A bench, a photo, a sound of the song and a title - here is four components of the work by Nikolay Karabinovych exhibited in the PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv now.
On initial acquaintance this work doesn`t turns out a speed in becoming integral for you. Its elements, its actors, even contradict each other. The photo illustrates the sound of the song, but documentary visibility of it tries to separate into independent message. The title of the work - a quotation and at the same time a metaphor - refers to a context that seems to be allegedly absent here. A white low bench may seem an absurd element of this empty interior, a sort of compromise that fills a gap, or a parody of the exhibition space in a museum where a sofa in front of a picture exists as an invitation to a long job of the sight.
It becomes clear at some point, that this work contains several parts more, that are completely taken out of brackets, the most important among them is the author's journey, about which he tells in one of his interviews:
In 1949 my great-grandfather, a Greek, was repressed and sent to Kazakhstan. I heard a lot about this from my father, who had never seen him, and knows this story only from stories of his mother. My father always wanted to get to the grave of great-grandfather, and I decided to carry it out together with him.
To create his work, Nikolay set off on a journey to the village of Chilik, a multiethnic village in Kazakhstan, where Greeks, Chechens and Germans were deported after the Second World War and where they were living next to the locals. Not far from the village he installed a commemorative sign - a column with a loudspeaker, which plays a song written by composer Yuriy Gurzhy for this artwork.
The song is written in the genre of rembetica - the style that was formed in Greece in the 20s-30s of the XX century, after the so-called Asia Minor Holocaust - the massacres of Greeks from Pontus and Anatolia and their escape to Greece.
You will hear my scream from the settlement Chilik
This song is my trace, while I've passed away
The intertwining of historical realities, the swarm of surrounding concepts, their coherence and mutual claim in this song are transformed, pass through a painful and necessary metamorphosis so that the critical meaning could be formed in the only truly important
and disturbing thing - in someone's destiny.
Cold and clear composition attempts to seem ordinary - but creates something extraordinarily characteristic. As if the essential can be caught from the criss-crossing roads of history and could become someone's voice, which can be missed, which could be wanted to hear again: by the voice of expelled, excluded person.
Destiny and character are considered to be causally related, and character is defined as the cause of fate. The reason for this is the following: if, on the one hand, the character of a person is thoroughly known, in other words, how he reacts to the world, on the other hand, everything is known about the course of events in those spheres in which the world affects the character, to say with certainty what will happen to such a character and what actions he himself will be capable of. Consequently, his fate is known in advance.
(W. Benjamin, Fate and Character, Benjamin, Walter, Theory of Similarity, Media Aesthetic Works, Collection of Articles, M.: 2012)
The work of Nikolay Karabinovych is devoted to time - historical and biographical, the extent of which is measured not by years, not by hours, but by the ratio between the so-called verdict of history and the time of someone's life. This work is not looking for a dramatic historical turn, but encourages the event to happen. The story is not told, but comes to existence - illogical, stretching its` tentacles to diverse territories, events and dates; something that cannot be reduced, turned into a list of dates and incidents.
Such an approach is surprising in the lack of frontality. It is impossible to see the protagonist of this work - neither the artist, nor those he met, nor the one on whose behalf the song is written. As if in the void existing fragments are a carefully organized and prepared reminder that creates the feeling of meeting.