Anastasia Veprevas artistic practice focuses on the analysis and discourse of historical memory. She works in various techniques with the idea of systems of oppression, and with the idea of death. Anastasia is an artist who works through the use of different techniques from video to text, drawing, photo, collages, and performances. The exhibition “Dead care” is divided into two parts, drawings created in 2020 during the period of self-isolation and tactile hand-crafted paper sculptures offering a carefully con-structed visual conversation between the two.
The dead (victims of hostilities, victims of repression, victims of violence) are often stripped of their humanity and subjectivity for the sake of political games. Anastasia thinks that it is necessary to create a utopian place in which bodies are removed from the collective historical grave and find their own space of peace and comfort. According to Anastasia: “Our reality is millions of unidentified bodies buried in collective graves or simply scattered across the forests. There they all lie in one heap both “ours” and “not ours”, and security officers, and victims of repression, and soldiers, and civilians. And this mass is growing regularly. The war ends when the last soldier is buried – our wars never end, they take place outside and within our conditional borders – against “outsiders”, against our own.
In St. Petersburg, they do not allow the installation of memorial plaques to the repressed, in Sandarmokh they do not allow to study mass graves, and students, in general, are imprisoned under forged articles – like the historian Yuri Dmitriev. All this is our mournful everyday life, in which even dead people are godlessly exploited for the current political gain”. The exhibition “Dead care” consists of drawings and the crib sculptures with dancing skeletons frieze.In the first part of the exhibition, the viewer is greeted by the so called Guardians of the Dead – heroes, both humans, and animals. Drawings based on photographs of the First World War, with the first prototypes of gas masks, which arose as a response to massive attacks with mustard gas. In the second part, we find ourselves in a tomb or heaven, where the dead, taken from collective graves, are sleeping in their beds having finally found peace and tranquility. This part of the exhibition represents an artistic solution to the situation. Anastasia said: “This is a space of free-floating when we have already gone through all the hardships and recognition and finally saw the sun, the horizon of our perspective. Here, each dead person has their own bed in which they can sleep peacefully. He is at home, he feels good and warm, and no one pulls him, does not wake him up, and does not try to return him to this day for his own benefit. The boundaries here are rather arbitrary, after all, the pedestal with cribs is our ideal future, which we will have to work very hard to achieve.” In the same room with sculptures, there is a frieze with dancing skeletons, reminiscent of an artistic genre of allegory from the Late Middle Ages: The Dance of Death.
Anastasia Vepreva is an artist, curator and artcritic from St. Petersburg, Russia. Born in Arkhangelsk in 1989. As an artist, she works with speculative and fictional approaches in Memory Studies and critical understanding of new technologies. Along with solo exhibitions, she participated in The 2nd Garage Triennial, Stuttgarter Filmwinter, PLURIVERSALE III, IV The Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Manifesta 10, 35th Moscow International film festival. Winner of Garage Museum Grant for artists (2019-2020). Organizer and cocurator Suoja / Shelter festival in Helsinki, Fin-land. Vepreva is published in Moscow Art Magazine, Art Leaks Gazette, Dialog of Arts, independents portals Colta.ru, Aroundart.org. Editor of the KRAPIVA portal. Holds a double MA degree from Smolny College, SPBU, St. Petersburg and Bard College, NY, USA. Holds a Specialists degree in history.