Nikolay Oleynikov

assorted artworks {since 2010 'till present}


Installation (textile, sewing, acrylic), dimensions variable, 2016

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The materials for this work are used bed sheets and towels that have preserved traces of life lived – some­one’s wishes, nightmares, impulses, dreams and bodily fluids. Actually, the theme of sleep has been present in Oleynikov’s previous work. In 2005 he created his monumental mural “Sleeping worker”, and in 2007 the graphic series “Heroes”. If the first thematized the political sleep of the modern working class, then the second, who portrayed indifferent young people sunbathing on the beach, spoke to the civil passivity of the contemporary intellectual class.

In his new work the artist returns to the theme of sleep and yet again interprets it politically. The protagonist of this work, “waking up in cold sweat”, realizes that his beloved “left him before the dawn” (classical motif for the blues song), but his conscious still lives the thought that tortured him in his sleep, “insurrection is impossible”. Thus the artist connects the loss of his partner to the impossibility of civil political action. In other words, to him love is rebel­lion, and the excitement of revolution is akin to sensu­al excitement. Love and political revolt are also com­parable in the fact once materialized they make old life impossible and open a door into something new and uncharted and what in the moment seems to be definitely glorious.

As he often  does, Oleynikov gives this piece a structure of a ballade, or even collection of songs, a pod-cast sometimes quoting sometimes referring to existing songs from The Sparks (Rock!) to Meredith Monk (Last Song), to the late soviet punk (Zvuki Mu, Grazhdanskaya Oborona, Zdob Si Zdub). Or reciting some poems (in italian) like fragment of Mayakovsky’s Cloud in Trousers where he describes his state of anxiety of the lover as his nerves would jump out of his body to run crazily on the floor of his bedroom. And one of the major pieces of this series is Oleynikov’s own poem:


In every curl on your pelvis – Lenin
In every new sip of your saliva – Gramsci
In your left armpit – Angela Davis in ferrocious leap
In every scratch-hatch-crack-fold – Virno/Agamben/Negri and their comrades-in-melancholy
On this and on this nipple – Luxemburg and Aliende
In amber of your jet – poor Benjamin
On a single hair – our Pier-Paolo collapsed on the send
That’s why in each splash and every slap of my sperm there is 0.01% average concentration of your tears, and unless 1 drop of my menstrual blood

This piece was carried out with the help of sewing cooperative “Shvemy” (Anna Tereshkina, Olesya Zamojskaya)

Background murals are by Gabriella Ciancimino


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on November 6, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

%d bloggers like this: