1959, Moscow, USSR, now Russia, lives in Moscow
Clock Tower, 1994
Konstantin Zvezdochotov is without a doubt a central figure in Russian art. While he was studying production at Moscow Art Theater School in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he worked intensively as part of the renowned Toadstools group. Along with his comrades he quickly came to the attention of the KGB, but he would not renounce his principles, and as a result he found himself in the Soviet Army in the Far North facing appalling conditions. His spark was not extinguished, however, and after his return he continued to produce ironic and humorous works. In his book of poetry Ephemerides, Zvezdochotov announced his desire to become the supreme being and remake the universe. From the mid-1980s his folkloric, kitsch art gradually obtained an almost grotesque emotional cast. In his paintings and installations, Zvezdochotov depicted the imaginary world of Perdo, which lay beyond barbed wire, and also created the most important figure in this made-up place, a pioneer called The Boy Nipper-Pipper. A shrewd observer, Zvezdochotov closely followed the fate of the Balkans, a place with which he has a long history. Clock Tower was influenced by the tragic sociopolitical events in Yugoslavia in 1991 and 1992, and the camouflage paint is a direct reference to the armed conflicts of that era. This installation was first shown at the second Cetinje Biennale, but the artist remade it especially for Moderna galerija in Ljubljana. Here there is another historical echo: Moderna galerija’s new space was previously an army barracks.