Sound installation by Vladislav Shabalin with the voice of Diamanda Galás

The Triptych

The result of a dual process of restoration (the fish fossils) and of artistic creation (the composition), the fossil triptych “Aquarium” is the most important and impressive work Vladislav Shabalin has realized so far. Each of the three pieces measures 285 cm x 140 cm and weighs 120 kg. In total, the work is 285 cm high, 420 cm wide and weighs 360 kg.

The fish fossils, dating back to Eocene (approx. 50 million years ago), are over a hundred, of five different species: Notogoneus (1), Mioplosus (2), Priscacara (13), Diplomystus (12), Knightia (75). The excavation site is the Green River Formation in the United States, which is famous for the incredible number and variety of fish fossils. The formation lies in an area once occupied by three large lakes, originating from a previous shallow inland sea that in the Cretaceous (140 to 66 million years ago) extended from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska. The paleogeographic relationship between the site where the fossils were found and the area affected by the environmental disaster that has directly inspired “Aquarium”, the oil slick that invaded the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, increases the symbolic power of the fossils in the artwork.

From excavation to completion, the triptych has required a year of work. The restoration was carried out by Vladislav Shabalin in the laboratory of Geoworld in Torreano di Cividale (Udine, Italy) according to the strictest scientific criteria. To recreate the image of an aquarium and to evoke the idea of ​​movement more than half of the fossil pieces have been repositioned.