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My Pet Pandora Boxes

Part of Red Rijeka Assembly group show. SIZ Gallery in Kortil Gallery, Rijeka, Croatia

April-May, 2017

My Pet Pandora Boxes was an installation consisted of the four pieces: This Side Left (corrugated cardboard box with printed caption. 50×50×50 cm); The Left Wing. Inverted copy of Albrecht Dürer's 'Wing of a European Roller' (watercolor on paper. 21×30 cm; idea: Ilya Orlov; watercolor: Irina Ptakhova); False Leftists' Flag (print on cotton. 50×90 cm); Art is Neither Able to Accelerate Nor to Substitute a Political Change (print, 50×80 cm).

Ilya Orlov. This Side Left. 2017.

This Side Left. Corrugated cardboard box with printed caption. 50×50×50 cm. 

Ilya Orlov artist

The Left Wing. Inverted copy of Albrecht Dürer's 'Wing of a European Roller'. Watercolor on paper. 21×30 cm. (Idea: Ilya Orlov; watercolor: Irina Ptakhova). Photo: Christian Costa.

Ilya Orlov artist

False Leftists' Flag. Print on cotton. 50×90 cm.

Ilya Orlov artist

Art is Neither Able to Accelerate Nor to Substitute a Political Change. Print. 50×80 cm.



The organizers of Red Rijeka Assembly asked me to write

some brief explication for my artwork

in order to help mediators at the gallery to explain the show

to the children of elementary and high schools. 

Here is the text I wrote for kids.

A text for adults I will write some time later on

(if they need any).


This work consists of four parts: the cardboard box with a caption, the watercolor depicting a bird's wing, the flag, and the photo of ballet dancers. Can you guess what is it about?

It is about word and thinking. It is also about word and thinking in politics. What is the most important condition for thinking?

The most important is orientation, a coordinate system. It is akin a map: it would be hard to figure out without a map where we are and where to go.


What are the keywords for orientation in space, and what are the coordinates?

The key words are 'left' and 'right'. This pair of words is your best helper when you need to explain where to go, or when someone explains you the easiest way to get to some place.

But it is not only everyday life when and where we need these 'left' and 'right'. Philosophy and politics cannot function without it too. You might heard that some of the politicians are of 'the right', some are of 'the left' wings or directions. Sometimes they are also called 'right-wing'" and 'left-wing'. Do you know why?

There was the French Revolution in the late 18th century. People dethroned the king and started to make decisions themselves. They were getting together discussing the most important questions. Those who wanted changes (and wanted it as soon as possible) were sitting on the left side of the room; those who were afraid of changes and wanted to keep the things as they are or even to bring the past back were sitting on the right side. Since then, all the politicians are divided into 'the left' and 'the right'.

The leftist politicians often accuse each other of being not enough 'true' leftist. Sometimes they even get into argument saying that the opponent is a 'false leftists'. Meanwhile, the right-wing politicians usually consider all the leftist being 'false'. It is remarkable that it is never said that the right-wing politicians are false. They are as if being 'always genuine'. Do you think why?

Perhaps, is it because they never search for truth and don't want to change the world for the better? They are even not sure that there is the truth. The leftists want changes, they believe there is the truth, and claim for truth and justice. What is at stake is truth, for leftists.

The artist who made this work is a leftist too. For many times he heard someone says that the leftists are false. He decided to make a flag out of it: as a friendly joke that could encourage his friends to maintain holding their stance, regardless what other people say.

What about this cardboard box? You might have seen the caption in English they usually write on top of cardboard boxes: 'this side up'. Here the artist wrote on one of the sides: 'this side left'. Do you think the same words could be written on some other sides of the box?

You might know the watercolor by the famous 16th century artist Albrecht Dürer The Wing of European Roller. You might have seen it in Albertina Museum in Vienna. The artist who made this work, inverted Albrecht Dürer's drawing from right to left and added the caption 'The Left Wing'. Do you think, is it about a bird's wing only, or is it about something else?

What about this poster with ballet dancers? It is written on it: “art is neither able to accelerate nor to substitute a political change”. Does it say that art is akin an 'ivory tower' that cannot change the world? Or this poster indeed says something different? Do you think what art is for?

Text: Ilya Orlov


Nemanja Cvijanović, Sezgin Boynik.

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