In April, the Marina Gisich Gallery turned into a space for the incarnation of utopian ideas. The PARAZIT art group, curated by Kerim Regimov, was planning a rescue operation to save Venice from the great flood that was capable of submerging the city of merchants, bridges, romance and art like the lost Atlantis.
Yo estoy de guardia hoy
(“I am on duty today” – at a Spanish lesson)
But Venice in spring...
I have enjoyed Venice twice. This is the necessary minimum: by the second visit, the artistic consciousness is fully restored to its former scope – if you don’t abuse it with other wonders of the world – and can again be well applied to reality. I was lucky enough to spend two weeks of 2013 viewing this reality from Guidecca, an island on the outskirts of Venezia. The Biennale festivities were in full swing across the strait, but here, away from the tourists and intercontinental snobs and freaks, the communal weekdays were bustling, a festival of socialist existence. The townsfolk jointly solved their municipal problems, saving their Venice. At the height of a campaign “against large ships” in the lagoon, the leftists decorated the island with posters of these ocean liners in the form of marine predators. Here and there projects were popping up to save the islands from slowly sinking. Impressed by one of these projects (to drill shafts around the city and push it out of the abyss using high-pressure sand), I was sitting on the shore having coffee one morning, in view of the cormorants, near the socialist billiard hall on Palanca, watching the passing barges piled with Siberian larch and thinking, for example, of Baron Münchhausen, the strength of his braid and the carrying capacity of the front half of his horse. And as if in answer, like a helping hand, I had a hallucination. I envisioned the Salvation of Venice as an evening bombing of the lagoon with little old men and giant cloves of garlic, in the ratio of approximately one to two. Nothing is impossible, I thought to myself. Especially if you work together, like the Venetians.
So there came a time when, yearning for the shared, communal, and collaborative, I approached the Parazit community. For me, a loner, this fluctuating combination of contemporary artists inherited from several legendary Leningrad groups was a symbol of the ideal community of creative individuals. The legend of this group is being forged today, right now – thanks to its rigorous regularity of artistic activity. For years, the intentionally uninterrupted discipline of the two-week Quindicinale of contemporary art in the main corridor of Borea has been a pulsing sign of life.
The concept of Salvation, both in the high sense and in the lower sense of miners or sailors, besides a miracle, assumes the practice of such ritual repeated actions overhung with revelation and illumination. Consistent, noble, sympathetic, zealous, willing, considerate, life-affirming, all-absorbing, enthusiastic profanation of misfortune – this is the true path. The path to rescuing our secret and longed-for internal islands from what-may-come, and perhaps, to overcoming the pornographic Petersburg comparison between the Venice of the North and the real one.
Kerim Regimov, April 2014
The PARAZIT Creative Association
An unusual gallery has been operating in St. Petersburg for almost seven years continuously, without an official address, employees, or curators, and without a firm artistic policy. This is the PARAZIT gallery, created with the object of existing on “the body” of various cultural institutions in the city, and now firmly settled in the corridor of the famous Petersburg gallery Borey.
The idea of artistic parasitism was first brought to life in 2000 by participants of the “New Dummies Society”, Vadim Flyagin and Vladimir Kozin. The history of today’s Parazit started when this idea was resuscitated in 2004 by the artists Vladimir Kozin, Yuriy Nikiforov and Igor Mezheritsk, the leaders of three well-known artistic groups that were no longer existent at the time.
It should be noted that the Parazit gallery’s group consists of artists who are absolutely different in their directions and techniques. An important point is the absence of a curator figure or any other sort of administrator – all decisions are made exclusively by a group conference of the artists. The gallery’s set of artists changes from time to time; someone has left the ranks, and someone has joined. A distinctive “youth group” has formed within the gallery. It is revealing that the age difference between the youngest and oldest members of the group is 40 years. Such democratic representation is unusual in the Petersburg art environment, where a generation of artists often withdraws into itself.
Essentially, the Parazit gallery is a free association of artists who have found a permanent exhibition space in the Borea hallway, which has not imposed any obligations on their individual projects.
From time to time, the Parazit artists emerge from their corridor and put together large joint exhibitions in Borey’s main halls or in other galleries in the city.