Spartacus. Times New Roman, 2014

CCI “Fabrika”, OLIVIE hall
Haim Sokol’s large-scale personal project exposes the middle of the "migrant project” started in 2011. The exhibition features large installations constructed of building materials and household junk, and was created specifically for the space at the Olivie Hall.
On the exhibition the artist’s Moscow premiere of the film "Spartacus" was held.

HD, 27:16, 2013

Dedicated to the 70th Anniversary of the Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto.

A story of slaves’ rebellion led by Spartacus in Ancient Rome. Based on the famous soviet ballet “Spartak” (1954) by Aram Khachaturyan.
The film is made on the genre intersection point of documentary, silent movie and theatrical performance. The story is set simultaneously in contemporary Moscow and in the revolutionary past and maybe in some unpredictable future. Migrant workers feature in this film. They play both Romans and gladiators. The play is taking place in former industrial space in front of Arch of Titus in a scaled-down form wrapped in floor cloth.

In his CCI “Fabrika” project, Haim Sokol announces the new Roman era, the “Times New Roman.” It is hard to say definitively whether those “times” are behind us, or if they await us in the future. Most likely, they are a reflection of what Walter Benjamin called the “actual present”: an era “ripped from the continuum of history,” the past written (in the simplest of fonts) as a quote in a new historical context. The artist, in the best revolutionary tradition, summons the “ghosts of the past” to our aid. If the French Revolution "draped itself alternately in robes of the Roman Republic and the costume of the Roman Empire,” as Marx said, then Haim Sokol, rather, tries on the overcoat of the revolutionary 1917 – or the “Spartacus Legae”- in 1918 Germany. Sokol depicts Rome from the inside and the back door perspectives – Rome, where revolution intermingles with poor migrants' everyday life, like in the prose of Andrei Platonov, to whose poetics the artist has alluded in previous works.
Particular meaning throughout the exhibition is given to the element of play. Haim Sokol frequently uses materials and techiques from childhood in his work - toy soldiers, tin planes, stuffed dogs, and drawings through carbon-paper. The artist has personally mused, “History didn’t die, but hid in a game of “hide and go seek” during bleak everyday life. There it has sat, forgotten by everyone, since that time. In order to find it again, we must to return to childhood, where knowledge is not given us in experience, but in the subconscious and imagination. When we do so - suddenly rain pipes become the busts of famous heroes from the revolution, an old coat turns into a memorial to the fallen, a doormat becomes a banner, and a the Arc de Triomphe turns into a workers' dormitory.” In other words, child’s play becomes, for the artist, an actual tool in freeing history from the prison of propaganda. In children’s play emerges a basis and superstructure. Walter Benjamin defined the last as human qualities, such as conviction, courage, humor, cunning, steadfastness. “They (these features) do not cease,” wrote Walter Benjamin, “to cast doubt again and again on every victory ever attained by the ruling class”. “Imagination” can also be added to this set of qualities. “Imagination=Resistance” says one of the works on Sokol's exhibition.
Thanks to these elements in Haim Sokol’s exhibition, the personal becomes universal, and the everyday transforms into the monumental. These monuments simultaneously remind us of the past and reach into the future.