Konstantin Zvezdochetov

Viola in Egypt, 2006
150x120 cm



This is another episode featuring the girl from the pack of the Finnish cheese spread Viola – one of the main treats of the Era of Stagnation. The cycle about the adventures of this charming character, which is a reference to the Soviet consumer practice of enjoying some elite imported goods, was started by Konstantin Zvezdochetov in the mid 1990s (Viola at the Bottom of Mount Kazbek, 1995; Viola on the Table and Viola and the Moralists, 2004).
The blonde beauty, having survived through the ‘crazy’ 1990s, finds herself holding a bunch of flowers amid the instantly recognizable pyramids and palm trees – the signature landmarks of the Egyptian all-inclusive resorts so popular among the post-Soviet tourists of the ‘fat’ 2000s. The distinctive font of the word ‘Egypt’ indicates the origins of the idyllic desert image – the pack of Camel cigarettes, where Viola poses instead of the brand’s iconic camel. The wide-eyed look of Viola’s bright blue eyes into the distance in combination with the golden-yellow hues of the surrounding desert give the image a sacred dimension, sending the viewer back to Byzantine mosaics and the imagery of the Soviet baroque.
The artist places his character into absurdist surroundings with blurred lines between the sacred, the elitist and the bluntly trivial signs of different eras, speaking primarily to the audience with Soviet and post-Soviet experience.