Constantin Bokhorov
Dmitri Gutov

documenta 12, Catalogue, p. 256

     A fence can symbolise the protection of private property but also oppression, coercion or punishment. Gutov adds a further interpretation to these two possibilities: his Fence is composed of six two-metre-high sections, with bits of randomly juxtaposed scrap metal adding the final touch. In this work he picks up on the spontaneous creativity of urban gardeners who use discarded material to enclose cultivated areas bordering on rubbish dumps and wooded parkland.

     The city's loosely interconnected industrial debris occurs along the fractures of social space where individuals cannot live according to the soulless rules of late capitalism, surviving instead despite these strictures. This is the locus where natural self-awareness is concentrated, revealed in the ecstatic creativity of people who have found a terra incognita to cultivate and give concrete form to their strivings for a better, unconstrained life on this tangible material substrate.

     The spontaneity in the design of Gutov's Fence is complemented by snippets of writing from various authors, making the extant (still abstract) "scribality" even clearer. Gutov's lattices reproduce old masters' writings in metal. The texts in question are extracts from Marx's The German Ideology with commentaries by Engels, Beethoven's letters to his anonymous mistress, excerpts of calligraphy by the Japanese monk Sengai and the Japanese samurai Tesshu, as well as hieroglyphs by Chinese painter and poet Mi Fu. For Gutov identified the twisting lines of a wire in the characteristic patterns of these manuscripts, and recognised great writings in the rusty wire loops of a garden fence.