Vladimir Tarasov says that «best relationships in the art sphere occur between artists of different genres: when a conversation is held between musicians, it is most likely each of them speaking of himself». Tarasov early became an insider in the society of artists, writers and poets. He started making installations already in the 1970s, thanks to his friend artist Ilya Kabakov. In 1991 Kabakov showed his work Red Wagon at a Dusseldorf exhibition of Russian Conceptualists (Red Wagon referring to wagons where political agitation was held for prisoners). It turned out that Tarasov’s solo program ATTO 3. Drama Theatre, that was, too, dedicated to the Soviet regime and camps, fit ideally with Kabakov’s project, and they decided to combine their works. That was Tarasov’s first true collaboration with Kabakov in this genre. It was followed by Incident in Museum or the Music of Water, project born from the impression of the falling rain drops watched by the author hiding from summer shower under a tree. Further came another project, Concert for Flies.

— That’s how I live since then, – Tarasov says, – as soon as I feel that music has become just a job, I jump aside, into the territory of installation. Eventually, as I still want to play the drums, I return to music.

As to his own solo projects, in which video coexists with percussion accompaniment, like the ones on show at ROSPHOTO, Vladimir Tarasov calls them “sound games”.

— For me everything is connected with sound, the movement starts from the percussion. The more proficient I become with the instrument, the more it opens to me. Percussion is the most ancient instrument, and it was not invented by man. It existed from the very beginning: beat stone beaten against stone, stick against stick. A drum is not just “fast and loud”, it is something more; the pauses between sounds, for instance, are extremely. That’s why percussion fits very well with words and visual sequence.

One of such uncreated instruments, found in the mountains not far from Baku, became character of Gobustan installation. A huge shallow boulder, several tons of weight, standing on resonators, produces such a variety of sounds that it compares to a whole bell tower. Several monitors capture the author playing the stone that had been used long ago as a signal drum. The ancient archetypes are realized here, in the space between image and sound.

Vladimir Tarasov’s only soundless installation is the Christmas Wreath. It was shown in Vilnius on the New Year’s Eve of 2001. Seven Catholic churches were decorated by candles in such way that looking from a bird’s eye view it seemed that a wreath is put over the city, like a Christmas wreath on an entrance door. This work is represented by photographs. The project IN BETWEEN is dedicated to the last paddle-wheel steamer Gogol cruising along Severnaya Dvina River. The central monitor of this three-part composition reminding of a fragment of film footage, shows a wheel with water visible through it. The left one shows the hands of an outstanding American bass player, his bow and strings; the right one shows Tarasov’s hands, brushes and drum. The exhibition also includes the installation SEPTIMA dedicated to Venice and the video project INSIDE OUT that allows the viewer to experience the inner state of a drummer.


In 1999 Russian Drama Theatre of Lithuania held premiere of the play And Immediately I Had A Drink, directed by Vladimir Tarasov, after Venedict Yerofeyev’s poem Moscow-Petushki. In 2002 in the same theatre he directed the Return of Dionisius, opera of a German composer Edwin Geist. In 1998 his autobiographical book Trio was published by the NLO publishing house in Moscow. Same publishing house issued in 2009 Tarasov’s next book, Tam-Tam. In 2009 Vladimir Tarasov became laureate of Triumph award (independent Russian award for high achievements in literature and art). Musician and composer calling himself “jazzman by mind and sound”, Tarasov has been “improvising” in many various fields for many years. Speaking of installations, Tarasov notes:

“Once it is made, you get the painful feeling that it is lacking something. You leave it, then return and see that it no longer needs you: it sings, plays, is happy.”

And feelings, we all know, are catching.

Maria Gavrilchik