„Freedom“ is a sweet word laced with electric current. An unattainable ideal, glorified in every art form. Yes, that’s exactly how it loomed on the horizon of my life – a red sunset, music penetrating into the depths of an altered state of consciousness, eternal youth, an unlimited choice of pleasures with minimal responsibility.
How to achieve this intoxicating joy? Where to run? How to throw off the shackles of everyday life? How to finally escape? Paradoxically, these questions make human a hostage, a slave to a chimera. This notion makes a person unfree.
Looking back, I understand that freedom is opportunities, it is a space of options in which one can act. And only by making decisions and taking responsibility for them this space of options can be expanded. And this is work – to be able to objectively assess circumstances, take into account other people, abandon infantile ideas, take responsibility. It’s hard, you have to learn it. But only then, and from a sweet chimera on the horizon, „freedom“ will turn into a fulcrum inside.
In prison there was no access to canvases and paints, all that was in my right was a pencil and paper.
I found salvation again in my own safe world, I painted.
In addition, I also revealed myself to prose, and wrote the texts of those „9 commandments of freedom“ that became an addition to the drawings.
I sent all the originals to Kyiv, where my friends began organizing the exhibition.
As you already know, the exhibition was supposed to take place on February 25, 2022.
One day before
On the 24th of February Russia drops missiles on our home.
I was still in jail and everything that happened with the double shot killed me. I stopped believing, and did not know whether there would still be a house when I left, whether there would be somewhere to return to each of us.
But completely unexpected
On April 9, 2022, since I am a citizen of Ukraine, the President of Georgia pardoned me.
And that meant only one thing, I’m getting out of prison right now.
Now my new pseudonym is Nastya Svoboda.
After being in prison for 1 year and 9 months, I entered a world that turned upside down and will never be the same.
In the video work “Es ist nicht so sicher wie es scheint”, the veil on the dark side of partnerships, with their hidden hopelessness and borderline experience of potential aggression and violence, is sort of lifted.
The prison of ideas introduces the heroes into the cycle of creation and destruction, attraction and rejection, bodily lack of freedom and rebellion against it.
However, a certain element of comicality, the friendliness of the characters, gives this struggle a touch of self-irony, an optimistic ambivalence. Maybe it’s their inner smile and self-acceptance that makes them free?
Navigating the reality is challenging since it is hard to predict what laws and restrictions come upon us tomorrow. The way we speak and express ourselves here in Europe would bring us trouble in Russia. Yet today the pressure to express an opinion is high and becomes a matter of honor. Often what feels right to do, has huge consequences, which not everyone can take. If we let ourselves indulge in the paranoia, gruesome pictures come to mind: every move we make is already registered, there is a file on each and every one of us in a dark basement and evil clerks just wait for a command to get us. Let’s say you post something bold. Would they stand by the airport gate with a huge butterfly net, just for YOU? It is not that easy to differ mere paranoia and justified concerns anymore, because the reality is more surreal than a government clerk with a butterfly net. Can you look yourself in the mirror with a clear conscience, and not imagine the sacrifices it can ask of you?
Denis Esakov / Lector
At the opening of the exhibition there was lecture and discussion by Denis Esakov:
Freedom is like a network of connections
One of the significant events of the past is perspective. With the help of a perspective look, a person can look into the future, into the unknown and look for answers to his questions. Maybe once it was freedom. Invent, travel, fight monsters, conquer the world. Now, looking back, it is clear that this mechanism was freedom for some and a heavy burden for others: conquered, killed, erased. The freedom of imagination and action of some was very expensive for others. Freedom became a privilege, officially supported by the structure. Who needs freedom and can it be reliable?
Denis Esakov is a multimedia artist and writer from Berlin. Denis expands the space between Knowledge and the Unknown, the way and methods of cognition, how to keep in this space.
Alyona Umanskaya / Curator
Was born in Moscow. Graduated from the theater department of GITIS (Russian Institute
of Theater Arts). From 2015 to 2018 she worked at the Moscow School of New Cinema as a producer at the theater workshop of Yuri Muravitsky. She also supervised the theatrical part of Moscow festivals: „Archstoyanie“, „Art-ravine“, „Territory“.
Since 2018 she has been working as a film producer. She shot a large number of advertising projects for brands such as Loreal, Pepsico, Vogue, McDonalds, as well as music videos for SBPCh, Black Seed Oil, Husky, Scriptonite, etc. d..
In 2020, she made 6 documentaries about various ethnic cultures in Russia together with Pierre Christian Brochet. She also produced a feature short film by Alina Nasibullina „Objects in the Mirror“.
In 2021, she entered the Anatoly Osmolovsky BAZA Institute of Contemporary Art, where she continues her studies to this day.
In 2022 she moved to Berlin.