Soft Power Project


Fake News




Water is the thing you can watch forever, especially the one which is seething and in motion. In the constantly changing forms you always see the new, amusing and unexpected – like in the contemporary art centres and on the ubiquitous screens. However, the contemplation of bubbling water does not deeply affect the viewer. Their traces do not remain; the figures and the dispersing circles are ephemeral, all they are only noise.

Today both an artist and a politician are doing the same: hype up, agitate, provoke, draw a response, at all costs fight for the people’s attention. Their actions are weak and superficial. They are not able to reach the fundamental structures of any phenomenon, and thus do not lead to any global-historic consequences. The viewer, for its part, is reflexively turning to the sides of the exciters, being constantly washed by their soft power, growing rounder, flabbier and inevitably smaller.

This is a panoramic video-installation. Most of the time the visitor of the exhibition sees the static satellite photograph of the Manhattan Island. The image looks alienated and brutal like a military aerial reconnaissance panorama made from the stitched parts. Suddenly, after a certain amount of time, the viewer unexpectedly sees the island as if being highly intensively bombed. The bombing is shown in slow-motion in order to dramatise the happening events. The stone-island which has been shown in numerous Hollywood blockbusters and associated with the wealth and power of the Unite Sates becomes an abstract expressionist canvas. The artist- destroyer remains unknown. After some time the water calms down. Nothing is happening on the screen anymore, and the viewer goes away from the panorama to see the works of others.



A joke is a light version of an otherwise unpleasant remark. Playing is a light mode of living. “Soft power” is a light method of repressive power.

At the moment we are developing a big body of work entitled Soft Power. It is going to comprise artworks of different media including video-art pieces, ready-mades, mural-size silver-gelatine photograms, digital prints and silk-screened photographic paintings.

What unifies those artworks is playing with toys, showing them in an arrestingly ambiguous manner.







Aircrafts

Using a smartphone we take photographs of the Chinese military aircrafts by ultra high digital zooming-in, so that all the scale references become demoted by the photographs low resolution. After that the resulting prints, having a formal quality of a power that is difficult to handle, are digitally printed.











Presence of Danger

A set of highly detailed but relatively small toy models of the most advanced Russian tanks are going to be put onto sheet photographic film. With a torch of my mobile phone a lit them, so that the tank casts a shadow onto the sensitive emulsion. After that using a photo-enlarger I ultra-enlarge those silhouettes onto the gallery walls with emulsion applied on them: the tanks’ shadows start to appear as gigantic and oppressive mountain in comparison with which a viewer appears small and fragile.








Thermal images

Political actors of all levels use information to manipulate ordinary people, turning unremarkable objects of daily banality into the potential sources of threat. Certain types of cell- phones, kitchenware, trucks and strangers are constantly being turned from the mundane into the uncanny, eerie and even sublime.















Exhibitions:
Casa do Artista Jamie Isidoro, Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal (2018)
Surface, Art Korobka Gallery, Moscow, Russia (2017)


MAXIM IVANOV© 2018