Complicated, Difficult, Abstruse


2017; 11 min.; HD-video; 16:9; video essay
by Elias Parvulesco
Based on the matetials of Ukrainian films and art works of the late 1920s and early 1930s, the work explores paradoxes of formation of the Soviet socialist realism.One of the main features of art and cinema of this period is a turn from reality to convention accompanied by the slogans of approaching the "true reality". The cinema of this period is defined by the beginning of sound époque. In the Soviet films of the 1930s, Socialist Realism appears as a contradictory phenomenon: on the one hand, it is marked by the semiotic decrease of convention (as compared to silent film); on the other hand, by its ideological increase (as compared to psychological drama of the 1920s). The work illustrates these contradictions by looking at extreme manifestations of reality in the artworks of this period, such as death, violence, pain and hunger.
This video cites books, films, music and art-works from National Art Museum of Ukraine — NAMU collection as well as magazines and films from Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center and Central State Cine Photo Phono Archives of Ukraine collections. Their list is below.- All-Ukrainain Jubily Exhibition Catalogue. Kharkiv, Kyiv, Odesa, 1928.- Horror of the War by Manuil Shtekhman.- Anti-Jewish Pogrom by Manuil Shtekhman.- Makhnovists by Viktor Palmov.- For the Soviet Power by Viktor Palmov.- Waifs by O. Zhdanko.- Waifs by Yunh.- Perekop (The Attack) by Vasyl Kasiian.- Workars at the Plant by Vasyl Kasiian.- Shooting in Mezhyhiria by Vasyl Sedliar.- The Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47 by Dmitri Shostakovich.- Ivan, directed by Oleksandr Dovzhenko.- Aerohrad, directed by Oleksandr Dovzhenko.- Intriguer, directed by Yakiv Urinov.- Сonducts, directed by Borys Shelontsev.- Once upon in the Summer, directed by Khanan Shmain and Ihor Ilinskyi.- Prometeus, directed by Ivan Kavaleridze.- Shchors, directed by Oleksandr Dovzhenko.- Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, directed by Ihor Savchenko.- Oleksandr Parkhomenko, directed by Leonid Lukov.
The work is a part of Socialist Realism. Seeming to Be Another research and artistic seminar by the Method Fund. Special thanks to Dasha Yakimova, Teta Tsybulnyk, Oleg Isakov.
Public screening:10–21.01.2018 at the National Art Museum of Ukraine, Kyiv23.08.2019 at the Nad Bohom art residency film program, Vinnytsia