Anton Chumak

chumakBorn in 1980 in Leningrad. Graduated from the A.L. Shtiglits St. Petersburg Art and Crafts School (2005). Curator of the Kitchen studios and open workshops in St. Petersburg. Selected solo shows: “Oil” (2011, Red Banner Cultural Center, St. Petersburg), “Temple of Fire” (2012, Agency. Art Ru, Moscow).

The Temple of Fire Total Installation
The “Temple of Fire” total installation is an artistic interpretation of a museum exhibition in the fourth millenium AD. This imagined museum contains a story based on the results of a scientific ex­hibition that discovered a monument of our era – the ruins of oil refinery. The artistic irony lies in the interpretation of the object, which is taken for an ancient church complex. Audiences reach the con­clusion that historians are not free from their own prejudices about their research and are hostages of stereotypes. A second aspect is equally important: “Temple of Fire” is another exhibition by Anton Chumakov about oil (following his “Oil” project). He interprets the sacralization of “black gold” in the modern world as part of a system of displaced values in which oil, in a pagan way, is endowed with an almost mystical power guaranteeing greatness and success. Another of the less obvious meanings of the installation is that by tirelessly erecting cities, churches, factories and other structures, mankind struggles to avoid oblivion and to remember the past as pre­cisely as possible. But will these memories be interpreted correctly in the coming millennia? Do we really know why people created images in Nazca that are visible only from the sky? What is the true meaning of menhirs? Chumakov demonstrates that to know of the existence of an artifact is not to understand it in its true historical context, and offers viewers more questions than answers.

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