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German Titov
FOREST

German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013 German Titov.
From the ‘FOREST’ series.
2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

German Titov. From the ‘FOREST’ series. 2013

Moscow, 19.09.2014—19.10.2014

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The Gothic romance appeared as a genre in 18th-century literature. It was characterised as the quest for a place where the everyday would coincide with the transcendental. Usually this is regarded as a terrifying place, for here the strangest and most criminal things could occur. Viscous horror exuded by what at first sight seems ordinary, even vulgar. The rational Age of Enlightenment assigned Gothic fiction an honorary place in the classification table of ‘sublime emotions’. Those that were entirely divorced from any reasonable, logical or ideal cognition of the world and reacted to dissonances or, in the words of Francis Bacon in the 17th century, ‘deviating instances’. It is telling that the Age of Enlightenment explained the nature of these mysterious occurrences that stimulated ‘sublime’ emotions in a wholly rational and even positivist manner. As a strange coincidence of intricate circumstances that could be disentangled using what Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes called the ‘method of deduction’. For this reason the Gothic romance became the predecessor of the modern detective novel with its iron logic governing the rules of the game and the motivation.

But what if the everyday and transcendental were to meet but fail to unravel into the threads of explicable reasons and consequences? Then we should take a deep breath and admit that we have stumbled into the arms of David Lynch, or one of the Beat writers. In a flash the road signs have altered. The equilibrium between common sense and the delight of thrilling and terrifying emotions is disrupted. The road to nowhere looms ahead.

At first acquaintance the artist German Titov appears a very respectable gentleman. In his art, however, he journeys through a territory of insidious horror, where everything is painfully familiar and therefore deeply terrifying. Because under close examination German’s talent shows no evidence of this, there is only an exhalation of uncontrolled alarm that defies verbalisation. Blades of grass in a chilly snow-covered field with a leaden sky above, a car ride to an abandoned house cluttered with decaying refuse and the strange inscription ‘Hello’ scrawled in chalk on the door, the blaze of shrieking car headlights in the nocturnal gloom... These scenes in no way correspond to good old conceptualism as perceived in his ‘Collective Actions’ period. This is something else: a concentration of lonely fear, convulsions of a theme that cannot even be defined. Actions of invisible acts.

The cultural background of such art may lie in the non-linear literature of William Burroughs and Brion Gysin. But not only there. Also in our specific, metaphysical reflections on the progressive modernist project whose ruins are described in Owen Hatherley’s book ‘Militant Modernism’ (2009). In the work of German Titov we often come across the ruins of Soviet architecture and the Soviet way of life from the 1960s to 1970s: tower blocks, abandoned residential buildings on the verge of collapse, dreary corridors illumined by a deathly light, bus stops painted in suprematist colour. As if you had stepped into Tarkovsky’s Zone (in ‘Stalker’), the most significant anti-modernist message of 70s culture. Although somehow contaminated and reduced to ruins, this is still a compulsively alluring place left by an alien civilisation. It contains the Room of Desires, but for many years there have been no desires. The nostalgia for ‘zones’ of this kind took shape in the cyberpunk movement, which is essentially the direct descendant of Beat culture.

There may well be another constituent in the art of German Titov: a conscious appeal by the new generation of artists to silence and irresponsibility. Silent conceptualism seems to have been very eloquent, even garrulous. Constantly juggling vocal and mental constructions, dogma and cliché. That is over now. They grew weary. Today man is captivated by diverse, shameless reams of text, meaning and media images. There is a demand for calm, for self-debasement and faith in the beholder-interlocutor and co-creator. A demand for non-linear themes, unrevealed meaning and nebulous emotion. The art of German Titov creates the territory of those Shadows that since time immemorial marked the place where we could expect an artistic event. Compelling by virtue of its mysterious illusoriness. And imbued with sublime terror.

Sergei Khachaturov

Each photograph from the FOREST series is a picture in itself, with its own delineated world and its own paradigm, invisibly aligned (by the joint efforts of artist and viewer) in an upward vertical, while the horizontal line of the series in its entirety remains non-paradigmatic. The supposed insufficiency of each photograph, the ‘clipping’ of edges (you want to peer beyond these edges) and most importantly, authorial emphasis on this insufficiency (by the ‘strangeness’, the blazing ‘flash’ of the subject matter) also aligns this paradigmatic vertical of fantasy. From a formal point of view we are confronted by themes, yet the development of each theme (expressed in a specific — single! — photograph), the ‘fugue’ itself, is not in the next item beside it in the horizontal line-up but above or below it, in a vertical possibility of continuation (of the Path) to infinity. If we regard the series from this point of view, then initial apparent frustration engendered by the alignment and even a certain unease in some of the subjects vanish (like an illusion) and we find ourselves before the capacious, brilliantly captured and objectified ‘paws’ of that same squirrel whose squeal is also the satori of enlightenment.

For myself alone I would like to note down the more ‘pertinent’ bars of the ladder in (on) this Vertical:
red car T195XB on the roadside,
red can in the window of a kiosk,
Buddhist ‘nimbus’ above a snowy field,
car on a railway crossing in red-white flashes of light,
red-pink-blue turkey,
plastic of an orange hare on the fence,
similar, but yellow, head, of a fox (?),
worn doorstep.

PS. Three ‘video-intensifications’ on these themes for contemplation represent their development in time (we should not forget that meditation is comprised from such states of consciousness, in which eternity replaces time and infinity replaces space), a protracted vision ‘straight ahead’ — not turning right to the east or left to the west, but more to the north-north-forward.

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