I conceived In the Prison of Time as a flow of memories. Like reminiscences of an unreachable past, all fragments of this exhibition are intimately connected. They have no name, no beginning, and no end. Each object tells an unfinished story, and each tale connects with the other. A mysteriously shining glass of water on a poor table, an open suitcase on a crumbled chair, a rotary phone where you can spy a conversation, a Soviet radio transmitting old melodies, and the abandoned wooden sword that some child left in a corner. They all talk about memory, loss, and nostalgia. Finally, a series of 15 unlabeled paintings hang on the wall. The “Eternity” sequence from Yuri Norshteyn’s Tale of Tales inspires them. They obsessively depict the same composition: a lonely landscape, a poor house, a chair, a table, a tree, and the sea. They are a reminder of our own mortality and solitude in this world. If you listen carefully, you will hear them echoing the final verses of the poem that entitled this exhibition: “Don’t sleep, don’t sleep, work on; / do not stop your work. / Don’t sleep; fight off your slumber / like the pilot and the star. // Don’t sleep, don’t sleep, creator, / don’t yield to your dream: / you’re a pawn of Eternity / in the prison of time.” (Boris Pasternak, “Night”)
Photos courtesy of Vincent Long.