“Last price” is the result of reflection on everyday paradoxes and industrial self-deception. There is a collection of life-affirming quotes and motivational slogans on unsaleable leftovers of clothes at the lowest price and big discount. “The author addresses this material not only with irony, how it might seem to be, but also with scrupulous attention to vulnerability and fragility of ‘mental camouflage’ and to the embodiment of gone perfection that has become unnecessary in the end.” – Ganna Zubkova, the curator. It creates a space for thinking about the uselessness of such kind of motivation. The research is presented in the form of a book. It is kind of ‘everyday camouflage’. There is a paradoxical similarity with a fashion catalog of clothes. As a rule, there is the same quality of print of POS materials, however there are gloss and status of new collections in these photos. It is vice versa in the case of Last Price: a hardback textile cover and stretched jersey with pills under it. There is a reverse parallel with a motivational self-help book about ‘successful success’ that gives pieces of advice about living a happy life. But unfortunately, there are still expectations that have not been met because these pieces of advice are expressed by unwanted and unsaleable clothes with a tag “last price”.
This art book is the product of my year-long research of discount sale racks across mass-market stores in several different cities and countries. The idea of this research came to me accidentally. Usually, when I went shopping before going to the store I used to check out the shelves/racks with discounted clothes. I acquired this habit during my days working in the fashion industry as a designer for fast-fashion brands. I didn't need to analyze leftovers to note a bad choice of fabrics, colors, and cuts anymore so I just started taking silly pictures of fashion faux pas for the season.
I noticed that a lot of these clothing items had some text printed on them. These were not just meaningless words, but in most cases, they were motivational messages and quotes. All of a sudden I stumbled upon a folder full of pictures with slogans written on clothes that nobody wanted.
The contrast between how unexciting these items looked and the grandiosity of the slogans printed on them was drastic. Things they lost their spark and allure keep on motivating. The sharp conflict between the look and the meaning. I find the combination of these factors quite intriguing. I christened this effect “Illiquid motivation” or “motivation by the last price".
Yerevan / since 2023
NIZINA FEST / Art Space Zero Room
Samara, Russia / 2022