The Big City is always a Terra Incognita, regardless of how long one lives within, nor the extent one knows it. It’s studied thoroughly, every corner’s known, yet it withholds thousands of unknown and gorgeous places one’s never to see anyway.
The CISTERNA project is an attempt to express and draw reverence for the Big City, it’s hidden spaces and its constantly vanishing spirit.
Our times are bound with a strange paradox—we experience obvious deficit of space yet witness its overproduction. Our city is a perfect example of this. The endless construction devours the voids, digest the past and creates new realities imposed upon us. These realities often oppress us, deprive us of air, freedom, and moreover—of our right of forming the city, as the cityscape is the basis of social interaction.
Lefebvre wrote that society is born not only in the material, but also in the imaginary space of the city. All of us, together or one by one, build up our cities via our imagination. We learn to find in the countless existing spaces locations called by Lefebvre and Faucault “heterotopic,” which can serve as a testing grounds for various forms of city life.
Alexander Brodsky’s CISTERNA is an example of such experiment. The artist is doing “space production” in the existing space of the cistern—new, other, outstanding. His invasion is almost unnoticeable—few trembling curtains on the walls of Collector Gallery. This place turns to be free, and this gives us an opportunity to experience the now rare feeling of emptiness, the emptiness as a form, where art steps out of the ideological confines, implied meanings, imposed boundaries. In Russian the void, the emptiness is something let loose and thus capable to let in—let in new stories, events, meanings and us, the spectators, prepared for a new spatial experience.
photos: Yuri Palmin