1899, a young teacher Kuzma Rudiy set up a garden on one of the plots of land and for a quarter of the century he planted the Nizhny Tagil factory village with trees and shrubs. He bred frost-resistant varieties of apple and pear trees and received the medal as a “Pioneer of the Northern Gardening” (1911). In 1937 he was arrested and shot. Kuzma’s son Lev and his wife Valentina took care of the garden for another 20 years. In the 1960s, when Lev Kuzmich died, the city vacated the territory near the river for a construction site: Valentina and her daughter were moved to an apartment, their old house was demolished and a part of the garden was destroyed. Nothing was ever built on this wasteland, and today some rare trees from the Rudiy’s garden have degenerated and produce wild fruits.

At first glance, such an abandoned territory can be found in any city. Some Tagil residents still remember that there was the Rudiys’ garden here, others remember how they swam on a pallet, summoned spirits, or looked for adventures instead of lessons. The functional ambiguity of the wasteland sets imagination free, and the recollections resemble unconscious or artistic gestures that appropriate a place. (1)

Anton Vinogradov’s house is located not far from the Tagil River floodplain, where he shot the series “Places where I played truant ” (2019). This project went through several stages and seemed complete at each one of them. Anton acted consistently: he asked the passers-by about their memories of this place, then performed their story in the floodplain – laid apples, bottles on the ground, kindled a fire in the form of a circle or built a raft from pallets – and took pictures. Thus, a collective imaginary location appeared on photos. If in the conversations the passers-by partake in the project, then the artistic redesign of the stories Anton makes alone – he puts several private stories related to the river onto the artistic plane. Perhaps, it is the anonymity of narrators that helps the landscape remain imaginary.

In the late 1980s, the “Belarusian Climate” group similarly constructed imaginary territories for a photo documentation, they invited a photographer to the action, and no audience. In the “Conquest of the Belarusian Deserts” artists staged their own stories on the sand pits near Zaslavl, filling in the gaps of the collective memory(2).

Prior to “Places where I played truant”, Anton lived and studied for nine years in St. Petersburg. During this period, he shot landscapes and portraits in Karelia for three years. I planned a series like in the “Sleeping by the Mississippi” of Alec Soth: walked along the water and took pictures of people, habitat, nature. Into the final photo book “The Nature of Violence” (2017) Anton included only landscapes. The photographs show the post-Soviet North, fragments of the map (3) clarify the geography.

In the project, Anton represents violence and death as the natural components of life. A viewer, like the photographer, is left alone with the landscape. Absence of a direct look at another person and disorientation in space can cause anxiety, as it happens when you wander in an unfamiliar area, or boredom from the usual transit wasteland. Anton began shooting in 2014, when conservative tendencies in the Russian politics were enforced, so instead of urban activism he chose to “go to the forest”. Strictly speaking, he stayed close to political topics, because he photographed places along the White Sea-Baltic Canal named after Stalin. However, he did not focus on Stalin’s repressions period and did not limit the knowledge about the territory to one historical event that determined the lives of many locals. He mentally and literally went with the flow, reacted to his collisions with place and information. From his photographs you can’t tell that in this area in the 1930s people massively died and became victims of violence. However, as in any landscape, birth, death and other elements of life take place. Today, the abandoned Belomorkanal is not used for its intended purpose, the residents of settlements along the water have little work and prospects – this contributes to the thoughts about death and the finiteness of ideas. Death of an organism or landscape occurs naturally or with the help of another, and this other may be the state.

After talking about «The Nature of Violence», I noticed that there is a clash with the landscape in the other works of Anton. For example, in the video “Awareness of the concrete beach’s length” (2019) (4), Anton walks along the embankment of the Neva river and approximately every 10 meters rings circle clamps designed for boats. The boundaries of the concrete beach are shown quite clearly at the beginning and end of the video, and the rings seem to line up in a scale, with which Anton interacts. For the work “Not a Fountain” (2018), the artist collected garbage from the territory of Peterhof and exhibited it in the “QuartaRiata” gallery nearby. It seems that the lack of attention to fountains in favor of garbage is his conscious choice to notice more elements in the landscape.

Green alleys in the factory village and his personal “Garden of Eden” grew out of Kuzma Rudiy’s reaction to Tagil streets without birches and apple trees. Imaginary spaces in the works of Anton Vinogradov emerged thanks to an attentive gaze, capable of ignoring stencils, historically or worldly preinstalled in the landscape. This approach broadens the perspective and allows you to change the focus settings to discover other relationships between people or elements of territory. Anton meets with agents of the place – passers-by, sources of sound, garbage, memory and feelings, and the documents from meetings become the source of his projects or work.