Toys / Perfect world

The search for the perfect world. Perhaps everyone, consciously or unconsciously, is in this search.

The exhibition project “Toys / Perfect world” discloses this theme in universal terms, presenting the viewer with the seemingly obvious secret of happiness. But precisely because of its simplicity, it is so difficult to comprehend. The world is so complex and confusing, and it may seem that only by traversing these endless labyrinths can one find answers to eternal questions. It’s hard to guess that all the answers lay at the beginning of this journey.

In this new project, Olga Muravina conducted a series of visual and technological experiments, giving a completely new sounding to the theme of childhood and the theme of animals as carriers of pure consciousness, which is invariably the leitmotif of all her work. This time they are united in the image of toys. And it is not quite clear where they come from. Somewhat they resemble baby rattles and squeakers, but with their mirror-like surfaces and iridescence they are more like Christmas toys. Their perfectly streamlined forms have certainly surpassed the garish prototypes that provoked the creation of the project. They are brought to absolute meaning, turned into perfect universal symbols, as if not man-made, but existing as a given, as a theoretical concept. All the toys look, practically with real eyes. It is an attempt to animate them, as children animate their toys, identify them with living beings. In this way, the exhibits leave the category of mere objects, suggesting the presence of their own inner world, and the form of perception of the objects is transformed from contemplation to dialogue. The choice of materials is not accidental. The sculptures are made of transparent or mirrored plastic. Toys are an illusion, entourage, an artificial performance for kids, but despite their fragility and fiction, in the minds of children, they become more real than any reality. Transparency and mirroring are not so much properties of the material as allegories of behaviors and perceptions. Children’s consciousness, too, can be transparent, and it can reflect and refract the world around it.

The blue teddy bear is perhaps the key figure of the exhibition. He is the smallest and simplest and yet the most real. He lies on a cloud and looks up into the sky, everything else seems to be a product of his imagination.

All people have gone through childhood, and everyone carries his images in them. Sometimes they are unified, sometimes they are individual. Looking at Olga’s works, it seems as if they are familiar, but at the same time you realize that these very toys have never existed. This is due to the fact that it is peculiar to memory to generalize images from the past, to make them more concise, to get rid of irrelevant details. Like objects thrown into the sea are calcified and grow into shellfish, becoming a kind of coral, or on the contrary are washed away and smoothed out, becoming a kind of pebbles. What we remember of our childhood, of our first impressions of life has little relation to what actually happened, or rather to what adults saw at that moment, and to what we see in children’s photographs now with our adult eyes. As a rule, from a certain point in life, fascinated by the temptations and prospects of new opportunities, a person strives to become an adult, runs away from childhood into the alluring unknown, but rarely does he find there something as valuable as he did at the dawn of his life. Therefore, a wise person looks at a child with respect and admiration, because he sees in him the possessor of pure consciousness.

If before Olya portrayed carriers of pure consciousness, now there was an experiment with a change in perspective. A toy is an object of study, an object that meets a person at the threshold of life. It is the first impression that becomes decisive, influencing the subsequent attitude to life. So do not take them easily. The author gives everyone the opportunity to find this pure consciousness, to look at the world through the eyes of a child, to become a child. That is, this project is no longer so much contemplative as it is interactive. What one needs to do to make such a journey. First of all, you have to break down your skepticism. This protective mechanism, a gatekeeper to the inner world of man, which plays not a kind role, divides a single whole world into two half-worlds. If we try to understand the phenomenon of childhood, its first and main difference is the absence of evaluation of everything that happens around. As such, there are no criteria for it yet. Everything is taken as a given, everything arouses interest and a joyful desire to explore. All of the above leads to the simple conclusion that the secret of happiness is the absence of critical evaluation. Now we move into the space of the exhibition. We want to enter the perfect world that we have already entered once before. We go in and look at everything through the eyes of a child, as if we were just born, as if all our knowledge is false and not ours at all, and we have erased it. We have forgotten who we are and what our names are. And these toys, too, have no names and don’t look like anything. Just look with pure, pristine eyes and enjoy their shape, color, refractions and reflections. It will be the best rest, the best journey, and most importantly, it will give you the opportunity, then, to go out and see the world, at least briefly, with new eyes.

What else I would like to note is the general tonality of the entire exposition. It, like a tuning fork, adjusts the correct internal sound. There is no doubt that this setting will not be forgotten, it will remain in memory, and will come in handy as a tool of self-regulation more than once.

As the author has chosen the organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach. It is to the sound of them and created all the works. Such a seemingly strange combination brings the theme of childhood and toys to a completely different level of understanding. The author immediately cuts off the attempt to stereotypical perception of the exposition and suggests seeing eternity in it. Video pictures are projected on the walls, they are also deeply symbolic. The video “Puppets in Balls” is a story about all people living on their own planets in their own personal space. It is their fortress and their prison. Meditatively flying balloons resemble space, and each individual is represented on a cosmic scale.

The second video, “Falling Bears,” is a theme of childhood passing, of time passing away, and at the same time a story of life giving it again and again.

Toys / Perfect world can be called the pilot project of the new aesthetic of Olya Muravina’s creativity. According to the author’s idea, the works presented at the exhibition, the size of which does not exceed one meter on average, thanks to their clean, laconic forms, are free from reference to scale and can be any size from a real toy to large landscape forms. One of the objects of the exhibition, an electronic notebook on which the author’s sketches flip monotonically. It is impossible to look through them all, and it is not necessary. The point of the object is that the ideas are endless, it is an inexhaustible source. Whether this will remain an experiment or find development, time will tell.

I would like to see a continuation of this good, healing story.

Sergey Sobolev