‘Hunters of the marble heads’ – Pepperstein exhibition at The Russian Academy of Fine Arts Museum, St Petersburg

Pepperstein-Hunters of the Marble heads-1

Hunters of the marble heads (archaeology of the future).

In about 50 years from now (i.e. somewhere in 2066) people all over the world will start finding in the most unexpected places marble heads, like fragments of some graven image. The attention of researchers will immediately be drawn to the following circumstances:

  1. It will be impossible to establish when the heads (the so-called ‘x heads’) were made, even using the most advanced technology.
  2. Even though the heads will look like they have broken off from statues, nobody will be able to find the other parts of the marble body.

An entire caste of seekers of these mysterious heads will spring up and enter the collective consciousness as ‘the hunters of the marble heads’. Many violent and not so violent disputes will break out over the discoveries. Scientists and other curiously-minded folk will put forward a variety of hypotheses about the heads, some quite audacious. One hypothesis will say these heads are not from the past but from the future. Another version will claim that the ‘x heads’ are the work of aliens. But it will remain unclear why aliens, or people of the future, had needed to flood the Earth with these fragmentary sculptures. The number of heads found will steadily increase, ‘x head’ museums will appear in different cities across the world, and a market will emerge where these strange artefacts, possessing neither author nor history, will circulate.

The lack of legend associated with these pseudo fragments will be offset by the influence that the ‘x heads’ will assume over real people. By getting close to the heads the sick will be cured whilst some will claim that physical proximity to the artefacts enhances their minds with telepathic or clairvoyant abilities. There will be many myths and adventure stories about the ‘the hunters of the marble heads’. Representatives from all walks of life will pour into this special caste which will be shrouded in an atmosphere of legend and daring exploits.

Today, from the perspective of 2016, it would be presumptuous to describe in detail the process of finding the heads and their impact on mankind. Our goal is modest: we want only to hint at those phenomena (e.g. bifurcation of time) which will soon face the earth’s inhabitants.

For many centuries sculpture has been the ‘focus and likeness of neurosis’ in the words of Sigmund Freud. The toppling and destruction of statues has long meant much more than the statues themselves. The world is littered with their fragments, and, who knows, maybe not only the past but also the distant future contributes to the inexhaustible archaeological layer, capable of serving up more and more surprises.

© Pavel Pepperstein, 2016

The exhibition will be open until 28 February 2016.


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