Love doesn’t aspire to create reality. Reality gives rise to conflicts, wars and photographs of wars. All things connected with love are immediately shelved together with pornography. But try to inflict insult conflict or war or create pornography from it. You can’t. Because war is pornography. That’s why we are both attracted to and repulsed by the theme of war. Not because of a cheap conceit, but rather as a result of an insatiable decadent desire. There’s not a photograph in the world that doesn’t worm its way inside your soul.

Kuzma Vostrikov not only makes a path to your soul, but turns everything in there on its head. Which is the way it should be! That’s what you wanted, isn’t it? You “live the good life” don’t you?

Oh if the only thing that photographs worked with was your memory, if it was a parasite on the past! Alas, the digital world feeds on the future.

Kuzma Vostrikov doesn’t torture the facial muscles, doesn’t make the angularity of features the butt of his jokes… Vostrikov is interested in the pattern of movements in space. The protagonists of his photographs landed there with a gentle crunch, like the sound of five thousand falling dominoes. Criminal desires, along with their naïve charm and old-fashioned romanticism, have nothing to do with what is happening here. It’s just the era that it is – the fall of civilization and the thrill of the crisis in all aesthetics, including the aesthetic of the digital representational mentality.

Photography has surpassed the imagination. And digital photography, using the impunity of endless numbers, simply makes a mockery of the desire to tame what is depictable. Chaos and chance make miracles happen. Creativity has long since ceased sleeping in the darkness of intention. Perceptive chance, freed to do as it will, creates horrible demons that a real projected image can never reach.

Some photographs are more frightening than many political happenings. Without Kuzma Vostrikov, all of the photographs we see would be just raw, unprocessed material. With Kuzma, they obtain a relevant completeness. Imbued with the verbal essence of evil, they overwhelm you with their unfading tedium, calling you to righteous judgment and wrath. O Envy! What things you do to us, the participants in these shots on which Kuzma’s art is built!?

Kuzma Vostrikov has destroyed the abnormal division between I and you. He took your hara-kiri onto himself. Be grateful to him. You’ve made it to Valhalla. You won’t ever have to rot in obscurity, leading an aimless existence in the dark rawness of desire.



Playing with the law, which is an imitation of playing with fire, has ceased to confuse the cultural public. These days, an artist must be even more insolent and bold. Chomping at the bit, barking, snapping at ladies’ ankles – that’s no longer enough. Portraying your Vedic sexual nirvana as the curator of your own Venetian adventures – well, that might possibly impress a few liver pie sellers….

A photograph is conservative and a priori dead. Getting inside of one by retouching it is banal, and in essence, not possible. You can’t unseal, disrobe, or transform a photograph. You can’t breathe new life into it. Its foundation is immobility. And if you encroach upon the nature of the photograph, you are intruding on the holiest of holies – the guarantee that an event occurred, its security. Could it really be that today no such security exists?

Subsequent events cannot tamper with a photograph, or order would be destroyed by chaos. The world would be one of chance meetings, with a clove of garlic to guard against vampires.



As digital photography has sped up our transformation into simulacra, we must protect the interests of complete and universal abstraction. Words have always aspired to anticipate events. Recall the idiomatic: “Workers of the world, unite!”, and the unity immediately leaves a sweet taste in your mouth. “From a little spark burns… ice”, and immediately you feel your legs chill!

In the pantomime of infantile scuffles, computer photo sessions are the most “toothless” of all forms of art, and are the most widely broadcast, in the narrow sense of the word. The Chinese were making ink drawings two thousand years before the electronic digital era. Handmade – the word is only going to get more archaic, and soon will be completely obsolete.



He wanted to write a book for girls “in evening gowns”. Who has not had periods when they think they should be treated as gods? Always look for a dancing bear nearby when you see a clown. He wanted to look into the abyss before he filled it with his fists. The victims came willingly to worship Kuzma. There was no effort spent, no skills were gained… he took what was already there and ready for his own purposes. And he documented it in such a way that no one could paraphrase him, deliberately having the last laugh.



First-year student at the Timiryazev Agricultural Institute Roman Tolstoy was a shy, quiet nerd, not interested in politics or the internet – just flora and fauna. He had a romance going on with Tonya, whom he had still not kissed. Tonya blushed when Roman approached her. Their romance was almost over, when Roman came across Sorokin’s novel “Roman” (novel). The sheer number of coincidences led to Roman withdrawing into his shell for good and becoming a member of the People’s Will. War and peace ended, and crime and punishment began. Many were imagining themselves with a garnet bracelet grenade.

Once, while walking down the stairs, first-year student Roman saw an announcement that the writer Sorokin was going to be speaking within the walls of his own dear place of study. The student’s quivering heart contracted and shriveled up. He marched decisively to the restroom and locked himself in one of the stalls and nervously (note, reader -- nervously) took a notebook from one of his lectures out of his wrinkled book bag, and, opening it up, placed it on the floor. Why, you might wonder? Of what use could a lecture notebook be at a time of war?

But Roman Tolstoy knew what he was doing. He picked up the book, ripped out a few pages, and placed them next to each other, but overlapping, covering an area about the size of a large plate. Then our student, pulling down his pants, squatted down and took aim. He then stood up, tore out a few more pages, on one of which was a side view of Tonya that he had sketched. Tonya’s profile he carefully placed in his inner pocket. Good thing he had apple pastries for breakfast, and a lot of them. There was a pleasant heaviness in his bowels. The bell signaling the start of class almost ruined his plan. Keeping his balance, concentrating, and with precise movements of his rear passageway, Roman placed a compact reddish-brown ring, encrusted with apple pieces, right in the center of his “plate”.

Neatly wrapping up the valuable load on all sides and placing it into his pocket, the boy left the restroom, whistling a bit on purpose.

And then is when what they wrote about in the newspapers happened. When Sorokin was speaking, right at the time the master was going on about his favorite topic of shitballs, Roman came up to him, seemingly with a bouquet of daisies. He got the weapon prepared that morning in the institute’s restroom from his pocket, swiftly and deftly unwrapped it, and guided it right towards the writer’s mouth and eyes, pushing the turd directly into his nostrils several times.



Each one of us is disturbed by the distinction between “I” and the world. Hedonists can object, saying that the screen needs a viewer, and the world needs an individual. OK, dear hedonists, it’s fine if you and the world complement each other. But we’re talking about normal, disgruntled people.

Facebook wouldn’t be Facebook if it didn’t promise a sea of pleasure. It’s the genre of life, and therefore the topic is pleasure. It requires some bad guys too. In order for the pleasure to be palpable and not boring, the glamorous picture of happiness must be ruined by these bad guys. Kuzma Vostrikov is one of these guys. “It could possibly turn out that we are real.” God forbid! And it doesn’t matter whether that reality is accidental or intentional.



The Facebook phenomenon has been a cause of concern to humanity since time immemorial.  The crowd on Facebook is like the crowd in the metro at rush hour. When we’re all mixed in together with others, the wave of resentment and bitterness clouds over not only logic. Kuzma Vostrikov is the only guy that is happy to mix himself with others. And everyone just looks on, green and bursting with envy.

Not only are you gleaming on one side in your immobile profile picture, but you are sparkling in the hologram of protected enchantment! You are, as they say, not only living the good life, but you have kicked its ass up and down, as they say! But don’t be nervous, Kuzma Vostrikov. You don’t want to slip on the sweaty faces of your admirers!



Digitizing art with your own body – That’s victimhood. That’s a feat.



In Novorossisk, Krasnodar, Tomilino… in prison yards and psychiatric hospitals… I played a lot of chess. By faking fits in front of doctor-murderers I saved the life of my generation. But then it became clear that there was no generation, and the only thing I saved was the principles of the game of chess. Where are you, you lonely wanderer, lover of true freedom?  The pawns are set up all around, pawns named “soldiers of fortune”. Where are you, Great Lonely Wanderer?  Oh, Sorry! You’re on Facebook! We’re on the same path, then. What is “moonlight instead of a mindset”?



Postcards are identical, but each one tries to be impossibly different. You can’t get away from the comparison to a chameleon; Zelig in a Soviet skin, beginning from the ladies’ lace panties on his head and ending with the Austrian mountain ski boots on his feet. Glamour loves us and is waiting in each piss-sprayed archway and shit-filled back alley, but we’ll have Botswana or Hawaii on our faces!

With blistering speed, Kuzma Vostrikov marks his territory with a stream of urine, one face after another, and the territory of homegrown Facebook glamor gleefully submits to the conqueror! We would like to feel sorry for the orange man in his conquered lands; he likely has no idea the moronic empire that he has rained down upon himself.

The freewheeling Kuzma Vostrikov has his own unique manifesto for the insect-munching generation, a Christmas tree ornament of inveterate absurdity.



Kuzma aims for complete obscurity in the glamorous Garden of Eden. A Robinson Crusoe of future forms of perversion, he says, “I want to return the neutral reality to the word ‘Soviet’” (Kuzma dosn’t require glory or historical context; he specifically rejects fame).


Kuzma Vostrikov is the veterinarian of the World Wide Web.


Interactive video games are so yesterday – but in retrospect there is always some balled-up nostalgia for a spent metaphor.  It’s the same as strangling yourself with your own suspenders, not having blown out the candles on your birthday cake. Men who artificially and awkwardly dress as women – it’s from a silent film, from a silent photograph with peacock feathers. Literally using his fingers to give shape to his eyes, kneading them, drawing repugnant lines around them.

The life that was once found in Soviet public toilets has now moved to clubs, but the exalted stench is not quite the same. Try to see each other through your gas masks, my dear big-assed KKKers.   

Kuzma is not attracted to liberal humanism. You won’t be able to force him to piss into the narrow neck of a bottle. Since he does not suffer from an excess of joy, you also won’t be able to make him piss in his girlfriend’s pocket. An educated guy, leaning towards conservatism, garlicky Kuzma drives the main stake into Facebook, just like a real man!



Kuzma Vostrikov’s message is fully in line with mass psychosis, with the primitive scenario of a beautiful, handsomely sweetened, wrapping. Temptation must be primitive. There is a strange contradiction between the expansion of spaces and the desire to specify the intimate. The intimate is flaking off of its own self. The primitive must overthrow the sophisticated. The world is multiplying in the mirrors of the acoustic emptiness.

“Facebook is an industrial, exceptionally well-thought-out, huge, time-wasting machine,” says Kuzma. “Facebook needs a good shit-sucking honey truck to clean it out. Otherwise, there’s a risk that, while passing by the stink pile – even if you hold your nose – you will lose your dignity, your values, and everything else belonging to a respectable person. Facebook is the opposite of aesthetic...”

Nevertheless, Kuzma, together with Ibn Al Arabi, believes that his heart can take any shape. “I don’t make copies of photographs. I don’t enter them from the side or from the back. To the extent possible, I am their backbone!” Kuzma creates a new concentration. Selected photographs from the unnamed sea of the masses will now live for centuries!



Anthropomorphic Kuzma has gotten lost in digital ultimatums. Digital here works as the Doric order, unshakable in its golden ratio. Without proportion there is no measurement. Without measurement there are no levels. Without levels there are no thresholds, and without thresholds there are no and can be no digital photographs.

It’s not very likely that Kuzma Vostrikov’s aim is to open new horizons is the people being photographed. He snuggles up against the Annas, Gennadiys, Fyodors, Vladimirs, Elzas, Renats, Aleksandrs, Nina Filimoshkinas, and Svetas as if they were the Eiffel Tower, Acropolis, Egyptian Pyramids, or Machu Picchu. For Anthropomorphic Kuzma it’s important to be vaccinated against the eternity of the image of the moment.

Between a person and the truth lies mass consumption photography. Kuzma has nestled closer to that. He knows where he’s needed. The miasmas of his refined poses, in an evening languor, flowing over from the shores of daydreams, secularize the creator to the point of dreamy fainting. Stalin, in order to appear taller, put dominoes in his boots, and breadcrumbs and raw potatoes in them as well so they would make a crunching sound.



His biography will be written by others, just as a king chooses his entourage. It would seem that way, anyway. But this is just a trap. There is no Narcissus, and there is no biography. Why was nihilism able to find us after the Second World War? Once we answer that question, we can move further along into our burrow.

Kuzma measures us by Facebook. Later we will understand that, just as any gathering has its litmus paper member, every group has its Kuzma. At any wedding, in any funeral procession. He’s like a minesweeper: in order to defuse the explosion hazard of a photograph, he places his ear next to the ticker, freezes in the pose of the listener. And that’s how we must remember him -- at work.  



The feeling of an impending civil war is like renaming soybeans Spanish fly. You rush about looking for self-definition, jumping from moment to moment, but neither your heart nor your mind can seem to make it work. You call the emergency hotline and hear your voice over the phone, but it’s been recruited as an enemy spy. Is that not a civil war on the outskirts, seen through the chintz curtain?

 In order for words to stop being words, and photographs to stop being photographs, you have to move from level to level, but what those “levels” are must remain known to very few. Otherwise the profane will contaminate the unseeable with itself. It’s here where digital both behaves like an idiot and rules over everything, but like a wave, and not a particle.



The eclectic intelligentsia tries to hide its face as it leaves the wine distillery to go to the garages. Then it pukes in the alley next to the garage.

Wackos -- jumping from one neat thing to the next. You dismal bastards, you don’t think empirical reality is screwing you? Have you never considered that mimicking the West would become an eloquent picture of teenage bums undergoing a metamorphosis from Slavophiles into Westernizers?

Nimble, boring, pale, real guys are already real in other places! And you’re still wasting time on Facebook or in garages when the door to the souvenir shop has been thrown open, and not even by you.

The one-off act of life says nothing. Not to itself, and not to its antipode. You can’t prove anything to death if you only get up and perform once and on some random stage. Wanting something else from life, something other than life itself, is already something. Although it’s murky. The waves of proletarian solidarity have not rocked the boat of empire in vain.



Photography asks that you think fast. Digital photographs are even more cynical. The trick is not to make money, not to have the magic to walk through walls, guess the right number, or find the key. We’ve come closer in order to be in the center.

Kuzma Vostrikov sardonically ridicules this external strategy for success. He doesn’t get closer, jutting out some body part, and it turns out looking like a parody of the silent photograph. The hilarious retro style only entertains those who aren’t participants. And since everyone participates, everyone is annoyed.



The public person has dried up in its desire to be a caricature of its own passions. The carnival-like trusting openness has changed its nature to become anal and virtually somber. The monitor must not simply scintillate with shiny things, but must also paraphrase reality to the point of paroxysms. Each time it is born it screams louder than an infant. The scream is the most important thing in the neon muddle. If you don’t scream like a stuck pig, you have neither balls nor tits. You must scream until you’re hoarse, bang your fists, bare your teeth, and spin, spin, spin.

The desire to live in the beauty of isomorphism, every day jumping from twitter to odnoklassniki, from odnoklassniki to VK, from VK to Facebook, from Facebook to …?

Everything is fouled up by blaming history. Greediness for fame has increased beyond belief, not only in connection with PR technology, but also because of the commonplace hunger for the decadent (affected) permissiveness and the sentimental, comforting feeling of everything being accessible.

Detached by the Renaissance into an individual, the public person has perished under the burden of vanity that has fallen upon them. The sad sight consists of these caved in templates, half-complete first drafts of vanity, of almost-ripened myths. And myth is never able to fully protect our protagonist. A quality scream requires that you rip open your navel. If that belly button isn’t damaged, the screamer doesn’t pass the test for the new public life.

When Kuzma Vostrikov screams, his teeth fly out of his mouth! It’s the true cry of a poisoned animal with blood spurting from its wound! Cioran said that no one can protect their loneliness if they can’t become detestable. The desire to save the world lies past the threshold of derision. This is why Kuzma’s style is so attractive – even the shadow of a shotgun on the wall is already banal.



Whoever has had their picture taken, whoever has squirmed agonizingly in front of a camera, knows what effort it takes to come up with a pose. Just standing in front of the lens with your mouth hanging open is the last thing you want to do. So you start to stick out your tongue, widen your eyes, and shake your ass, using the ingenuous resources of your log of a body.

What is there more of in the specific gravity of this reflected vanity – mimicry or envy? If we take just the surface information, envy certainty makes up the main part. A person consists of 90% water and mimicry.



The camera is like a garbage bag – it gets filled up with all kinds of junk. Cupidity held us back with the previous technology, but digital has no such principles, and is endless and uncontrolled in the bad sense. In filling up the information channels, it leaves no room for choice. Where there is no prudence, there can be no shame. Film held us back, limited the outbursts of the artist, and imposed restraint, communicating the desire for temperance and sincerity.



The general public is our hope and backbone. It hates modern art, and while it still fights to defend its interests, nothing will happen to us. Allow me a negative remark solely to one cultural enlightener. And I make it because he is not just a con man, not just your typical rascal, but rather a boring villain, an anal cynic. Do you know who I mean? No, it’s not Andrey Warhol. It’s Misha Duchamp.

Do you remember the West’s eerie question: Who is Putin? It’s question that turned the world on its head. In order to answer it (the Americans looked for the answer on the moon), they had to design a set. Did the Americans land on the moon, or was it just part of a poker game? Not long ago that question was examined by the United Nations. “If we did not go to the moon, then you have no Putin.” Putin is a virtual man. A computer simulation! Putin exists only in your head and on television! Putin has no bones, flesh, skin… you can’t pinch him or grab his nose, simply because he has no body of which to speak.



In such a project, action and thought are almost balanced. The “image” is the “action”. The image in this project does not step out of its own bounds, just as action does not aspire to a fundamental revolution. In the spectrum of irony here we are leaning not towards cynicism, as is commonplace today, and not towards idiocy and mockery, but towards a futile self-excitation. Usually enticement vulgarizes the result, or in other words, temptation tries to use the result as pornography. Here temptation’s task is to wake the desire into action.

Kuzma Vostrikov’s project is in this sense elegantly infantile! Any idea is interesting in its possibilities of playing with actions, but the brilliance of Kuzma’s esthetic is exactly the opposite. Its concept, its idea, is the reverse. A picture smooths over the loose and incoherent surface of reality. A sad clown playing with shells that have been placed by eschatology on the snowy mountain tops of social utopias. To have the hand of the idea reach the object of desire -- who wouldn’t want that?! With Kuzma, that desire is filed down until it shines! Learning to think is learning to act as if the idea must determine the correct action from among the many. The idea wouldn’t be necessary if the corridors of activity were filled with the absolute of natural instincts. Kuzma’s idea contagiously swims among natural instincts. From this stems the paradoxical annoyance of the photographs that abuse the eyes and the banality of instinct not being able to answer to the public’s taste.



In comparison with the supercoolness of the modern image of lifestyle and success, hopes and expectations remain routine. It’s important to hit the weak points of hope and expectation. Kuzma Vostrikov doesn’t only hit them; he stomps, squishes, crumples, and pulverizes them, until there’s a ringing in your ears and you’re seeing spots. The three questions – why? why? why? –  don’t stay still, but eat into the pores and blood of the viewer. They’re participants, after all. And it evokes more than a tingling – it’s a monstrous itch all over. Try passing Kuzma by indifferently! Try to not scratch what is vexing you!

The laziness of the dandy in the face of others is bound to annoy the neighborhood watch and the public’s artistic curator-guards. Kuzma is not for them. Not for galleries or trivial banquets.



The mass media loves hackneyed ideas. Napoleon had two exhaust pipes, Lenin had tits, and Hitler died with a clitoris instead of a prick and had three balls – this is what is spewed by the yellow presses of every time, people, and continent. Kuzma Vostrikov will attain so much fame that the mass media will choke on its own epithets. Kuzma will be fated to die with a thin waist, busty and fat-assed. You don’t have to be clairvoyant to say that Kuzma Vostrikov will die a woman. He’ll die an old maid. Maybe even a virgin.

But for now, having placed his generation of idiots and cretins in the cheap store window of Facebook, wrapping himself in his orange jacket, Kuzma has started off in an unknown direction like a bat, doing everything to ensure that his works are clearly visible from afar and that they evoke a tortuous envy.


Wilhelm Shenrok,

New York