Pavel Rotts, born in Petrozavodsk, Russia and based in Helsinki, works with various techniques and forms, such as conceptual art, performance, sculpture, sound art, installation and moving image. Pavel holds an MFA from the University of Arts Helsinki and previously studied at St.Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design, graduating from Pro Arte Institute in 2008.
The Climbing a Memory project by Helsinki-based artist Pavel Rotts in the Narva Art Residency in collaboration with the Narva Museum will occur in March and April 2024. The exhibition of the project is timed to the 80th anniversary of the March Bombings of Narva in 1944, which main topic is collective memory about the war and its manifestations in public space.
Traces of the Soviet bombings of WWIl, which are still visible on the walls in the cities of Narva and Helsinki, are the main objects of the research. Rotts studies these traces using the method that he calls “tangible understanding”. He works with negative space by taking the imprints of the walls damaged by Soviet bombshells and creating negative sculptures to recreate the absent matter of the damaged buildings.
The first part of the project – the exhibition of the negative sculptures of Krenholm buildings will appear in the NART gallery. The participatory event of burning clay sculptures in a specially designed furnace will occur at Krenholm Manufacturing in May 2024.
The second part of the project is the exhibition in the Narva Museum. In cooperation with Pavel, the museum organizes a major event where everyone can learn about the history of Estonia by touching the lost city with their own hands. The artist works with the collection of architectural elements of the old Narva in the Museum storage. Using 3D scanning, silicone and resin, he creates climbing holds in the shape of these elements, which he will use to build a climbing wall as a part of the historical exhibition by Narva Museum. The climbing wall will be installed on the city square, and the artificial climbing holds created by Pavel from the casts of museum objects will be attached to the wall. The audience will climb this wall with the help of a professional climbing instructor and safety gear. By making history tangible, we can better understand it. The climbing in the project for Pavel is a way to let the audience engage with history.
The exhibition curator is Kerly Ritval. Pavel’s residency at NART is supported by The Finnish Cultural Foundation (Suomen Kulttuurirahasto) and the exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (Eesti Kultuurkapital).