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'Night Rider' by Yan Posadsky at Devyatnadtsat’, Moscow

Jan Posadsky's project is inspired by the 2007 film Ghost Rider starring Nicolas Cage. The film is about a young motorcycle stuntman whose soul the devil manages to buy. As a result, the stuntman is forced to serve Satan, doing his errands and simultaneously trying to annoy him. At night, he turns into an immortal knight with a burning skull instead of a head and has a fiery motorcycle, ready to destroy demons and protect the innocent. In the finale, having fulfilled the main task of the devil, he refuses to take his soul back, choosing instead the fate of an eternal lonely wanderer and a fighter against evil. 
The main problem of mass-cultural products that tell about otherworldly forces, in particular about God or Satan, is that these forces are portrayed as quite human-like beings. They experience the same emotions (joy, anger, fear, disappointment), they have quite human motivations (power, wealth, even love), they make human mistakes and have the usual character traits. Neither immortality nor colossal knowledge by human standards affect how these beings think, act and appear in relation to their plot counterparts. 
In the film, Satan, with the help of the ghost rider, tries to settle scores with his own son. Satan is a slightly tired middle-aged man, at the same time able to be surprised, angry and passionately desire something. A kind of Old Testament devil — from those times when God had a fairly wide and quite human range of emotions and motivations. And if in the case of the latter, everyone was aware at least that his ways are inscrutable, then Satan in the image of American mass culture is deprived even of this privilege — despite the smirks and pretentious gestures, he is as simple as three rubles, which he would not mind earning at all.
On the one hand, one can object: it is quite logical that supernatural entities appear before a person in an image understandable to him. On the other hand, such a way of representation deprives us of the opportunity, in principle, to perceive the otherworldly as something fundamentally different from us. The world is narrowing down to the size of a well-assimilated, understandable territory, in which even Satan is not much different from your dull toxic neighbor.
In this sense, a good exercise for the mind and feelings will be an enterprise to rewrite the imagery and narratives of such films, which, in particular, is what Posadsky is doing. He assembles the ghost rider's fiery motorcycle from matches, turning it into an elegant hand-made craftwork. This is an inoperable bike: you can't ride it, but it can still catch fire very well, however,only one time. It is adjacent to similar objects — "crafts", only these are made from threads. All this turns the pretentious narrative from 2007 literally into a Christmas tree, hinting that in 2023, semantic dispositions should be arranged in a completely different way. 
A stuffy human-sized space requires being pushed to the limits of what is poorly assimilated for understanding. The modernist very-angry-sullen-Satan aka the man in black does not fit well into the decaying narratives of the world, where saving means consuming, and protesting means expanding the limits of capital. Breaking down images that were relevant quite recently, artists like Posadsky make an important gesture, rethinking ways of dealing with devils and matches and, as if hinting at the fact that in the previous logic, the conversation about the inhuman is no longer conducted.

— Natalya Serkova

23.8.23 — 9.9.23

Photo by Natalia Melikova


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