Speaking In Tongues
Guided by Voices


An Ideal Model:
1). is never late;
2). does what she is told to do;
3). is always happy with the result;
4). and never speaks much at all.


By L.Kozlova

In the last years, in the artistic annals of Primorye, the name of Mikhail Pavin has been ever more frequently mentioned with hope and interest. Yet in the creative circles there is a strong admix of irony and disbelief, but it is applied to the most phenomena of contemporary photographic art.
The 160 years history of photography has come its first full circle, having taken in its many years of multiple experiments and discoveries in the artist and his camera's capabilities, its periods of oblivion and decline, as well as the dramatic increase of interest to the camera-work in the post-modernist era.
Easily finding himself in the framework of actual art today, Mikhail Pavin has never openly declared his affiliation, either due to his lack of ambition to be pidgeonholed as such, or to the lack of definition of that framework.
The new series of his works dedicated to ëhis favourite models essentially continues his never-ending sequence in which his play with an object turns into grotesque, symbol, declarative act, or an act almost physiological.
Jocosely expressing himself to his audience in his usual personal style, Pavin playfully enumerates in his own biography his love of still-lives, women and cafe creme. Typically human. It becomes creative only when you realize that Mikhail Pavin's ëfavourite models are those self-cloning homunculi, the concoction of still-lives, ideal girl-friends and some aesthetic idea, pleasing and bitter, like coffee and cream added to your taste.
The ideal model is devoted to the artist like an Oriental houri. Thus, Pavin can punish and pardon the model and its idea quite freely, purposefully and coherently. And × infinitely.
Mikhail Pavin creates the art of situation. The play with dolls in the artist's hands becomes the episodes of real life, now sensual and erotic, now merciless and sexless.
The viewer's only consolation is that, largely, it is but an enacted mystery, the sequence of frames and moods, the play of skillfully set lighting and half-tones. This is why one should look for some serious quest for realizing the formal aesthetic of an object on the part of the artist, beyond his stage effects of unexpected angles of his doll-masks and false hints. This aesthetic search is quite tangible even in his ëFavourite Models series, now floating up from the foam of consciousness like an ancient guise, now turning its cyborg face from the not so distant future.

Translated by Max Nemtsov