AN OAK TREE BY MICHAEL CRAIG-MARTINTemporary Union “Chronotope’’, St. Petersburg
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2021
Director: Ilya Moshchitsky
The title of the production by St. Petersburg director Ilya Moshchitsky refers us to the work by conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin “An Oak Tree”, exhibited at the Tate Modern. The piece, described as being an oak tree, is installed in two units – a pristine installation of a glass of water on a glass shelf and a text mounted on the wall, in which Craig-Martin describes changing "a glass of water into a full-grown oak tree without altering the properties of the glass of water". Emulating the British conceptualist, Moshchitsky tests to what extent the audience is ready to trust an artist's ability to transform reality. Before our eyes he turns a random spectator into a character who has lost his daughter and seems to be one step away from losing his mind. What does that require? Not much. All one needs to do is to hand a printed text to the person who comes on stage, switch on suitable soundtracks at the right moments, build mis-en-scenes before our eyes, change the lighting - and here we are, already held captive by the magic of the stage. Moshchitsky`s production analyses the manipulative nature of theatre and the nature of manipulation itself. At the same time, he tries to draw a fine line between reality and illusion or rather hints that this line, in fact, does not exist.