“Liên Xô” (Viet. - Soviet) project is based on the study of Ho Chi Minh trail phenomenon — a logistical system that appeared on the territories of Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Total installation comprised of ready-mades, photographs, works on paper and paintings will split the gallery space into two parts, metaphorically illustrating two points of view on the Trail: vertical imperial ideologeme, shaped in the conditions of bipolar world and the “animate” jungles, as seen by the Vietnamese people.
Having lasted for almost 20 years, the Vietnam War was a part of a much wider conflict. It was the main, yet not the only episode of the Second Indochina War that took over nearly all of the former French colonies, from Tonkin to Cochinchine. However the Ho Chi Minh Trail remained the main axis, with the military activity based in Vietnam as wall as Cambodia and Laos, revolving around it. This road was a common thread spanning through the history of South-East Asia.
By constructing an opposition between the drawings, symbolising dry colonial vision of the Trail expressed by the superpowers, and abstract paintings, executed in the Novikov’s signature style, the artist demonstrates the polar views — from “above” and from “below” — not merely towards the Ho Chi Minh Trail, but the Vietnam War itself. Soviet presence in the war did not only bring victory to the communist government of Northern Vietnam. It was the first encounter of the post-revolutionary Russia with the “culture of jungles”. Yet what remained of this experience and how it is seen today is still to be figured out.