POEM: Pavel Arseniev

Slightly Edited (from the article of a critic)
translated by The Cement Collective

I am a poet and an activist,
desperately resembling S in the movie “ Sh-Sh”:

“So young and already (or despite it?) trying.”
One ought to be, of course, the most lonely
or the most miserable

to respond so critically.
Especially because in our case,
they don’t talk at all about the “artist”
but exclusively about the young activist,
the citizen, and of course, the poet—
although the texts for the show tell the opposite story.

It’s unclear whether I really have artistic ambitions.

It wouldn’t be a bad thing, of course,

why not and who cares,

if there really are very few young artists.

And I, whose articles are full of the words “now” and “today”
at the beginning of almost every paragraph,
rather pragmaticly use
any chance for Applications.
The life of Noam Chomsky, clearly, has become a reference point for me.

My art is becoming a space for large-scale installations,

as a rule, with an eye to a certain socio-political topicality.

Between the white foam letters unevenly cut by me
you could walk and take pictures; it’s effective.
The carving style resembles the most famous Soviet font,
but the first line, the biggest “THAT”
greeting the audience on the threshold, of course, brings to mind
the classical techniques of Erik Bulatov.

I am a young poet-activist-citizen,
and I hasten to use any airspace
for language exercises,
asserting the need for a direct link
between life and art,
and I choose for my exhibition
cute lines from the work of Soviet art-dissident,
whose works would fail to inspire tenderness
in only the most indifferent and callous child.

“The machine of irony,” surfacing in relation to my poetic texts,
rounds off the traces of megalomania of the Soviet past.
Here, in a highly witty and ironic form,
I declare my guilt in this and that.
This kind of pretentiousness evokes a smile,
evoking indulgence—for both the author and ourselves.

Republished from Stanford Arcade (CC).

Photo by Egor Myznik (Unsplash).

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