I know what you did when you were thirteen
Anna Nova gallery presents new paintings of an artist from Saint-Petersburg Irina Drozd. The project, ironically called ‘I know what you did when you were 13’, tells us about childhood memories, first love and first strong ‘adult’ emotions. The second floor of the gallery is turned into a porch of a typical block of flats in the dormitory suburbs; there are the portraits of its inhabitants on the walls.
"‘I will never forgive you! You are my enemy forever! I wish you were dead, $%#@!’ Teenagers use simple childish cruelty with a truly mature refinement. The world is opening for them with its abundance of temptations and disappointments. Teenagers behave differently - they have less self-confidence than children, but more emotions than adults. With a feigned indifference they peer into the dim and uncertain future. They are sure that everything is already decided and will stay this way forever.
‘He’s done with his youthful follies’- they say about some successful businessman, examining his teenage photos, where he’s wearing a leather jacket and ridiculous spurs. But someone is still there, in his youth, has stayed there, having failed to resist the craving for the forbidden – drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex. They became victims of other’s hard-heartedness and their own carelessness. Youthful maximalism gives us a new lease of live, lets our feelings out. It teaches us the unbearable seriousness of being, which ceases to be delusive in a youth.
The unexpected seriousness is very characteristic of Irina Drozd’s last painting series. The transient, borderline states that she reconstructs and examines seem infinitely, paradoxically serous to her. In ‘Another dimension’ series (2012) she explored the fundamental principles of being that are laid in the basis of St.Petersburg facades from a touristic viewpoint. In her new project she makes perfectly beautiful pictures of teenagers who scream – ‘I don’t need your beauty!’ She finds the moments and situations in which different values come into contact and create a unique artistic text. There’s no showing-off, no patronizing irony, affected light-mindedness or bragging directed to the art-market. It’s a hundred-per-cent portraiture without jeering.
Teenagers hide in the porches and limit themselves by the freedom of a constant search of own identity, listening to the music which in any next generation will still remind the accords of David Bowie’s soundtrack for ‘We children of Zoo Station’. Is there anything biographical in Irina Drozd’s new series? And is it really important? The answer to this question will distract us from another rhetorical question and the main problem of this exhibition which we try not to notice, which should be outgrown and done with.
The artist looks into the hidden mechanisms of seriousness in our life. They are visible in the facial features, artless tattoos, movies’ cliché imbibed with a childish simplicity and ingenuousness. At 13 our perception is as vivid as never after. At this age we know who we are and where we are going, but we are afraid to admit it."
The exhibition "I know what you did when you were thirteen" opens on April 3, 2015 at 7 p.m.
As a parallel programm for Irina Drozd project in Anna Nova gallery there is an exhibition of Irina’s graphical works, called "Hunger", in a studio of Zhilin brothers – young but already well-known design-architects from St.Petersburg. There will be exhibited small ironic graphical works, depicting surreal stories from childhood and two paintings.
By the way, the studio of the twin brothers is itself a work of art. It’s situated in the palace of Mikhail Romanov on the English Embankment and apart from the most splendid view it has the remarkable architectural design, based on the respect of the historical past of the building and conservation of the authentical elements of its decoration.
The exhibition "Hunger" will be open in Zhilin Brothers Studio from April 6 until May 15, 2015.