In 2019, Vadim Zakharov visited one of the most horrifying places in Europe, testimony of darkest times in history – the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. On the concrete floor of one of the buildings, the artist noticed an ornament that reminded him of plant patterns on frozen windows in winter. This incredible pattern which had “sprouted on the concrete by itself” was a trace left by the life of a space in which death had reigned. It became the basis for the creation of a new self-portrait.
Vadim Zakharov looks at the world through Chekhov’s pince-nez, which bears the reflections of characters who for many years have been the artist’s alter ego. One is a one-eyed Pirate whose black eye patch Zakharov wore in the early 1980s; the other is the Stupid Pastor who fought windmills in Spain and sumo wrestlers in Japan. With the latter Vadim Zakharov ritually parted a few years ago in Rome, leaving his robe on a bench in St. Peter’s Cathedral. Freed from the masks and duties that occupied a significant place in his life for many years, the artist appears before us in a photo taken in 2013 in the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, combining “the pattern of death from the position of the Author, who embodies the “patterns of his life” and culture in general.” Looking at the view- er both the Pirate and the Pastor are figures of “total visibility”, reminiscent of another important message from the artist: “the future of humanity is moving into the past.”