Sergey Zarva: Library of Optimism

For a short while REGINA Gallery will turn into a temporary library of the past. This project has been called 'The Library of Optimism' by its author, Ukrainian artist Sergey Zarva, who will himself transform the gallery. The artist has exhibited several times in Moscow before and this year he participated in the main project of the Venice Biennale. His works are already in the collection of, amongst others, the famous American artist Cindy Sherman.

Six cupboards typical of the type found in Soviet apartments from the 1960's and 70's will form the centerpiece of the exhibition. Zarva will here show the life of a 'common' Soviet citizen, presenting his or her traditional values and desires through the artist's own typical sense of humor. Each cupboard has its own title: “A family heirloom” with a monogrammed family crest; “Ivan Muhomorich's cupboard” with the biography of a character from the author's childhood; “The cupboard of a discharged person” with military mementos and metal objects, “The poet's cupboard” containing poems; “A magazine cupboard” with collections of famous Soviet magazines including Ogonyok, Rabotniza (Workwoman) and Zdorovie (Health); and, “A souvenir cupboard” with enchanted photographs meant to bring the owner fortune. The titles of the cupboards are revealed by the contents inside. Many different objects are presented on the shelves, from collections of Soviet crystal and porcelain figurines to photographs from family albums.

Zarva acts as an architect in creating this installation out of cupboards, as a sculptor by exhibiting  portrait busts and as a painter by including his own pictures. The cupboards contain examples from from his famous “Ogonyok” series of over-painted magazines, where ugly grimaces are painted over faces to depict muscles and other such grotesque anatomical structures. Employing a similar technique, the author also includes various works from his series 'Family Photos'. Again, the artist changes his subjects beyond recognition with thick layers of paint.