video from the exhibition
Jane Griyere, Ludmila Belova

Acqua Vita. A short voyage.

 Frants Gallery Space, St.Petersburg



It’s hard to imagine a more banal theme in St.Petersburg, than a story about water. Considering this fact, Anna Franz, the curator of the project “Aqua vita”, suggested a game in exotics and tautology, a game in fear of the physical beauty loss and submission to inevitable death.
The exhibition has united by New-York’s artist Jane Griyere photos, taken in Indian city Varanasi, and photo and video works by St.Petersburg media-artist Ludmila Belova.
Griyere’s color pictures with charred feet on deserted bank of Gang, in which cremains disappear, give a thrill to viewer.
Belova’s video opposes it, changing the subject. She shot water from one of the bridges of Venice. Patterned reflections will be broken by gondola with pseudo-baroque figured pads on the boards; at the end of this 7 minutes video the water will reflect the light of the lamps. This part is deliberately slowed. Light dots remind stars. Venice with its long acknowledged connotations becomes timeless spot not only on Earth but on the map of the Universe.

This universal theme is followed by returning to the real life. In the series of big black and white pictures by Belova we can see used cosmetic masks. Accurately taken off the women’s faces they can be stored only till they are still humid. The cracks on these masks frighten by their irreversible force. The mask cannot be repeated as the face from which it was taken has changed and does not exist in its former state.

On one hand, this is the metaphor of human existence, which is impossible without water. On the other hand, this is an image of the fight for the physical youth, senseless and merciless fight with the nature. Ludmila Belova made a big series of “mask portraits”. They might be shown in a special project.


Dmitri Novik