SUMMER GARDEN, photo project, 2008
The Summer Garden is loved by everyone.
Even the folk-lore character Ivan Afanasievitch, who appeared few decades ago, contends that the garden’s space is the most well known cultural sight of the city, because even those who drink alcohol there get unintentionally inspired by its elevated art.
What will happen with St-Petersburg when it is deprived of the Summer Garden for more than 3 years, deprived of its whispering overshade and mystery of its lanes, or that Summer Rain washing off city’s fuss and revealing eternal laws of the green summer’s rejuvenation? The rain that deepens blackness of trunks and uncovers the dashing whiteness of the marble statues? Where else would be found such a divine combination of nature’s eternal revival, indifferent even to its own death, and something mythological that originates from the earthly human hopes? What other garden can have a claim on that heavenly site, so naturally manifesting the strange inconsistency of the eternity and delicacy existing in the garden space together as a law of life?
Feeling the imminent loneliness in the absence of the garden of wonder, artists of St-Petersburg strive to overcome it by creating art projects to commemorate the Garden.
So does Nadya Anfalova. The idea of the artist refers to the tradition of preparing the sculptures for winter that has been established many years ago. It is the sad signal showing that the northern summer is finally over. When the works to keep the statues warm start in the garden old residents know that the foul weather comes.
Everyone is equal before the bad weather – the fragile nymphs and stern ancient gods, and thus the process of protecting the statues becomes the ritual of saving the fragility of perfection.
The coarse wooden shelters, where the marble statues, wrapped in rough linen, have to pass through the timelessness without their paradise, become some mystical art-objects which take the dream of the Divine to the future, keeping it safe, like in the capsule.
The dream must not lose its power; it must be changeless and spotless. Thus, the deliberate crudeness of these sarcophagi, their impossibly awful and hideous looks that preserved the Beauty even during the siege of Leningrad, guarantee the safety of the perfection that would determine the place for heaven once more.
In the photo installation by Nadya Anfalova the sculptures still live, though in their gloomy shelter, shifting in and out of this world. As in winter at its height, when one suddenly thinks of summer as the small breath of freedom, so in the artist’s project, through the roughness of canvas, thanks to the diversity of technologies (photography on transparent fabric and video projections), appear the heavenly images of the faraway Paradise. They are made of marble, and they have been brought to us by distant sun from the marvellous Summer Garden.