Contemporary Art Museum,
Sant Etienne, France
The project under the title Special Control, which was shown in the Museum of Contemporary
Art in the town of Saint-Etienne in 2004, was a colourful parade of unusual scaled replicas
of submarines locked (immured) into transparent Plexiglas cases. The idea of this exhibition was
originally born out of an amusing incident, when the artist was crossing the state border carrying
a minute replica of a submarine and was treated with mistrust and questioned by the customs officers,
who suspected possible nuclear danger. «People travel with all kinds of luggage, with plants, dogs, etc… why can’t they carry their personal submarine, which can protect and brighten up any trip? Moreover, everyone needs this»!
Decorated with diamonds for glamorous ladies or with feathers for bird lovers, carried in a transparent handbag or a bigger suitcase, Ponomarev’s «travel submarines» jokingly overturn the conventional stereotypes. As a result of artistic efforts, one of the most dreadful types of modern weapons turns into a fashionable accessory, which should protect its owner in case of danger.