Russian Art Focus met with artist Pavel Otdelnov (b.1976), who observes history in the making by exploring Russia’s darker sides, from its toxic industrial wastelands to city landfills. We spoke about how he uses old news programs as a source of inspiration, the lack of art criticism in Russia today, and “melancholic realism”.
Pavel was born in the small city of Dzerzhinsk and grew up in an environment bereft of other artists, first encountering contemporary art when he was 20. At the Venice Biennale some years later Otdelnov asked himself why there were so few painters. From then on he decided to become a painter and he became influenced by the artists of the Leipzig and Dusseldorf schools.
Otdelnov’s latest big solo exhibition at MMOMA is called “Promzona '', it tells human stories of life in the late Soviet Union alongside the collapse of the industrial infrastructure, chemical factories in Dzerzhinsk with toxic and dangerous production, hidden accidents and ecological damage.
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