APR 1st 2017 - AUG 13th 2017


Temporary Monuments - Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich

A Long duration theme
Ana Avelar

In the series "Monumentos Temporários" Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich's body represents a tool for exploring human relationships. Working with the theme of contemporary slave labour, he creates 7-hour performances. The performances were executed in landscapes of symbolic meaning for the history of Brazil, such as: a coconut tree, the beach with vultures, a heavy sea, a lonely tree which survived on the land burned in an arson, bustling metropolitan streets, a light pole. All of them were documented and then transformed into performative objects - photos or videos are placed inside the boxes, so the viewer has to put some effort in order to see them.

These images disturb us. We get an uncomfortable as they make us shudder and strain. (A foreigner dared to point his finger and we frown). Reflecting the physical punishments and suffering of slaves, the iconography created by the artist refers to a chapter of Brazil's history that we are reluctant to recall. And this reluctance stems from the notion of "racial democracy" that is used to conceal society's racism. And the problem merges into the silence before the privilegie of a few and the struggle of the others. "Privilege blinds because the nature of privilege is to blind", states the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

An artist is neither an anthropologist, nor a sociologist. This is not his place. His work in the world relates to listening and exchanging. However, an artist can (an often does) use the tools and methods traditionally reserved for these fields of science. Even more so, when it comes to a performance artist, since the performance itself appeared as a radical form of art. The artist uses his body in a political context, puts it under pressure and at risk, putting at stake the physical integrity in pursuit of constructing the situation which would force the audience towards revising the way they relate towards each other.

Appealing to this problem through the prism of anthropology, Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich explores the Other. He maintains himself open and is changed during the process. He is bound, hung, nude and exposed. He does not break the silence because he is interested in the reaction at it's pure. He waits. The artist refers to the strategy of "long durational resistance" as a basic subject of the majority of his performances. It is aimed at the alteration of the subjective reality of the artist as well as the audience's. For the artist the process of facing both the physical and physiological risk, suffering and pain, means facing the experience which the performance aims to bring him through.

Therefore, Temporary Monuments are objects composed of a wide range of different media that include performances, photos, videos, and even sculptures (why not?) and they don't intend to be settled in the traditional landscape. The aim of these hybrid objects lies in existing in a definite time frame and constitute a symbol of high physical efforts. As the artist puts it: "These are structures that one can not engrave in stone, yet the enjoy a continuous sense of momentum. While the real monuments leave the traces in the landscape, the works of Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich evoke memories of the anonymous pain, and, primarily, the inextinguishable human impulse to move forward.


© 2017 Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo