The book was created in the NCCA Art residence in Kronstadt
The Nautilus project was meant to be as an imaginary museum, whose exhibits were dispersed in the urban area.
Whereas the showcase of the museum protects an object and isolates it from the audience, I placed my pieces of work right in the streets of Kronshtadt. Being fully aware of the impermanence of the paper collages, I chose for them such walls that kept the traces of time. I was obsessed by a desire to feel them and to know the town by touch.
The cracks and stains on those walls resembled either some underwater landscapes or manuscripts of an unknown civilization or a message to the future left by every passing day. I wanted to capture their essence, bringing the images of the marine world and a human, which tried to conquer the waves.
The Nautilus project keeps developing as a book, that is a mobile exhibition and installation. The holes in the pages allow the viewer to focus on the separate fragments of images and to divide the figures and the background. This idea occurred to me as reference to Captain Nemo’s Nautilus in the book by Jules Verne. This submarine was a sort of museum and gave an opportunity to contemplate the ruins of Atlantis through the observation glass.
As a quotation to the book I use the passage from the essay «On the Superfluous» by Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, translated by Evgeny Pavlov:
“‘You’ and ‘I,’ ‘past’ and ‘future,’ ‘and,’ et cetera can be exhausted in the metaphor of the shell that rotates on the same axis: exterior and interior, moisture and sand, presence and absence – the shell that was once simultaneously the instrument of calling and the labyrinth of hearing. There is no certainty.”
I believed, that this is the best fit with the spirit of this town and it is related to the idea, that I put into this project.
Kronshtadt was established as a sea fortress and a naval base. The town, which is located on the island in the middle of the Gulf of Finland, was closed to outsiders for a long time. Even now it resembles a shell, that does not want to be opened, keeping its past from strangers.