Republic of Lizards 3 framed archival pigment prints on Hahnemühle Bright White paper mounted on dibond, 30 x 40 cm each, 13 prints, various dimensions, 14 vinyl wall texts, 2016
"The construction of a prison in 1797, the proclamation of a republic in 1860, the dream of the United States of Europe in 1941, and the extinction of a lizard species around 1965 – there is no direct connection between these episodes, just the place where they happened connects them. In “Republic of Lizards” Vladislav Shapovalov presents a story without a red thread. The installation cites museum presentation formats and suggests reading the individual elements with the conventions of history exhibitions.
According to Roland Barthes, representations of history tell of “what has been, not what has not been or what has been questionable.“ But Shapovalov not only presents documentary imagery but also digitally enhanced photography and hence a history of what was not – yet. The amendments imagine a “Republic of Lizards” and its institutions. Yet, in the context of all images presented by Shapovalov, it remains uncertain whether the blueprints for a new order suffice in order to actually attain sustainable change of the present conditions."
– Gudrun Ratzinger, curator, exhibition booklet of Holes In The Wall. Anachronic Approaches To The Here-And-Now, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, 2018
“Shapovalov carries out an archaeology of the different events which have taken place on the islands of Santo Stefano and Ventotene – the building of a prison by the Bourbons, the proclamation of the Republic of Santo Stefano in 1860 during a mutiny, the writing of the “Ventotene Manifesto”
by several of the founding fathers of the European Union,the strategic military use of the islands by the Allies in the 2nd World War, the fact that they are now for sale, and their role in European political history – on which he projects a new state, the Republic of Lizards, whose images question the capacity of imagination to evoke a utopian change.”
– Julia Morandeira Arrizabalaga, curator, exhibition booklet of Atlas [of the ruins] of Europe, CentroCentro Cibeles de Cultura y Ciudadania, Madrid, 2016