Vladimir Sorokin: DAY OF THE OPRICHNIK

28 Jun-13 Jul 2024
PV 28 Apr 2024, 6-9pm

London W1W 8SQ


Supported by Tsukanov Family Foundation

Vladimir Sorokin’s new project
Curated by Marat Guelman

Vladimir Sorokin is a contemporary postmodern Russian writer, dramatist and conceptual artist. He has been described as one of the most popular writers in modern Russian literature. Vladimir Sorokin's exhibition BLUE LARD (Guelman und Unbekannt, Berlin, 2023; WHITEBOX, New York, 2024) was a bold experiment that combines the great legacy of classical literature with innovative AI technologies. 

New project DAY OF THE OPRICHNIK - #cancelrussianculture based on his eponymous novel. The Day of the Oprichnik (Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, 2013) is a dystopian story that satirically depicts the world that awaits Russia if the current political course continues. The action takes place in Russia in 2028, fenced off from the rest of the world by the Great Russian Wall. But like all of his best work, Sorokin's novel explodes with invention and dark humour. 

Marat Guelman is visionary art curator. He proposed a parallel project based on Sorokin's novel, employing the power of artificial intelligence (AI). Collaboratively, Sorokin and AI embarked on an extraordinary journey. The results astonished the author of Blue Lard and The Day of the Oprichnik himself. Cloned literary classics sprung to life, embracing a newfound existence. Sorokin confesses, "Thanks to these works, I discovered much that was unexpected and new about my characters, who are no longer mine alone. They are entities in their own right, observing us, reflecting our challenges—political correctness, the desacralisation of Russian literature, and the concept of 'cancel Russian culture.'"

Vladimir Sorokin says: Looking into the eyes of my characters, brought to life by rapidly evolving AI, I understood that literature in our time has ceased to be a book that can be taken off the shelf, read, and placed back. The 21st century challenges literature: can it correspond? Is it falling behind? Can it keep up? Or is it hopelessly outdated and now condemned to forever settle in second-hand bookstores, libraries, and philological articles? 

The Tsukanov Family Foundation (“TFF”) is a UK charity supporting projects in the fields of culture, art and education. In pursuit of this goal the Foundation has partnered with the Saatchi Gallery in London over a number of years to stage such shows as Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art, 1960-1980s (2013), Post-Pop: East Meets West (2015), Revelations: New Work by Aidan (2016) and Art Riot: Post-Soviet Actionism (2017). Other TFF partnerships in the field of art include the Tate, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA, London), the Yale School of Art (USA), Goldsmiths (UK), the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), the Multimedia Art Museum (Moscow), and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), among other galleries and art centres. The Foundation's affiliations in music include the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), the Royal Opera House, the Verbier and Lerici Festivals.


Boris Groys’s text Monstrosity of Zeitgeist about the first Vladimir Sorokin’s AI project “Blue Lard”