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Study of life in a one-room khrushchevka flat in the village of Electroizolyator, Moscow region

Anya Zholud

Voices outside the window. The sounds of a warming car engine and taxis coming and going. The crunch of ice on the asphalt, the children's squeals on the sports ground, the lights in the windows of the house opposite, the creaking of the neighbors' steps above, the crying of the neighbor's child behind the wall, the steps on the stairs, the bell of the intercom, the croaking of crows under the balcony.  

From the outside, the village became dear and close, like a small piece of the Okhta district in St. Petersburg, but from the inside, not familiar at all.

Years lived in a detached house in the village, the former life on the seventh floor in an apartment in St. Petersburg, and here on the second floor, shifted my body's coordination system. Not leaving the house, not opening the curtains, not calling anyone became something like a principle of existence. As if I had returned to my temporary seven-year stay in Tekstilchiki district on Graivoronovskaya Street. The same ceilings, walls, floor, except for the combined bathroom and toilet. The same kitchen. But it used to be on the first floor. It turns out that life on the seventh floor of khrushchevka flat differs from life on the second floor. But the most interesting thing is that there is a fundamental difference between the second and the first floors.

I have not been outside for two months now. Then I pulled the curtain aside and saw that it was winter already. My eyes have become unaccustomed to daylight, my feet got unused to walking on the ground, and my sight has lost its spatial awareness. There is nothing associated with art. Whiskey bottles, Bonduelle tins and water containers. Yesterday I painted chicken wings and thighs, raw ones. My previous exhibition was called "the one that ceased to exist." I had to say good-bye to my oldest favorite archival works, in order to make a minimal living wage and make it to spring. These works kept the memory of the time when I was apparently happy. Of course they were not painted out of joy, but they were a memory. Now I'm trying to lose my memory. My hopes are exhausted. Artistic search as a principle has finally exhausted itself. My senses are atrophied and in this atrophy of the senses one can probably find something. No, of course not something new, of course not an inspiration, but rather a life after death, as banal it may sound.

Stop thinking about how to make good art, stop thinking about how to make a good composition, stop thinking completely!

The most disturbing thing that I feel in my painting, in my pictures, in myself as an artist or as a person, is when my hand turns into a mechanical device like a mixer, a hair dryer, a screwdriver, a drill. Fortunately, my hand gets tired, my back starts to ache, my tailbone becomes numb. When I worked with metal, my hand never hurt from the bending of iron, such as now from painting.

I go to bed only at close to six in the morning. I don’t wake up until half past three. At four it's already dark. I’ve got no appetite. I painted 180 paintings. Before March I'm going to paint two hundred more.

About the Project The Museum of Modern Sculpture and NOT GALLERY OBOCHINA

Anya Zholud


As with many of my creative ideas that started and then melted away into non-existence, I can now speak only in the past tense about the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture and the NOT GALLERY OBOCHINA projects, as well as the failed Art Residency in the village of Arinino in the Moscow region.

"OBOCHINA" lasted only a year, or a year and a half, in a format close to what I thought it should be. This is now the fourth year when the collection and the museum have stood lifeless. Almost completely abandoned in the last two years, they are overgrown with waist-high weeds, and covered with a snow mound a meter high. The museum building itself has either no electricity, or no heating, or no water and sometimes it lacks me, the painter Zholud, lying motionless as if in the mausoleum. The hangar workshop completely lost its signs of life and activity, as well as the meaning of its existence and function.

Indeed, house # 56, for almost seven years, was often like a burial vault for me where I spent months, hardly alive and processing life’s difficulties. I don’t even see the point of describing what I was thinking about concerning the developmental path of this "designated point on the map". Now, all these 30 hectares of land,  the house and other structures, as well as numerous paintings, sculptures, and objects which are the micro-particles of the great activity of the great contemporary artists,  for me turned into a kind of memorial site, an obelisk, a grave for illusions, ambitions and hopes. But what is placed over the buried emotions, I mean the art exhibits listed above, that thing embodies the memory of my happy past. This is the life that I cannot get back to.

Now I live in a small one-room worn out flat, on the second floor of a five-storey khruschevka panel house seven kilometers away from the village, in a settlement with the meaningful name Electric Insulator, and instead of creating installations I paint cheap pictures on the cheapest material. But just like in the village mausoleum, I sometimes fall into a state of motionlessness, and that is when a living space of ​​30 square meters becomes a crematorium.   

Here in the settlement, I had already had a bad time with the "STUDIO OF LEISURE PRACTICE" for low-income, difficult-to-educate people, released on parole from prison. However, I managed to show local residents one of my metal "skeletons" of human life - "A Cozy Corner".

The reason for my failure to implement projects, or more exactly, the short life span of these projects, is quite banal. I’ve got no money. All of the above forms the principle of the dying LIFE in the Russian villages.

The most disappointed thing for me today is that I have to dream up ways to survive at the expense of art. Thank God I don’t yet have to think about how to make art in order to survive.

As world practice shows, contemporary art is a face of the country, city, or settlement. In my case, there is no face anymore.

The last exhibition. The book

Exhibition plan 2010

Early February in "Aidan gallery" I show a  work "Indoor Plant. Full Version". It will look like psychedelic, impassable composition made of scrap metall in a genre of installation. Thus a specific marathon will start and it will be continued by a difficult and complex work, quite nice and interesting - a sort of  grand serious Art.

"Golden Fleece" in the Antique halls of the Hermitage museum is an absurd and eccentric situation in the spirit of our Time of Trouble. For this project I apply rust, it is a unique universal material and module.  

Shortly after "Golden Fleece" I will show "Hummer" in Gisich Gallery. Hummer is equivalent to the image of modern system of values. It is an idol, its contours are being drawn by our imagination about dream.

In March I'll have a solo exhibition "Continuation of Display"' in the Moscow Museum of Modern Art in Ermolaevsky lane. In that project opposite elements - polarities will coexist in the single space denoted conventionally.

"Continuation of display" is traditional sign for any museum. Using of phrases from everyday life is quite typical for me, for example the names of my earlier projects are "Household devises", "Institution of Culture", "Special place", "36 positions", "Sculpture and Painting". "Continuation of Display" is a main and final project of my 4-part marathon. This exhibition is about tightness and excluding, about movement and interaction, about contacts and confrontation. Marathon will be over by continuation.

The four parts of this project  explore the limits of formats of private galleries and state museums. At the same time this marathon is devoted to the unity and integrity of common, infinite and limitless Art space. By the means of substitution and delicate provocation of traditional technologies of contemporary art I'd like to bring up an issue on the agenda. My question is: what, where and why has or has no right to exist?  Museum piece or gallery product?

December 2009


In Russian language the word communications besides its meaning in English, means also utility lines and is used in a context of technical wires, pipes and equipment for the feeding of electricity, water and gas. Utility lines is something that is hidden behind special panels, floor and ceiling.An artist is looking for the links, the links between everything in the world, he turns invisible into visible.Art exhibitions reveal the process of interaction, connection between people. What I devote this work to are parallels, intersections, junctions, points of contact, beginning and continuation of infinity.


This work is about visible and invisible, about special and casual, about real and unreal, about true and fictitious, about all in the Universe. Two territories for my work indicated by the curator gave me an idea of an approach to the space. Place No.1 is a point of entrance, place No.2 is a point of exit. In the place at the entrance the utility lines emerge. Part of them as images are drawn on the walls, some of them are outlined with metal contour. They start in some points, go into the others, come back into the walls, floor and ceiling. At the exit one can meet them again, as if they have penetrated the Arsenal throughout. They were invisible through the exhibition, but at the exit they appeared again.


June, 2009


The hole on the territory of the exhibition centre Nord Art is a very special place, a complex and interesting element of the industrial architecture.

Each year the hole was a source of persistent temptation for many artists. This year the curator of the NordArt Wolfgang Gramm gave his blessing to me and I submerged into the depth of this industrial interior and started to develop it. My installation is called "Bunker". The "Bunker" is a long-term project. Carrying on the dialogue with my countrymen artists Andrey Rudyev and Petr Shvetsov I occupy my corner in the hole where I create a model of comfortable existing in the artistic environment. We were invited to the Nord Art for the third time. This is the third summer in succession. Due to the regularity and appropriateness of the season of the year and of location of the place it do remind the summer holidays in a village cottage or in dacha. It makes possible to make a project "to be continued" amplifying, supplementing and transforming it later on. In 2009 I sat myself a task of maximal clearing of the room and making it accessible for the work on the "Communications" subject first presented at the Venice Biennale. The link between these two projects in Venice and Budelsdorf is very strong as they continue and amplify each other.

"Bunker" appeared as a result not of a simple alteration but transformation, not of an intrusion but a penetration, interchangeability and succession. Submerging into the hole and its accessibility for the spectators means the transition to the lower level of the space what is absolutely in tradition of the Nord Art where each year the new doors are opened and the boarders of the exhibitions are extended.  

Overstraining as an essential part of the creative activity

To penetrate into the space is like to have it.  It is a process hidden from the view of the public. I don't think it is necessary to turn the technical part of the project into the performance. Just a few people know how this or that work was created. There are not so many people who witness  the process of the preparation of the space before it becomes the work of art. Those who could estimate the artistic significance of this action do not observe it and do not think of its existence. Those who watch and know what I do could not take my activity as artistic. Lately I often feel the creative reflex while doing some absurd work not applying to the art during the preparation of the ground for the installation. Taking away a rubbish, painting walls, moving heavy loads, replanning are those conditions which help me to make up my mind what I'm doing. Every following time I need obstacles to become more difficult, the amount of the rubbish to be cleaned and the weigh of materials to increase.  The preparation takes more and more time than the project to which it was meant. They always tell me: "Anya you will knock yourself up" but on my part I think that my activity is more important than unchangeable final result. 

The project «Communications» is devoted to the links between all the parts of the Universe. It is about real world and invented world. It is about coexistence of art and everyday life which is not less interesting.

June, 2009

Thing for Love

Recently I had an exhibition called "Thing for Love" in Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art. This series of work was devoted to drawing attention to negligent attitude to the things, which had been a part of our being not long ago, and now they turn into easily unloved, thrown away, not needed. Thus, I didn't try to raise them to the rank of favorites, I tried to touch upon an issue concerning disappearance of such a quality as delicacy. I believe that delicacy as it is will be more loose, and progressing technological world, which  is more and more attractive to mankind, will turn into reflex of consumption of inanimate nature and wildlife.

December, 2007

Scheme of Space non-elementary happiness

This way Scheme of  Space 1 appeared.

I supposed that an artist is able to see more than other people can, because the artist also see through things. Recallecting academic constructive drawing, basics of construction of space in  plane, ways of  perspective drawing by means of graphical line, I created a somewhat spoonerism, returning illusion into a real space.

In Scheme of Space 1 the names and quantity of objects indicate existence of one man in space. Scheme of Space 2 forms a model of nonelementary happiness where two people live. Where is the end of neuterism and nonbelonging of things? What is a characteristic of nonloneliness? What out of objects can belong to W or M?

March, 2007

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