Sunday, August 17, 2008
A metaphysical abyss
Kabakov's perception of Russia as a "negative lesson" to the world is similar to Chaadaev's. But it is tinged with even deeper despair because, over the century and a half since Chaadaev, this void that was then perceived only by a few refined minds has managed to grow into a terrible Eurasian abyss, whose edges are rimmed by a widening landslide. The adjacent European and Asian countries could all be sucked into it, without hope of ever extricating themselves. Russia has thus become the black hole of humanity. If emptiness in Europe were represented by a table-top, awaiting the serving of dishes on its surface, then in Russia someone is sitting under the table, constantly pulling off the table cloth, so that everything on the table is immediately thrown off and disappears into the void. Such is Kabakov's nightmarish and panic-stricken vision of his homeland: a metaphysical abyss.
"Russian Postmodernism: New Perspectives on Post-Soviet Culture", Mikhail Epstein, Aleksandr Genis, Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover, Berghahn Books, 1999, ISBN:1571810986, page 325.