Elena ElaginaRussiaVisual Arts1998
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The Great Magicians of Ideology


During the last couple of years I have been working on a project connected with the name of the well-known female scientist Olga Borisovna Lepeshinskaia. Her activity relates to the 40 -50’s of Soviet Russia. I have known this name since I was a child, because my father, a writer of books for children and popularizer of science, wrote about her experiments and elaborated on her scientific records. That’s why our house was full of materials about Lepeshinskaia’s activity (books and photos).


The work, concerning Lepeshinskaia’s investigations, is a part of the big project called “The Great Magicians of Ideology”. Lepeshinskaia was a scientist-biologist and she had obtained the title of professor and academician. She had a big laboratory, where dozens of her collaborators worked. Working on the problems of frog'cells, she found out that the cells could be rejuvenated if combined with the solution of soda.


Using her discovery, she had convinced the government that not only a frog could be rejuvenated, but also humans and, accordingly, a human’s life could be prolonged to 200 years, 150 of which could devoted to work for the country. And the supreme result was the creation of homunculus (false human). For the government it seemed a good strategic plan.


Today, at the end of the XX century, as at the end of the XIX, occult sciences, magic and alchemy have become very popular. A lot of literature concerning this subject is published.

Studying the change of ideology and comparing activities and goals of some scientists of the Soviet period with the works and goals of alchemists, I have found out that these scientists were real medieval magicians. Lepeshinskaia, poor woman, who was not completely medically educated, making unsterile, dirty experiments, and she couldn’t even suggest that she was working as an alchemist, a magician.


One of my work’s themes is “the reconstruction” of Lepeshinskaia’s archive, her drawings and records. I was working on the creation of that archive in Civitella. These records are connected with nature, so, I found a lot of material from the vegetable and animal world, which were included in the records of my character. I consider my residence in Civitella to be very useful.