Ekaterinburg Museum Of Fine Arts,Russia, 1999
THANK YOU:  A series of works in dedication to Valentina Ouporova

Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts, Ekaterinburg, Russia

What I'm saying is simply that every totalitarian state, no matter how strict, has had its underground. In fact, two undergrounds.  There's the underground involved in political resistance and the underground involved in preserving beauty and fun.

     --Tom Robbins, "Still Life with Woodpecker"

   The Thank You series is part of an exhibition first shown at the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts in Ekaterinburg, Russia in September of 1999. Dedicated to our mother, Valentina Ouporova (1936-1998), the show included photo-based works on paper, a site-specific installation and performance celebrating her life and works. She was a teacher, puppetmaker and poet, with a passion for the Russian decorative arts.  Her puppets and handiworks gained recognition during her lifetime and were exhibited throughout Russia.  Valentina was also committed to helping children, the elderly, and those in need. To us, her life is a symbol of a generation once filled with utopian beliefs, tragically broken by WWII, repression, deprivation, and painful transition through two radically diverse social systems.

The underlying thread in the Thank You series is a poem that Valentina wrote at the end of her life entitled "Thank you."  In short, she thanks God for everything--the good and bad times, nature, children, song, her soul, and existence.  We layered this poem in different forms throughout the series and embossed her needlework into paper. Each piece is a combination of digitized photoetching, aquatint, and engraving.  For one month, in various cities and villages throughout Russia, we wrote the entire Thank You poem on the streets she frequented during her lifetime.

       In memory of Valentina, who taught us how to find beauty and have dreams.

       --Scherer & Ouporov, 1999-2000