press release

Kalmar konstmuseum is proud to present Kalle Brolin´s video installation MAFIYA. The video installation is based on the artists encounter with a sub-section of the Russian mafiya, comprised of a group of deaf and mute people who had made the train stations and local railway lines in Moscow into their own territory. The imagined film has been split up into its' component parts, consisting of filmed actors, footage of locations, sounds, and subtitles. Actors are playing both themselves and a character at the same time. The locations are geographically and esthetically distant but economically linked to Moscow. The subtitles for the conversation of the hand signing actors are comprised of quotes taken from various criminal manifestoes. The sound for the installation is trashy Russian pop played from the loudspeakers of a railway station, occasionally interrupted by a voice announcing train arrivals and departures at various platforms. Also included in the installation is a wall sign in stainless steel, and some drawings with a map of the territory and with the facade of the station.

The locations used for the film are found in two areas of Istanbul with Russian influence. One of these areas is Laleli, where Russian women come as suitcase traders to buy up cheap clothes, which are then smuggled into and sold at outdoor markets in Russia. Signs in the area are written in Russian, and young Russian-speaking men from Moldavia are hired as doormen for retailers and small scale freight companies. The other area is Karaköy, where three Russian orthodox churches have been built on the roofs of apartment buildings, to be kept out of sight during the reign of former governments which were heavily secularised. This is where Russian women working illegally in Istanbul, in private health and child care, come to meet during weekends. Russian words painted directly on the walls of the apartment buildings lead them up the stairs to the church on the roof.

only in german

Kalle Brolin
Kurator: Martin Schibli