Howard Phillips Lovecraft's works became the theme of our project (the first exhibition of the "Frombeyond" was held in 2013). We were inspired by the atmosphere of mysterious and dark world of Lovecraft’s fantasies, which created a special genre of art called "Lovecraftian horror".
H. P. Lovecraft had a tremendous impact on the mystical and fantastic literature. The most famous (but not the only one) of his followers is Stephen King who is called “The Master of Horror". However, the influence of Lovecraft can be seen not only in the literature. For example, in the visual arts, H. R. Giger expressed the atmosphere of Lovecraft’s crazy texts the most accurately. Сinema and, of course, music also experienced noticeable influence by him.
Everyone perceives the work of H. P. Lovecraft in his own way, but nevertheless all the followers of the brilliant madman have something in common: for an adequate perception of the full depth of Lovecraftian horror you need to become mad for a short moment, too. You need to go beyond the traditional perception of life and look into the abyss of unknown and unknowable space.
So why do we draw the line between the concepts of "horror" and "Lovecraftian horror”?
When we hear the word "horror" in regard to any genre of art, we imagine an object, which frightens us with a feeling of strangeness, hostility, and sometimes even disgust. Zombies, terrible creatures, monsters under the bed are weird, but common objects, which are the symbols of the traditional horror nowadays.
Lovecraftian horror by its definition is unknowable. Its aim is not to scare or to make us squint eyes by fear or scream because of the surprise. We look into the depths of the unknown with wide-opened eyes, but we are not able to understand or accept what is hiding beyond our familiar universe. The human mind cannot grasp the fullness of the universe and can not understand the laws of nature, because behind them the total chaos and complete madness are located, which are not compatible with people’s fragile consciousness. Reckless curiosity, pride and thought of our own superiority over nature can lead us to the unlocking the mysteries of the universe, but their revealing can be ended with your imminent death.
Following the laws of the genre we are not trying to scare our reader or viewer. We are interested not in monsters but in people who are getting too close to the edge of knowledge. Their interaction with the unknown, their mental-throwing and their final choice is to satisfy their curiosity or to succumb to the persuasion of the mind and leave the mystery alone. We are attracted by the forbidden unknown the same as our heroes.
In this project we tried to cover different variations of the genre of horror. In addition to the classical Lovecraftian and adjoining themes, we want to experiment a lot in mixed styles and in the crossroads of different directions, from the Scandinavian sagas to the science fiction.
Eventually, the humanity was interested in what is hiding there, beyond the boundaries of the well-known world at all the times. And we hope that mankind will never lose the attraction to the unknown.
Fantasy has always followed my "secular" life side by side, almost touching me with its immaterial hand. Even at school when I attended a class with a mathematical bent, and then at the Institute I studied a fashionable speciality (not the “literary" one, though) which was related to IT-technologies, I began to imagine stories. They have percolated into my head in the dark tunnels of the Moscow Metro. Music in headphones merged with the monotonous rumble of wheels and became a perfect background for my odd thoughts which were later transferred into the story fragments. An everlasting hustle at the rush hours does not prevent me from withdrawing into myself or from contemplating the scenes in the shadows beyond the other side of the window glass. On the contrary, when you are trapped by people around you and you can not even open the book, you simply have no other choice but to withdraw into yourself. Perhaps, if I had been able to drive a car, many of my stories would have never been created.
I graduated from the Institute, got a job which lead me to the areas, perhaps, a little more romantic than the computer hardware and software configuration, but still far away from writing. Now I am an engineer of the underwater technical equipment. The scope of my job includes underwater robots operated remotely or autonomous, as well as a variety of devices that can withstand the enormous pressure of the sea depths. It is an interesting and quite unusual work. When I graduated from the institute, I did not think that I would be working with machines that can go through the eternal darkness of the ocean. However, the work and the sea do not occupy a dominant position in my mind.
I still did not get the driving license, so the way to work and back home is the same subway tunnels, through the same crowds and the shadows which live under the ground. They are still hovering in front of my eyes and awakening new stories to life.
Maxim Vlasov (Des-Azar)
Sometimes I feel as if my whole life is controlled by some supernatural luck bestowed from beyond. This strange force defined in advance what was necessary for me and it ruthlessly cut off all unnecessary things. It has chosen my profession, quickly crushed my feeble attempt to go down the wrong path (I graduated as an industrial designer, and still continue to work on my current speciality). It gave me a job that can not be called a perspective or well-paid, and yet it is an only right job which like no other suits for my lifestyle. This mysterious force has powerfully guarded me from unwanted people as long as someone who became a continuation of my thoughts and aspirations has finally appeared in my life.
Back when I was a knee-high to a grasshopper, I was spending all my free time contriving something, drawing or creating things from different materials. It completely occupied my mind, but did not give me a real aim. Finally, when I got almost tired asking myself “What’s next?" something (possibly, the one mysterious force from beyond?) gave me a strange idea in which we could hardly believe.
"Are you serious about making dolls?" – He asked doubtfully.
"Indeed. But it will be not those dolls which you expect.” – I answered with a strong confidence.
Thus I simply could not answer. As usual, he caught my thought before it was pronounced. Very soon we have made our first joint doll. The material embodiment belonged to me while words belonged to him.
Everything that I do could not have appeared without the help of my talented friends and teachers, the understanding of my family and, of course, my friendly and curious colleagues. But on the shoulders of my co-author and comrade lies exactly half of the burden of responsibility for all what has been done.
Praskovia Vlasova (Girhasha)
Again and again you summon the unknown as muse and mentor and then let your imagination take your mind beyond the conscious world, you risk getting into the net of invisible spirits and insidious creatures lurking in the darkness. Traveling alone in the dark is silly and dangerous. If you can not see the road, you can easily stumble and get off the narrow path which runs above the endless abyss.
In that obscure and bizarre world you definitely need a guide or protector who knows the safe roads and local customs. One who is able to bring a person into the world, and then help him to find the way home. One who belongs to both worlds and manages to walk on their fine edge.
Such conductor could be the inner light of the soul which like a lantern will disperse the thick darkness or an amulet which includes a benevolent spirit inside or an animal which was born in the shadows of the other world.
Shoggoth has become for us such a conductor. He is actively involved in all our projects and often directs them prompting the right steps. In his veins blood keeps the memories about the heat of the scorching sands and about the chill of the dark nights of the distant land which is now called Ethiopia. Mysterious and wild Africa is a perfect home for a guide accompanying on the other side of the consciousness.