An exhibition by SASHAPASHA at the Vyksa Steel Works History Museum
The Peat and Lace project revolves around several aspects of the Nizhny Novgorod region's history, which at first glance may seem unrelated: electrification, peat extraction, forced labor, handicrafts, forest fires. But the method of artistic research has allowed the duo to discover and unveil imperceptible connections. Thus, Balakhna, the historical hub for lace-making – an airy and almost immaterial craft – during the industrialization period became a powerful industrial centre, where the largest peat-fired power station in the country and the world was built. The Balakhna Forced Labour Camp, one of nearly 80 flags the invisible Gulag map in the Nizhny Novgorod region, specialised in peat extraction. The plan of great works = electrification of the whole country = GOELRO plan = Ilyich's light bulb in every home. The fire of the world revolution according to A.F. Losev, 'jubilantly gives birth to a new society'.
The fire maps, the plan of great works, a peat deposits and peat extraction map, as well as a map of the Gulag in the Nizhny Novgorod region get superimposed in multiple semantic layers, forming a single lace-embroidery-banner. All things intertwine with each other. The blinking LED lights might easily be mistaken for an extensive network of electrification, but they actually represent the 2010 wildfire map. The location for this project was not chosen by chance either – the famous cast-iron staircase is a great example of 'cast-iron lace', the secret of which was well kept by Vyksan craftsmen.

Another part of the exhibition comprises a video installation in a dark brick niche of one of the buildings of the Batashev brothers' manor-industrial complex. In the Peat and Lace project, the text literally becomes part of the installation. It does not impose itself on the viewer, but invites them to immerse themselves in the artists' research. The desk, the lamp, books with bookmarks – are not a didactic attempt to clarify the meaning, but instead a way to reveal the work for interaction with the audience and expand the contextual field of the work.
2009, Helsinki | Finland
SASHAPASHA is an artistic duo created in 2009 in St Petersburg by Alexandra (b. 1985) and Pavel Rotts (b. 1982). They are currently based in Helsinki, Finland.
Both artists graduated from the Saint Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design and the PRO ARTE School for Young Artists (St Petersburg).

SASHAPASHA are experimental artists and designers extensively working with performance, sound art, video, photography, painting, sculpture and installation. Recently, the duo has been exploring the theme of personal and collective memory, melding tradition and modernity in their practice.

Selected solo shows:
Silk Road – Vaaga Gallery, Cable Factory, Helsinki, Finland, 2018.
Penal Labor – Russian Bar project by TOK curators, Helsinki, Finland, 2018.
Jet Lag Prisoners – Zarya CCA art residency, Vladivostok, Russia, 2018.
PARADNAYA/RAPPU – Cultura fest, Helsinki, Finland, 2017.
KANAVA – ART re.FLEX Gallery, St Petersburg, Russia, 2016.

Selected group shows:
Micro Sites Vallila – Public Art Trail, Helsinki, Finland, 2018.
One Northeast – Zarya CCA, Vladivostok, Russia, 2018.
Love/Create – Cultural Center Gromov, St Petersburg, Russia, 2018.
V Baltic Biennale of Contemporary art. Baltic Interconnections – New Museum, St Petersburg, Russia, 2016.
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