Dr. Meytuv’s Study
"In my mind, I walk into your study ..."
Maximilian Voloshin

“- Come into the study, I’ll explain everything”
Franz Kafka

The image of the "concentrated" closed space called "study" appears in the XVIII century, during the Enlightenment. It emerges as a place of intellectual reflection of the philosophy of knowledge, including secret sciences. In its seclusion, it offers a model of the world as an encyclopedia, as the focus of the "text" that can describe the whole reality of the universe. Utopia of the study’s world order, being questioned and criticized, is completed in the next, XIX century, evolving into a functional reality, a living practice, in its self-sufficiency providing solutions for specific professional tasks. A bright flash of metaphysics forced a brief reconsideration of the culture of "study" by returning its meanings to the layers of mysticism and mystery in the space with drawn curtains, and the lack of daylight. Gradually the sun fills the space again, illuminating the world of objects, bookshelves, a desk, where autonomous practices take place. The study takes on sovereign status; the social relevance of personality is manifested in its layers of meaning. Personality claims not only independence, but also the right to receive a special role in society and the position of the master, by making aesthetic the phenomenal nature of the "study."

The “studies” of Sergei Meytuv appertain to this particular art-territory. They manifest theater where things tell about its owner, localizing in the mise en scene with the missing hero. Its texture, its corporeality create the internal dimensions of the "study", and its shape builds a spatial drama, turning a little world into the project of universal human capabilities, while maintaining the touching intimacy of a work room.

The culture of Sergey Meytuv is fertilized by the ideas of Marcel Duchamp, multidimensionality of his creative thought, referring to the legendary "green box", in which lies the whole XX century avant-garde. However, the "study’s" plastic holds Gogol’s caskets, "Raskolnikov's room resembling a wardrobe," as described by F. Dostoevsky, and, naturally, Kharms’s “Chest”. It forces the viewer to look into the corners of the space, to track all of its niche, constructivist and baroque shifts and to connect with its energy. Each "study" of Sergei Meytuv is necessarily provided with the mysterious equipment and wires that carry special communication and magical connection with the higher powers. His phenomenal space is not only addressed to the person contemplating, but by acting with the imagery of reverse perspective, seeks to reveal its secret. Its structure allows the viewer to return to the "lost time", to the world "in the snuffbox town", where each item is associated with all the organic integrity of this model of ethical human interaction with unselfish reality. Calling the study a “workshop”, Sergei Meytuv adds to Shakespeare’s “All the world is a stage" his statement "All the world is a human workshop" and "A man’s workshop is the world." Microcosm of things in this workshop naturally turns into a “cosmos of things” where the thing, saved by man, the creator, begins to save man. The thing tested for usefulness and functionality exposes its intimate side, including a history of the owner. Simple table forks, baby dolls, light bulbs, tired of endless work, in the master’s hands suddenly turn into the magical substances, animated subjects entering into a new dialogue with the artist. In his spatial layers the thing, freed from its practical assignment, from its dependence on the practical functionality forces one to pose a question about it: - what is it? - Similar to asking: "Who are we? Where are we from? And where are we going?” This question defines new coordinates of existence for both the person and the things surrounding it, where the thing begins to dictate its will to man. The passive voice of its former existence changed to active, manifesting ecological and ethical principles of the existence of the thing in the ancient sense: not only "man is the measure of all things", but the reverse of this postulate also discovers a completely different integrity, a genuinely symmetrical relationship of the thing and the person, which can be summed up as a "thing is the measure of all people." The material world of Sergei Meytuv, assembled in the "study" and presented in the imagery of the installation, acquires a particularly radical aesthetic realized through true conversation with the thing in the art space. Insistently yet subtly, the phenomenal Jewish consciousness and Jewish culture live in the slowness of this conversation. It hides in the given constraints of object dimensions, manifesting strict boundaries of the Torah. It holds unseen evidence of the presence of the structural principles of Kabbalah in the coordinate system of the sacred hierarchy of the studies. Its uniqueness and separateness from total anonymity of our civilization claim a Kafkaesque loneliness in which immersed in deep dramas and tragedies of world history, a person recovers the right to name objects of everyday reality, returning their sacred meanings and symbols to them. The "studies" line up into a complete procession, including their testimony, the relevance of contemporary Jewish artistic thought and images – the intimate world of Marc Chagall's Vitebsk houses, the charm of wooden structures of Louise Nevelson, the subtle picturesque variations of Rhone China and the "quiet" objects of Jim Dine.

Found in the area of creativity as ready-made, artist’s items are endowed in the "study" with different approach to them, a different sympathy to their spiritual translating. In this concept, a thing naturally moves from the plane of its being to a direct artistic reality, losing its mimetic presence and acquiring the metaphysics of this co-existence. In the topos of this co-existence, the artist becomes the guide; his creative gesture turns into a stream of light, snatching, as evidenced by Martin Heidegger, "the thing from hiding darkness, rising above the essence of the world." In this moment, the artist becomes aware of the fact (and we, the viewers, do it with him) that the object is not reduced to its visible image and that it could be found in its organic depth, in its limit, where the object puts its trust in man.

Conjured of items from bygone heroic time, from a "beautiful era" left in ruins, the studies of Sergei Meytuv mark the limit of unfolding human experience. Their seemingly elementary imagery in the tradition of «artepovera» - taps, plugs, porcelain insulators, timers, old chess, - draws us to ourselves be the enlightened ascetic, and the internally focused "poverty." In its layers, in its letters and messages the great traditions of world culture are traced, making a documentary reality of wooden frames and plates to display the last scene of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard," with the "hammering" of dying Firs in an abandoned manor of Ranevskaya.

Glass vessels, tubes of dry paint, blunt scissors, ink pen, radio set of the late constructivism period turn from profane to the sacred values in the artistic paradox of the "study". Their baroque redundant simplicity, their intense gravity of meanings become a small mirror, which reflects the "greatness of this world", the ultimate nakedness of the situation, and the state on the eve of the return to a single harmonious whole. The sensual side of resurrected objects in the space of Sergey Meytuv’s project displays the border between internal and external, passing through the surface of the thing, through its living texture and spiritual tactility. In the aura of the "study” the cosmic loneliness of man opens together with the abode of salvation, the space of home, which can warm up the soul, frightened by the demons of the social cosmos.

Vitaly Patsyukov