Whatever subject Gorshkov takes, even a scary one, he always comes up with a feast for the heart. A temperate continental climate and the sun of Voronezh, where the sculptor was born and shaped, and where he is creating have a beneficial effect on his works — appealing through their simplicity and bringing joy and optimism.
He doesn’t write manifestoes, doesn’t get involved in politics, is free from vanity, chooses lime-wood as the most pliant timber. Relevance wanders into Gorshkov’s art on its own. A lack of hurry, natural taste and a keen eye for the everyday all help.
This artist is not a stranger to Roza Azora. He is indeed one of its pioneers. Even in the old days, when the gallery was in Maly Vlasyevsky Pereulok, in one of the few wooden houses to have survived the 1812 fire of Moscow, Gorshkov conveyed a passion for flora and fauna through his project Prirodovedeniye (Study of Nature) (1996).
Naturally, as soon as the Year of Ecology was announced in Russia, the master responded at once and took up the issue of conservation in an assertive and practical vein.
In search of inspiration, the sculptor went to a regional museum, to pore over the natural history section containing the works of taxidermists and study the habitats contained in its glass cases.
A visitor is normally rooted to the spot by the sight of an elk with a plaster nose, the glass eyes of an Indian python, a pike with gaping jaws or a deer about to dig its hoof into the parquet floor so that they should never be able to touch endangered or red-listed species of birds, beasts, bugs and butterflies. Gorshkov was rooted to the spot too. His response is a total installation that is going to outdo Jan Fabre’s macabre carnival at the State Hermitage Museum.
The exhibition will be adorned with hunting trophies displaying the faces of a wolf, a fox, a bear, a kitty, a hen, a domestic duck, a carp, a musk-rat, a mouse, a gudgeon as well as a rare steppe jerboa, a relative of the African desert rodent. Rabelaisian feasting tables laden with vegetables and fruits, hams and sausages and rows of bottles are unavoidable. A flowerbed with daisies and tulips will also be there.
It may seem that there is a reference to the cruelty and absurdity embedded in the concept of the exhibition prepared by Gorshkov. That would however be a wrong assumption. The Red List project's sole priority is improving Russia's ecology.