Cemetery Dialogue


Contemporary Russian cemetery culture represents an isle of individual freedom, the quintessence of personal utterance, and a space that remains a place of expression (no matter how reserved), despite all the religious canons, the Soviet past and its social nature. The Russian cemetery has absorbed virtually all the burial codes of the past. It incorporates the medieval cemetery with its funeral monuments and stone walls, modernist experiments, the mystery and anonymity of the Soviet period, the rampant 1990s, and the megalomania of the 2000s. All these aesthetic and ideological judgments are gathered into a single pithy work that is bounded by its allotted parcel of land.

The cemetery is a universal means of preserving human memory and a person’s last possibility of reminding others of himself. However, in today’s world, different media such as photo, video and social networking services may well be a lot better suited for these purposes. It seems that the word “universality” is totally disappearing from our life. Facebook has gone the furthest in cemetery culture. Here you can create a memorialized account and transfer its control to a relative or other person that you designate as the “legacy contact” (official Facebook term). “A legacy contact is someone you choose to look after your account if it’s memorialized. Your legacy contact will have the option to write a pinned post for your profile (example: to share a final message on your behalf or provide information about a memorial service), respond to new friend requests, and update your profile picture and cover photo.”

When analyzing the artworks chosen for the exhibition, the curator remarked that many of the artists on the open call’s short list treated the theme of a person’s disappearance and made allusions to the otherworld and the departure from the world of reality. In addition, the theme of the cemetery brings together not only the artworks but also the very mood of the artists’ applications for the open call. Many of the latter were marked by a certain sadness, disarray and the expectation of a final utterance.

In this way, every open call is a cemetery of sorts. It is sometimes a cemetery of ideas, when an artist sends a sketch that never becomes a work. For some artists, selection and recognition also provide an opportunity to acquire confidence in their abilities. When this is not successful, they sometimes abandon artistic work altogether.

The transformation of cemetery culture continues.

The exposition includes the work of the 21 winners of the open call. Participants include both Russian and European artists. In all, over 300 applications were submitted to the open call, and winners were selected through a vote by Fragment Gallery artists. Open call participants were intentionally not bounded by any limitations: the theme of the exhibition was chosen subsequently after an analysis of selected works. The curator of the resulting exhibition Cemetery Dialogue is Fragment Gallery artist Ilya Fedotov-Fedorov.

Participants of the exhibition: Agafonov Alexander, Artemenko Elena, Bekchintayev Aidar, Bogomolova Anastasia, Bolokhov Dmitry, Vepreva Anastasia, Galyga Ksenia, Zabrodin Anton, Kirichenko Daria, Korchagina Tatyana, Kushaev Anton, Madanova Gaisha, Maksimov Mikhail, Petrakova Irina, Prilepa Vasily, Sattar Gemma , Seleznev Nikita, Hamov Alexey, Yamlikhanova Elena, Miesgang Ernst, Williams Sam.