Project series: Unconditional Love
Teplistan - Moscow
The first project of Edgar's series "Unconditional Love"
Last year I got an invitation to a street art festival that was organized by the MEGA shopping centre (Tepli-Stan/Moskau). For various reasons, I was only able to accept my participation this year. Some years ago I was in Moscow for a purely commercially-based project, now I was looking forward to having the option of creating a so-called free project there. That I could be entirely free in my picture choice was the crucial point for the commitment. And of course, I also wanted to see again Moscow - it is fun to meet people of different culture and mentality.
Even before I left, the media reported on the disaster that was caused there by the forest and peat fires and unfortunately still persisted. After consulting with my team, I decided nevertheless to fly to Moscow, which I have to admit was somewhat naive. The conditions that we found there were terrifying. On the way to the hotel I was already wondering whether we should quickly take the next plane home - away from here! The air was intolerable. An acrid smell - even in air conditioned rooms - was almost unbearable. The systems are not designed to filter such pollution.
At the first site visit, I had to decide whether I would paint outdoors rather than inside the shopping centre. Since it was only slightly cooler inside but otherwise similar bad conditions, I decided to go outside - I'm a street artist and not a shopping mall artist.
The impressions of the following five days (including preparation day) are too hard to describe in words for me. An absurd, almost surreal situation presented itself to us. We worked from early morning until noon, at least to escape the great heat. The face respirators protected us from the smell and some dust, but the carbon monoxide made it hard for us to create. Time and again we had to pause and move into the cool rooms of the shopping mall.
However, as the picture progressed, it was clear we could see it through here. If 8 million out of 16 million people are still in Moscow trying to get on with their everyday lives, then we could paint on. Now more than ever! I was fascinated by the surreal situation. To document the course of work for later, I made - as with all my projects - a photo journal of our progress. On these, the smog made the colours looked pale, disguised by the dense filter. The horizon looked particularly blurred.
Shortly before the project in Moscow, I was with friends on vacation on the beautiful island of Cres (Croatia). Here I collected drawings and photos of the fantastic nature for a digital design. I wanted to bring this beautiful, gripping nature to Moscow - "The Lagoon" was the originally planned title. A holiday scene in central Moscow - this idea appealed to me. But given the circumstances which then appeared in Moscow I decided this title was no longer appropriate.
The people in the city had to try and make the best of it. What could they do any differently? Not all have the financial choice to escape the situation. Business as usual, the hope that it will not be so bad to go out, trust in the government as the only weapon against fear and despair. This fear was, if not anywhere to be seen, obviously felt. Not only among the people. I watched a scared stray dog that tried to go into the mall. Birds were seen no more. A ghostly situation. And I was reminded at times of my vacation to the beautiful side of nature, in which I felt was love. Love and fear, the contrasting sources from which we create our reality, every man for himself. Here they met each other for me.