Vyacheslav Akhunov (Artist), Sergey Tichina (Artist)


Ascent by Vyacheslav Akhunov, Sergey Tichina

Artwork Detail

Vyacheslav Akhunov and Sergey Tichina have collaborated on video works since 2000. The two conceive the works together. Then Akhunov using a hand-held camera, records Tichina performing simple acts that are intended as philosophic parables.


Tichina is seen heading across a square towards the Kalyan Minaret; famous in Bukhara as the only structure to survive the siege of the city by Genghis Khan in the 13th century. The camera follows Tichina as he climbs the circular stairs, his breathing and that of the cameraman’s becoming increasingly laboured. As he ascends one is given glimpses through the tiny windows of the world outside, but the focus is on the ever upward journey and effort involved in making the ascent of the tower. When he finally reaches the top, the camera briefly surveys the spectacular view, before returning to Tichina who sits down and retrieves from his bag a laptop on which his journey across the square and up the stairs is replayed. The camera zooms into this scene and the record again becomes reality. Through this simple narrative the work reflects on the cyclical nature of existence, the effort of daily life and its rewards. The ancient architecture of the tower, its stairs visibly worn from the ascent of the faithful over hundreds of years, serves to emphasise the timeless relevance of such a message.

The artists comment:

“This film narrates the eternal negotiation of difficulties, and the ascent of each person to perfection in unity with the Absolute, if such an Absolute exists at all. At some point, one reaches a certain peak determined by one's destiny, so that the grounds for further spiritual or physical ascent disappear for subjective or objective reasons. Nevertheless, one keeps ascending, repeating the path already travelled, and analysing failures by reliving them, albeit now in a virtual form.”

Vyacheslav Akhunov, Sergey Tichina
Production date
single channel video, standard definition (SD), 4:3, colour, stereo sound
14min 48sec
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the artists, 2007
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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