Saving the Castaways

Rette die Schiffbrüchigen

An orange bath and a small orange inflatable boat from military equipment are set in the center of the gallery. The rubber boat is filled brim with gypsum, and a small television is walled into gypsum. The TV plays an endless loop record of a video performance that took place in the summer 1998 in Luga, on the Green Lake. The performance consisted of the following: I floated in a rubber boat in the lake, rowing up with hands. An expensive camera was installed directly over the boat. During the performance, a leak in boat was discovered in the middle of the lake. The boat began to deflate. It was supplied with a special hand pump. I had to continually inflate the boat during the transit of the boat over the lake.

During the exhibition at the gallery POLYGON, I did the second performance. The orange bath was filling with tap water. Finally, the bath was full, and the faucet was turned off. I opened four bags with gypsum and overturned them into the bath. Then the gypsum was thoroughly mixed. I undressed and, wrapped up in a thin plastic bag, I immersed in hot gypsum. I continued to lie until it completely hardened. The bath was previously supplied with a special hammer. With its help, I broke the hardened gypsum, and left the bath.

The work is dedicated to the memory of my schoolmate Stanislav Vasilyev who died in an accident. In summer 1998, Stas worked in one of the Luga summer vacation centers on the banks of the picturesque Green Lake. After a party with his colleagues, he was riding in a car with them, returning to camp. He was at the rear seat, where he fell in a deep sleep on the road. Approaching the lake, the slightly drunk colleagues lost control and the car crashed into the lake. All of them were able to jump off a locked car and swam out of the lake, but Stas was left alone to sleep on its bottom locked in the car. None of his colleagues tried to save him.