Moni Lazariston / Bazaar Hamam / Warehouse C, Thessaloniki Port Area / Museum of Byzantine Culture / Courtyard of the Archaelogical Museum of Thessaloniki

Andrei Filippov
 Artists's biography
PILA (SAW), photo from the project, 2006 
PILA (SAW), open air installation, 2006 
PILA (SAW), photo-montage, 2006 
PILA (SAW), photo-montage, 2006 
PILA (SAW), installation, Thessaloniki, 2007 

The Saw of History
Andrei Filippov conceived "Saw" (2006) at the end of the 1980s, when the Berlin Wall came down, putting an end to the political and economic conflict between the East and West. At the same time of the Wall's fall - or perhaps because of it – discussions arose about the supposedly insurmountable cultural differences of the East and West. At the beginning of the new millennium we now speak of the religious conflict between them - only the word "East" is now associated not with Eastern Europe, but with the Islamic world, and opposing it seems futile. Filippov has created a giant saw that slices the earth from within - an image of unappeasable fate inflicting wounds on humanity, like geological faults. Only here the hand of fate does not strike from above, where people are used to expecting it, but from the depths, from the "roots" - a dangerous concept that can lead to political earthquakes.
When Filippov conceived this work, he was thinking of the rupture of the Roman Empire in 395 and the schism that divided Christianity into its Eastern and Western versions, which became final in 1054. But while the project sat unrealized (in the 1990s Russia was not financially or psychologically ready for it), all of the "hot spots" of Europe and the Mediterranean lined up along the border between the Roman Empire's eastern and western halves - in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Palestine... Another historical border, not as bloody, was the original border of the Holy Roman Empire; although this line soon became totally fictitious and irrelevant, ten centuries later an economic border between communist and capitalist Europe appeared along it.
… This approach is very apt today. The conflict between the West and the East, be it the communist Warsaw Pact or the Islamic world, is usually interpreted as an opposition of pragmatism and common sense on one side against what is called "fanaticism" on the other. One side of the scale, life is about consumption, while on the other side, life is about allegiance to an ideal.
… That saw has now cut its way to the surface. The further we get from 1989, the more it seems that the West, which has absorbed all of Europe, even Russia, should not surrender the willingness to value an idea more than the pleasures of life. In any event, a conceptual artist - an artist of ideas by definition - is incapable of thinking that way. He can't raise a monument without raising an issue.
Ekaterina Degot

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