“Empty house” (installation, 2014)
Artem Filatov, Vova Chernyshev
IV Moscow Biennial for Young Art, Museum of Moscow
The value placed by most Russians on wooden architecture has seen a radical decline. In the historic centers of towns and cities, wood has already given away to multi-storey concrete and glass buildings, as well as people move away from their native villages, leaving their houses. The old way of life and sensibility has become an ethnographic curiosity and is quickly fading into oblivion. Wood – the most natural of materials – consciously or unconsciously is rendering itself back to nature, to its original chaos. A wooden house is only part of vanishing world, now almost forgotten, of which only traces remain – artifacts, secrets and treasures that hardly anyone needs.
This work, a wooden structure in the museum space, is constructed out of specially collected materials that include genuine fragments of old houses that have been destroyed and abandoned. It therefore becomes a representation of all wooden structures and their connections to the real world. To one person a wooden building is an architectural monument, to another it is a historical artifact, while someone else sees it as a paradigm of harmony and craftsmanship, and yet another enjoys contemplating the process of resigned dilapidation and decay – an exquisite melancholy based on transience and imperfection that in Japan is characterized by the notion “wabi-sabi”.
The materials for the house were collected in Nizhegorodskaja region – in villages Chud, Martushiha, Monakovo, Istomino and Mogilitsi, as well as in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. Building the house it was necessary for us to keep the surface, made of different wooden logs, natural, matching the color and texture.