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Beslan. Thememory is more terrible than forgetfulness
Written by   
, 05 2013

On September 3rd, during the ninth anniversary of the tragic events in Beslan, an exhibition opened in the Arts Center on Michurin Street. This“upside down” exhibition was devised by a Samara artist named Frol Jolly, who became both curator of the project and one of its authors.


“This exhibition was a serious challenge for an artist,” stated Frol. “There's the temptation here to apply Theodor Adorno’s well-known phrase, that after the Holocaust one cannot write poetry. Whatcan an artist add to the images of the faces of people who are carrying their blood children from the rubble? Butin practice, the position ‘what can one add to this?’ is very easily converted into a permit to neither think, nor feel, nor enter into, nor discuss, nor interfere. Withthe installations and art objects that will be presented at the show, we have tried to visualize the events in Beslan and offer an artistic vision and interpretation of this tragedy.”

Knowing Frol, we note right away what Adorno said, and very fervently, but the exhibition works as no other Samara project has worked people leave with “inverted heads”. Thuswhat he has created at the art center is really an organic art space, not a single, but a dual subordination of the terrible logic of the events. Undoubtedly the project that has opened at the Art Center deserves serious artistic and cultural analysis. Itrequires an analysis of the exhibition and even its use for propaganda purposes. Nineyears is long enough for a generation to grow up not knowing what Beslan was. Therefore it should be required that classes of school children be brought here, as well as college students, as part of their patriotic education. Itis much more effective than what the authorities offerus.

Suffice it to compare this piercing show with pictures of folksy happiness as created by Nina Dyukov at the festive event dedicated to the “Day of Anti-terrorism Solidarity”, which is celebrated coincidentally on September 3rd. just like Beslan. Itwas so much fun at the Philharmonic.



But here in the Art Center it is terrible. Fromthe sight of naked, bloody children, from realizing the futility and horror of what is happening, and because of the fact that half of the not very large crowd at the exhibition even understands at first what is going on. Backthen they were still in school. Frolhas reminded them. Itis rough, but it is what is appropriatehere.

“03-09-2004 Beslan” is a very scary and difficult exhibition, because there are no specific conclusions; it just shows. Itis as one-sided as anything made by people, and because of that Frol and all the other writers see the world from their own head and no other way. Theyuse simple and powerful imagery. Inplaces they beat the viewer over the head, or openly squeeze from him a tear. Especially since such straightforwardness does not harm our contemporary art, and every attempt to update a topic that is controversial, dangerous, and very painful is in itself very important and necessary.

And in the Art Center you can be sure that this attempt by Frol and other participants in the project has been successful. Young people really need to see this exhibition, but in reality (most likely), after a few short-lived days of work the crowds will be even smaller than on opening day, and on opening day, alas, it was not at all crowded. Doeno one wish to be shocked by art? Doesno one see any parallels between what happened nine years ago and what is happening today? Oris there complete confidence that nothing like this will ever happen again in Russia? Theexhibition did not mention this, but an investigation into the events at Beslan has never been completed, even now, nine yearslater.

In ‘Novaya Gazeta in the Volga region

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Comments (1)
Written by website, on 30-10-201323:48
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