Simultaneously coexisting on two different sides – is this an attempt to break free of the duality of the world, or rather an attempt to mark the border of what is possible in its interpretation, to test its limits? In both cases this is a search for some symbolic, almost ungraspable borderline, in order to define and understand it, to transcend and perhaps join it.
On my first significant travels around Europe I was struck by the way that appearances, the visible – architecture, landscapes, nature, had an effect on people's inner and personal lives – culture, self-definition, the character and worldview of people, their “inner landscape", and thus on the symbolic environment that surrounds them and comes from within – these things are mutually interdependent and interrelated.
This certain “syntax" of space and the construct of a “language" in relation to the visual environment, their constant evolution, flowing from one form into another on the crossing of borders within the European Union set me thinking about the idea of borders in general, through certain situations, meetings, details, subjects, conversations.
I noted the changes in the organization of the place and thus people's relation to one another, changes in their mindset, way of life and stereotypes of each other. On these travels I strove to understand if there were such gradations in my own familiar reality – in Russia – what it is like and how it presents itself. This question troubled me for some time and I didn't know how to answer it. Whenever I crossed that border to Russia, Europe always seemed a world a way and I had to search for the starting point once more.
Thinking about this a little deeper I realised that it is not a question of comparison, but rather of what arises “between". It is not what we look at or even what we see, but rather what we know and can learn from this – getting to the very essence of the thing. This essence, though, the very purest substance, is impossible to nail down. It can only be found “between".
They say that if you live in another country you develop another personality, speaking another language, navigating other symbolic codes, existing in other systems of thinking and attitude to the world. Even the light is different – not the landscape, because the physical border is also a psychological one, where the familiar meets the new and unknown.
This is a certain attempt to record and nail down this change, visually and substantially, through a poetic metaphor. Only a metaphor can overcome stereotypes and really come to the very core and essence of the issue and thus discover changes and new experiences and overcoming yourself.
In this sense the diptych is the combination of past and present, traditions and their new offshoots. It returns to the source of writing as diptychs were first used in Ancient Greece, long before the invention of the printing press. They came in the form of two or more clay boards for recording text or images. In their juxtaposition, they combined to form some third thing, whole, continuous and bearing forth additional meaning between the two juxtaposed sides.
This project is an attempt to find a new composition by almost imperceptibly and allegorically combining my very personal experience on these travels and retaining the themes of places and people that became familiar to me. Perhaps through my subjective poetic experience I may show something universal that exists as in Russia, so in Europe or even the process of combination and extension of borders of the Image.
— Nikita Pirogov