Borderline Conditions

Self-organized pop-up exhibition/ April 5—16, 2017/ MERES multifunctional space, Nicosia, Cyprus



The Borderline Conditions project reflects on the world economic and political situation in which, on the one hand, real borders are established and supported, but on the other hand, the effects of globalization lead to homogenization and elimination of diversity. The idea for the exhibition was inspired by the dramatic history of Cyprus which is a place of cultural juxtapositions. At the same time the title Borderline Conditions refers to an extremal mental and bodily state on the edge between neurosis and schizophrenia which both metaphorically describe the modern reality. The key question is how to cure it and where to find sources of unity.

The Exhibition is organized by:

Ilina Chervonnaya

Maria Stepkina


Special thanks are given to Serj Tubash and Sergey Dedkov




MERES multifunctional space, 33 Odos Pentadaktylou, 1016 Nicosia, Cyprus




Sergey Dedkov

Ilina Chervonnaya

Grigory Soroka

Fishermen. The view in Spasskoe, around 1847

Digital reproduction, original painting—oil on canvas


The reproduction of the oil painting of the 19th century

Russian artist opens the exhibition as a kind of an epigraph. In the forefront we see two young peasant fishermen turning their backs to the viewer and looking to the other bank of the river where the landlord’s estate is located. The forefront and the background are divided by a broad river which seems to separate the different worlds. The painter himself was a serf of the landlord Milyukov and even after the emancipation reform of 1961 in Russia he remained formally dependent on the landlord until his death. Thus the river in Soroka’s painting becomes symbolic and stands for the impossibility to cross the line, a border dividing the real and the desire.

Mykola Ridnyi

Seacoast, 2008

Video 1’ in loop


The video which was shot in Crimea shows a calm summer scene with a static sea horizon, fishermen and holiday boats. The peacefulness of it is periodically broken by the sudden falling of jelly-fish in the foreground. They hit the ground with a loud noise reminiscent of dropping bombs. This doesn’t disturb the fishermen and tourists who continue their leisurely activities, but in the eyes of the spectator the calmness becomes relative and unsteady.

Olga Butenop

15 points, 2016

World map, video 12’04’’ in loop, chair, text

An unusual travel agency offers virtual tours to countries embroiled in military conflicts. The idea of a safe globalized world where everyone feels like a permanent tourist surrounded by all-included 24h service is turned inside out here. The current instability forces us to pay attention to the facts that are usually hidden from a superficial touristic eye. The isolation is inconsistent, the safety is imaginary and the boundaries are shifting.

Liza Artamonova

Cream Dolphin, 2017

Video presentation, text, plaster, 3D model

Cream Dolphin is a symbolic image of the impossibility to escape. Friendly, smiling and seemingly harmless it guards the open waters. But if you try to cross it and reach a foreign border it will prevent you from doing so. Many Cream Dolphins will surround you and guide you safely back to the place where you departed from. Cream Dolphin is a personal life and border guard.

Sofia Astashova

A Season in Hell, 2017

Photo, tracing paper, charcoal, sand


‘Je est un autre’ (‘I am somebody else’), wrote the french poet Arthur Rimbaud in 1873. After finishing his last and one of the most significant works Une Saison en Enfer (A Season in Hell) he gives up his literary career and disappears, dissolves in his texts and becomes a myth. A Season in Hell appears as a map of scars that the outside world left on the poet’s body. The break-up with poetry is like a symbolic suicide. Only the physical body remains which Rimbaud throws into Africa, as if into hell. But the personal hell is inside, it follows wherever one flees. The scars continue to bleed. His escape leaves a trace in the sand, the myth about him leaves a trace in somebody else. Maybe hell is a myth that leaves scars.

Serj Tubash

Little Green Men, 2017

Generated video 1’24’’ in loop, travel bag, stickers


The work title is a set phrase that appeared during the Ukrainian crisis of 2014 and refers to masked soldiers in unmarked green army uniforms. The Little Green Men by Tubash fit into an ordinary unremarkable travel bag. They are portable, similar, without any identity and perform quietly and mechanically a simple choreography.

Ilina Chervonnaya

Poses of Protest, 2017

Fabric (Folded clothes)

Klavdia Alekseyevna lived most part of her live in a state of prevailing collectivity. Her devoted work on a factory was honored by the Soviet regime with an Order of the Red Banner. However her children living in the modern paradigm cannot fully understand and appreciate their grandmother’s life achievements. The economic reality forced her to live in the territory of the other with its unwanted law and order, where she daily manages to introduce some minor distortion. Klavdia Alekseyevna invents different household tactics of disguised protest. The shaped fabrics of the Poses of Protest refer, on the one hand, to these small grandmotherly tricks. But at the same time they look like a thrown off outer shell pathetically waiting for a body to fit in. A shrunken but set possibility for action.

Katya Isaeva

Karsilamas. A team-building dance, 2017

Video, badges, text

The artist invites us to a strange Karsilamas dance class, a traditional Greek dance with Turkish routes. The advertising leaflet promises to ‘build confidence, structure and energize fresh thinking’. Though these words sound exciting and promising all the elements of the dance class seem alienating and perplexing. There is no sound of music, unclear instructions on corporate badges are difficult to follow and the dazzling video also doesn’t give a clear idea how to dance Karsilamas. It seems that the only way to learn the dance is to turn away from instructions and corporate identity towards the people who actually might know how to dance it. Thus liberating the possibility of the dance to unite people.

Sergey Rozhin

My brother Ryan Gosling, 2013—2017


‘I have a brother. His name is Ryan Gosling, or Roma Gosling in Russian. When I was 7 he went to Moscow, became famous and moved to Hollywood. I hope he will see this photos and remember his native brother. Don’t forget your nearest and dearest!’ (Sergey Rozhin)

For his long-lasting ironic series of work the artist invented the tactics of face-dropping. It’s a practice similar to name- dropping when you allude to important people within a conversation, story or online identity to impress others. But instead of names the artist uses his own face, which is luckily very resembling the famous and handsome actor. Rozhin creates a whole myth around the figure of his lost brother using the hollywood machinery of producing celebrities for his own practical or droll purposes.

Lena Zubtsova

I don’t sea a beacon, 2014—2015

Photo, video of performance 10’ in loop

The performance took place in March and May, 2015


‘On the bank of the River Yauza in Moscow there is a peculiar concrete platform that is not marked on the city map. It looks like a stage without a theatre. Anyone immured in this ‘non-place’ is captured in a downward gaze from across the river. Many times last year on the way to my studio I saw a woman lying on the platform on the opposite bank. Intrigued by the woman’s will to sit there every day alone I started to take photos of her. Time and again the same image recurred— the tiny silhouette of a woman caged by the city. Finally I decided to lie in her place to experience that automatic impersonal stare on me.’ (Lena Zubtsova)

The figures of the strange woman and the artist replacing her appear so tiny on the photos and video that the change is almost indistinguishable for the viewer. By crossing the river the artist overcomes an invisible border and becomes somebody else.

Ilina Chervonnaya

Shifting sands, 2017

Installation (pieces of furniture, sand, glue, cut palm leaves, video 9’ in loop, the sound of electronic drug)


The artist creates an enchanted space setting it as a waiting room with furniture covered in sand. The video projection shows turbid-green water in which a viewer's eye, on the one hand, is caught by palm trees - a symbol of standard desire - reflected on the water surface, but on the other hand, is locked in depths of computer-generated wave. Acoustic treatment by the sound of electronic drug stimulates particular state of catalepsy.


Shifting sands can be understood as a metaphor for fear. If caught into shifting sands, the more you move the deeper you run into it. So the common sense chooses the strategy to stand still and not change the state of things. Acceptance and surrender come instead of attempts to struggle. But the pouring sand also buries old memories and carries a hope for renewal.

Probably, a “drunken sleep, stretched out on some strip of the sand shore”* is not the solitary alternative to tranquil dream concomitant with increased suggestibility.

* quotation from Arthur Rimbaud’s “A Season in Hell” (1873)

Tanya Sushenkova

Migration, 2013—2017


Migration is an ongoing mail art project by the artist. She sends a postcard with a certain text to a friend or fellow artist and later collects it back. The texts contain artist’s reflections and feelings about places, people and her relation to the outer world. In the day to day communication she often feels herself being a ‘migrant’ because of her specific relation to questions of work, household, money, gender, consumption and production. She says that the postcards are questions and letters to herself traveling through the others’ eyes and minds. So the words on the cards are also migrating. Using the old-fashioned media gives her a possibility to create a time shift and distortion when all the sent texts are collected back together. The postcards become reminders and material traces of thoughts, encounters and communications.

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© 2017 by Ilina Chervonnaya