Otdelnov’s paintings are an attempt to find signs hidden throughout history, leading to the war we have today.
The exhibition comprises several conceptual elements, starting with Ressentiment which unites paintings themed around the Soviet Union, its failed attempts at monetary reforms and the destruction of its military potential. Otdelnov builds on the notion of ressentiment, an instinctive psychological reaction associated with a sense of hostility and resentment. As such, the works communicate the rootedness of Russia’s recent propaganda in the feeling of injustice at the outcome of the Cold War, which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of its “superpower” status.
Meanwhile, Generation directly addresses the artist’s contemporaries: a generation of people who have bravely taken to the streets to protest and demand change, be it to seek fairer elections or to speak out against censorship and war. It is now estimated that over 15,000 people have been detained during the protests this year and over 200,000 Russians have left the country since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in 2022. People whose lives have been radically uprooted are juxtaposed here with representatives of the ruling elites whose power originated in the repressive structures of the late Soviet state.
The exhibition concludes with The Beautiful Afar, an idiomatic phrase in Russian culture which references a fictitious place of idyllic carefree life and prosperity. This section acts as a direct commentary on the sentiment of post-Soviet nostalgia and traditions that continue to coexist alongside the realities of contemporary life in, and sometimes outside of, Russia.
The exhibition builds on Otdelnov’s original studies for larger works presented at Sweden’s Kalmar konstmuseum (25 May–28 August 2022). This new iteration is facilitated by Pushkin House and is part of our mission to support independently minded Russian creatives at this time. The possibility of Otdelnov creating these new works is a result of his latest move to the UK as a Global Talent endorsed by the Arts Council England and supported by Pushkin House. All works in the exhibition are for sale and the proceeds from Otdelnov’s silk screen prints will be donated to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal of the Disasters Emergency Committee.
About Pavel Otdelnov
Pavel Otdelnov was born in 1979 in Dzerzhinsk, Russia. He graduated from the Moscow State Academic Art Institute named after V. I. Surikov and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Moscow. Since 1996, Otdelnov’s work has been shown widely in Russia and elsewhere, in both public and private contexts. In 2022, he had solo shows at Uppsala Art Museum, Uppsala, and at Kalmar Art Museum, Kalmar. In 2011–2012, he had a series of solo shows in Spain: at Casa de los Picos, Segovia; Juana Frances Hall, Madrid; Museo Casa Natal de Cervantes, Alcala de Henares; and the Cultural Center Quinta del Berro, Madrid. He has also taken part in exhibitions at MG+MSUM, Ljubljana; the Maritime Centre Vellamo, Kotka; Frederiksborg Castle, Copenhagen; Ljungberg Museum, Ljungby; Erarta Gallery in New York and Shtager Gallery in London. In 2021, he became the Finalist of the Kandinsky Prize in the nomination Project of the Year. In 2017, he became a Laureate of the Sergey Kuryokhin Contemporary Art Award (Special Prize of the French Institute). In 2020, he won the Innovation State Prize in the nomination Artist of the Year, and was named The Artist of the Year by Cosmoscow Foundation. His works are in the collections of the Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), the State Russian Museum (St Petersburg), Uppsala Art Museum (Uppsala), the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Moscow), the Institute of Russian Realist Art (Moscow), the National Centre of Contemporary Art (Moscow), the Pushkin Museum (Moscow), Sergey Kuryokhin Modern Art Museum (St Petersburg), as well as in private collections worldwide.