About‘Once it happened, backfired’ is a reflection of the artist on his past experience — the events that a person tries in vain to retain in his memory. The theme emerges as a kind of promise of getting acquainted and penetrating into a personal story and of immersing oneself in an account of what has happened. The viewer trustfully accepts this promise and, convinced by the artist of the correctness of his interpretations, becomes involved in a system of deceptively simple signs. The images, perceived as familiar and close, suddenly slip away from the viewer’s recognition: they neither reveal or clarify nor refer to anything.
The exhibition begins with an installation that is mesh object pieced together by Shchurenkov manually from garbage bags using the technique of weaving fishing nets that he had learned from his father. This biographical detail arouses the audience's interest: was his father a fisherman or not? If he wasn’t, how did he know how to weave nets? Will the artist describe the relations that connected them? Or, perhaps, being so frank, will he say why this symbol of succession and inheritance of practices and abilities are so important to him?
Each of the works presented at the exhibition has this private dimension. Images on large silk panels are based on photos of memorable places made by Shchurenkov with his cell phone while traveling (series ‘Travel Diary’, digital prints on silk, 2018). Coloured multi-layer collages made of adhesive tape reproduce picturesque landscapes and precious events that took place there (series ‘Untitled (In Loving Memory of)’, 2018). To the audience, they appear in a completely different guise. Strips of tape are torn from white canvases with different intensity, leaving behind only pieces and scraps, which, like a carcass of memories, hold the original images. The pictures left in the phone are muffled by visual noise. Shchurenkov deliberately chooses nondescript shots similar to pictures found in the brochures of travel agencies or anybody’s phone. They become exceptional thanks to the emotional and sensual response that they evoke. However, this response is totally lacking in the reconstructed image. After printing these photographs, Shchurenkov overlays them with color segments and planes, somewhat like a collage, replacing the details provoking the affective reaction. He photographs the resulting image, blending the different compositional and structural elements. Printed on fabric, the image loses its collage nature, and the original and superimposed layers become indistinguishable.
The viewer may wonder why Shchurenkov employs all these "traps" of perception. The reason is that they are not just used to destroy a narrative and create a situation where it is impossible to imagine a coherent story but also serve as a means of transferring the event and its experience from a self-evident narrative into the space of the act of recollection itself. "I am talking about something" gives way to a very different semantic figure "I am talking about how I am recalling something," or — "I am talking about the desire to recall".