Zolotov crafts a sprawling survey of misanthropy, isolation, and social rejection in the context of contemporary youth culture through intensive artistic studies of the ephemera of Kurt Cobain, the iconic vocalist of Nirvana. The artwork connects how these various elements of the dark side of modern adolescence relate to an ongoing roiling cycle of self-harm, addiction, and ultimately, premature self-destruction among marginalized young people today.
In Zolotov’s artwork, Cobain represents both the inception and encapsulation of an extremely virulent strain of nihilistic aimlessness melded with hedonism which has only expanded in scope in the years following the singer’s death in 1994. This uncontrolled growth has only been further stoked by the omnipresence of social media, and arguably can be directly linked to the opioid crisis currently ravaging many American working class communities. While Zolotov’s artwork calls attention to a toxic mindset on a societal level, his depictions of both Cobain and this overarching sense of despondence are uniquely intimate. Tattered pages covered with barely legible faded text and appropriated images from Cobain’s personal journal are re-printed and blown up to large scale. His doodles are recreated in a variety of non-traditional mixed media, ranging from house paint, to sand, to vegetable juice. While still embodying a sense of rough-edged coarseness, Zolotov’s renderings relay sensitivity, compassion, and even identification with these lost individuals.