Alexander Philipchenko's artistic project – and I have been watching his development with keen interest for quite a few years – is characterized by increasing photo-introspection. Actually, in their self-identification all modern artists who work in photo-based art are inclined to some kind of topography; they try to attach themselves to already existing ‘landmarks' on the map of the art process. Filipchenko self-identifies himself not only in the art process, but also in the photo process itself: in its temporal, optical and functional realities. In point of fact, he himself has meticulously written what he has been doing and what he wants to achieve. And it does represent a great interest. I can add only some ideas. Filipchenko actualizes temporal aspects of his architectural images – he evokes their real time, that time, with its historical, cultural and optical attributes. Why not – A. Poincare wrote about relativity of time measurements: ‘Comparing watches and clocks we cannot say that some of them are right and the others are wrong, the only thing we can say is that we prefer some to the others..' So, let's respect Filipchenko's temporal preferences. Though, that's not the point. However hard the artist may try to persuade us in modesty of his retrospective tasks, let him try as he may; but this modesty is more than pride. The point is neither in retrospection nor in reconstruction. Philipchenko is obviously not ‘the artist of the return', as I.Grabar determined retrospectivism. He makes a point of reconstruction – entirely in postmodernist style - thus actualizing deconstruction. So, the important thing is not that he, while working in photo based art, uses materials and techniques characteristic for the optics of the researched historical and cultural epochs: colored lithography of cityscapes, optical machinery of baroque sets, asceticism of constructivist architectural approaches.

Of much more great importance is the fact that he re-codes the most essential, unshakable, basic thing that characterizes the perception of classic architectural objects, this being their spatial realities. In architecture space-formation (and space-perception, or the situation of observing) is strictly fixed, imprinted, formalized, normatived, measurable.

It is reflected even in the terminology – an order, a step, the intercolumnar, etc. Filipchenko threatens the most sacred – the measured. He changes correlation of fore- and back-grounds, he corrects the placement in the space, he resets a town-planning situation. Just, a little bit. The slightest change of those space-formative caesuras produces an amazing effect which is at the same time both de-constructive and creative: represented as “ a well forgotten old thing”, traditional architectural images shoot with shocking novelty. The automatism of the perception vanishes. Recently, philosophy has been studying the phenomenon called ‘changed states of consciousness'. Actually, it is this that Philipchenko's art activity corresponds to: while re-cording space-formation and space-perception of architectural monuments, he achieves changed – i.e. fruitful – states of architectural consciousness.

Dr. Alexander D. Borovsky.

Head of the Department of Contemporary Art, The State Russian Museum