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RIMMA GERLOVINA AND VALERIY GERLOVIN
© 2010, Rimma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin
The allegorical form of art can train and possibly awaken the mind with piercing glimpses into the inexplicable, expressing it in its visual meta-language. For that purpose, Zen masters used to employ their koans; similarly we used our concepts. Our art was always our thread of Ariadne that led us through the labyrinths of life: as in Russia, so in America. We perceive the different periods in our art in totality as one organic union, whose balance is maintained as in a live organism. On every occasion, we felt the necessity to rise in consciousness above the limitations of the moment, to break free from the temporal aspects of events and to glance from the particular to the universal - in such case geographical localities become less significant than expected. The surviving idea of antiquity concerning the necessity of self-knowledge (nosce te ipsum) suggests that one has to gain the maximum independence from the collective mind, which entails another equally old rule that one has to carry in himself all that one needs (omnia mea mecum porto). Consequently, these parables were repeated in our life just like in lives of many others who traveled the same way before us.
We worked together and separately, by keeping independence we seemed to be "one another." In any combination, our artworks were united on the same basis: they talk on the language of coded simplicity. (Just like Albert Einstein's said in a similar occasion: that everything should be as simple as possible but not simpler.) In just the same way, the message ought to have sense of brevity and preciseness of idea. The "uniting us" approach was ruled by mythological and philosophical ideas; meanwhile the personal style and methodology of each of us matured independently.
Rimma developed her language of three-dimensional poetry--namely the cubes--that grew later into the large cubic organisms and cubic environments, finally turning into the circles. Valeriy was occupied with the idea of the syncretism of "live and dead" materials, which included earth, bread, wood, mosaics from syringes and, most important, metal. All these descriptions can be shortened into some sort of creative formula behind our art: if Rimma was versatile predominantly with the word-concepts, Valeriy was at home with the archetypal forms, as if she employed the algebraic method of conceptualism, while he preferred the geometrical one. Our works intersect conceptually not only in time and between us; they appear as creative marks of the impending experience that is neither purely physical nor merely metaphysical, but both. Artists sense material, while theoreticians comprehend mentally; uniting both approaches, we tried to dwell on the essential rather than circumstantial and use the imaginary connected to transcultural ideas.
In terms of our early Moscow performances, they served as a preamble for our joint work in conceptual photography with which we were occupied many years in America. Consequently, our united "sentence" in art was simultaneously compound and complex. After leaving Russia in 1979, gradually we began to separate from the collective body of, figuratively speaking, social Leviathan, while accumulating transpersonal, perhaps, transcendental impulses in language of our art. The new cycle of our artwork, both the circle sculptures and the photographs, appeared as indicators of that transformation, in which our interest towards ancient philosophical sources of the East and the West helped us to unify the facts of our own consciousness with our art.
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