Baptism by fire: Belarusian artist Jura Shust on myths and science in Moscow

15 May 2017

Tomorrow Baptism by Fire, the first solo exhibition by Belgium-based Belarusian artist Jura Shust in Russia, opens at Moscow’s ISSMAG gallery.

Curated by Alexander Burenkov, Baptism by Fire explores the relationship between myths, both Soviet and contemporary, and science, technology and the characteristics of modern hyper-capitalism.

In light of his study of symbolism in Soviet culture, the artist has created a series of drawings with activated charcoal on the walls of ISSMAG gallery. These images see Shust merge Soviet tradition with recognisable aspects of the diverse philosophies and teachings that gained popularity across the post-Soviet space in the late 20th century: from Buddha and yoga to Soviet champagne.

Baptism by Fire centres around three key works: Spirit Intoxication, Newton’s Cenotaph, and Baptism by Fire.

Shust’s Spirit Intoxication installation features inverted wine glasses, in which wine is replaced by toxic green washing up liquid, while Newton’s Cenotaph — made up of broken circular mirrors placed in pizza boxes — makes reference to French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée’s unrealised gravestone project Cenotaph for Isaac Newton. The third work, Baptism by Fire, has been created specially for this exhibition.

Born in 1983 in Molodechno, Belarus, Jura Shust lives and works in Belgium. Over the past three years the artist’s work has been exhibited in Belgium and other European countries, and in summer 2016 Shust took part in the 5th Moscow Biennale for Young Art.

Baptism by Fire will run from 16 May — 10 June at ISSMAG in Moscow. Find out more about the exhibition and ISSMAG here.