Duck Test No. 4 (Cherry) (2014–2020)
A man dressed as a duck wanders amidst the industrial ruins. The accompanying text from Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard leaves no doubt: the piece tells the story of the destruction of a passing era. The ZIL car plant, where the action takes place, was once the largest Moscow enterprise providing the whole country with trucks. The soil saturated with sweat, blood and fuel oil over a hundred years turns into an archetypal space of a myth, epitomizing the cyclical nature of creation and destruction.
This plant is the scene of action for the Duck Man, where he tries on the roles of the characters of Chekhov’s drama, since he himself cannot fully determine who he is: a nobleman, senselessly spending his life, an ardent revolutionary, a beggar actor, a successful capitalist, an old serf left for dead or just a madman.
The artist captures and interlaces certain layers of history, different methods and visual components. The documentary is accompanied by Chekhov's text and performative actions of the absurd character. Where does the duck come from? The Duck Test is a classic example of abductive reasoning: “If something looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.” For Kishchenko, it is empathy test on the one hand, and a way to understand his own artistic method, on the other.
Looking at the crumbling remains of the former greatness built by man, rubbish, ruins and a robe of rags, there is no doubt that a man and his activities sooner or later become the same part of humus, like everything around. What is the artist himself made of? Kishchenko tries to test himself, to reconstruct himself in a way. The Duck Man, like Michelangelo Pistoletto's Venus of the Rags, combines the beauty of the past and the disaster of the present.