Winter Palace Of The Red Pharaon

project of an installation

WINTER PALACE OF THE RED PHARAOH (1998) is an installation based on the events of the Soviet Holocaust or the so called, “final solution” of the Jewish issue.

The plan for the total annihilation of the Jews in the USSR was supposed to be the conclusion of the sequence of the tragic events which included the liquidation of the Jewish Anti-fascist committee and the murder of its President Solomon Michoels, the arrest of the doctors working in the Kremlin hospital (doctors’ plot) and the growth of Anti-Semitic hysteria throughout the Soviet Union. The mastermind behind the scheme, Stalin, died on March 5, 1953 and, the plan would have been never put into action. Stalin’s holocaust , even though it had a great deal in common with Hitler’s “invention,” would, perhaps less elaborate but more effective. According to the plan, the whole Jewish population of the country, including individuals from mixed marriages, had to be deported to Siberia and the Far East. On the way to the concentration camps the deported people were to encounter furious crowds organized by the government officials. The mobs would express the “righteous anger of the Soviet nation,” or in other words, to organize pogroms against the “spies” from the Jewish Committee and the “doctor-murderers” who wanted to kill “Comrade Stalin.” Wooden barracks have designed with a roof, only two walls and plank beds without heating systems, toilettes or kitchens were prepared for those who managed to escape the “fury of the Soviet people.” Siberian frosts and starvation would complete the rest of the plan.
The installation consists of two adjacent environments. The first one [43’103/8″ x 22’113/8″] (14m x 7m) is dark with black walls and ceiling and a white floor. Four pillars lit from the inside and made of wood and plastic are going to stand along the walls at both sides of the environment. Folders with the numbers of “cases” of those who should be deported are put on the pillars. The portrait of Stalin is projected on the front wall [22’113/8″ x 22’113/8″] (7m x 7m). In the middle of the wall there is a way that leads into the second part of the installation, creating the visually square space projected on the wall portrait. The images from the projector on the ceiling railroad leads into this space. Four projectors put in two rows on the ceiling allow for the slide-projection to the floor between pillars and the railroad. The slide-projection presents constantly changing documentary views of Soviet life before the plan of the deportation.
The second environment is also darkened and is the area 47’113/8″ x 41’5″ (15 m x 13m). The wooden barrack made out of old planks is in the middle, close to the front wall. Its design is identical to the one thought of by Stalin and has the area of [32’63/8″ x 21’43/8″] (10m x 5,3m). Mannequins of victims remain on the plank beds in the barrack. There are also going to be several spinning light-radiating balls that would create the illusion of Siberian snow falling. At certain moments these balls stop and the static projections of the names of victims can be seen.
No documents verifying the existence of that plan could be found after perestroika in the former Soviet Union; however, the letter sent by Ilya Erenburg to Stalin was preserved. Erenburg tried in that letter to stop the “leader of the people” from his terrifying intentions. Alexander Solzhenitsyn also wrote about the plan of the annihilation of the Jews in his book Gulag Archipelago , and later Arkadii Vaksberg did as well in his Stalin Against Jews {Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc. New York, 1994}.
The author of the installation WINTER PALACE OF THE RED PHARAOH was also included in that list. Even though, the plan of annihilation of Jews remained a plan, not a procedure in the tragic history of discrimination and witch-hunts against Jews, Leonid Lamm deeply feels the obligation to reflect upon it.