LondonVladimir Tarasov. Gobustan
White Space Gallery, Cultural Dialogue presents the solo exhibition of composer and visual artist Vladimir Tarasov (b. 1947) whose artistic practice engages with the multiple meanings and dynamics of sound in relation to natural landscapes and organic materials.
The show features two installations – Gobustan (2009) and Kyklos (2010) – which cast light on the complex entanglements between music, geological time, improvisation and individual memory.
In 2009, Tarasov traveled to the Gobustan Reserve in Azerbaijan – a complex geological and historical area in the South Caucasus region, rich in archeological monuments and unique rock formations. Among them are the Gaval Dash– natural stones which resonate a tambourine-like sound when “played” by hitting them with smaller stones. Those “music stones” were used in ancient times not only to play ritual melodies but also to communicate across large distances. Tarasov’s performance Gobustan sees the artist exploring those natural, ancient music instruments by hitting a monumental gaval dash stone with smaller rocks. The performance makes audible the complex entanglements between the geological and cultural heritage of the Gobustan Reserve. Indeed, Tarasov’s work embodies what art scholar Kodwo Eshun has termed a “geopoetical sensibility” which engages with notions of the deep time, the extinction of civilizations and the geology of earth strata.
The show also features the video installation Kyklos (2010) for which Tarasov filmed a 200 years-old tree growing outside his home in Vilnius, Lithuania. The Greek term kyklos was used by classic ancient authors to describe what they saw as the recurring historical cycles of change within a society. In Tarasov’s video, those historical and social transformations are reflected by the changes of seasons. As in the case of Gobustan, the video engages with the notion of time and its impact on the landscape and the organic world. Kyklos is also a reflection on the artist’s complex identity split between Russia and Lithuania, which he considers his home. Indeed, the video can be seen in relation to Jonas Mekas’s film Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972-1973) which documents his return to Lithuania after decades of absence. Both Tarasov’s and Mekas’s films engage with the concept of the landscape as a carrier of memories, identity and heritage.
Vladimir Tarasov was born in Archangelsk, Russia. Since 1968 he has lived and worked in Vilnius, Lithuania. For many years Tarasov performed with the Lithuanian Symphonic Orchestra and other symphonic, chamber, and jazz orchestras in Lithuania, Europe and the USA. From 1971 to 1986, Tarasov was a member of the well-known contemporary jazz music trio – GTC (Viatcheslav Ganelin, Vladimir Tarasov, Vladimir Chekasin). With the Trio and many other artists and orchestras he has recorded more than 100 records and CDs including numerous solo performances. Since 1991 he has been working in the visual arts, both solo, and collaborating with artists such as Ilya Kabakov, Dimitri Prigov, and others. Among his recent exhibitions are: Notes from the Underground (Muzeum Sztuki, Łódz, Poland 2016; Akademie der Künste, Berlin 2018), Water Music And Other Pictures Of Sound (Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn 2016), To See the Sound (6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art / Special Projects, Moscow, 2015), Manifesta 10 (Parallel Program, St Petersburg, Russia, 2014).
Press Release by Dorota Michalska. September 2018
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)