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Fighters (2007)

Exhibitions: 10 Triennale Kleinplastik Bodycheck, Fellbach, Germany; Unavoidable and Unnecessary, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, 2008–2009

The sculptures of this series are ready-mades. Under the red, iron oxide-colored, silicon pasteI Batmen, Spidermen and other superhuman figures are hidden, engaged in a deathly battle with each other. The ambiguity of these sculptures lies in the fact that their size is adapted to the world of small children whereas their aggressiveness represents the adult world. By expressing stupid aggression of these unexpectedly adult toys, I am trying to react to the modern world of media, where even bad news is good news.

The silicon surface of my sculptures represents a human body turned inside out – the fleshy physical nature of adults materialised in children's toys. The red surface reduces all their differences to one level. The absence of “good” and “evil” reveals the pointlessness of the fight with your kin. Yet on the other hand, the viewer does not realize straight away to what extent two or more bodies are clasped together. You could take their wrestling and hugging to be an embrace, since aggression and passion are close neighbors. My fighters resist the observer's wish to hold them or even to stroke them. They do not promise to be pleasant to touch, although they are reminiscent of china shepherd boys. As a product of contemporary, not decorative, art they do not improve on reality; rather, they challenge it.

While working on this series, I had a number of artistic traditions in the back of my mind which I mixed together: children's toys, small sculpture and, finally, sculptural battle scenes. Of course, the traditions are revised and estranged, and treated ironically.

S. Sh.