January 27 - February 25, 2024
Curator Katya Bochavar
Artists: Katya Bochavar, Adil Aubekerov, Andrey Volkov, Alisa Gorelova, Anya Zholud, Anna Kazmina, Anton Konukhov, Andrey Syaylev, Vladimir Tryamkin, Oleg Ustinov, Oleg Khvostov, Evgeny Chubarov
Katya Bochavar blurs the boundaries between artist and curator, making the works of other artists components of her own artistic statement. Her strategy consists of departing from the concept of art as an object to that of art as a means of expanding possibilities for the viewer. Working at the intersection of design, directing, sound, and video, Bochavar in her capacity as curator has designed an exhibition that encapsulates PA Gallery's first five years, in the form of a "total installation". Her curatorial message may be formulated as the quest for an ethical and aesthetic "code" in the gallery's work.
Embedded in the title of the exhibition is the formula "private energy multiplied by time". The gallery came into being as a community of three enthusiastic, like-minded individuals, and has continued to operate as such. The backbone of this non-hierarchical micro-community is a rare species of gallerist, one who lives by art and inside art in no lesser a degree than an artist. For him, art is a lifestyle and the essence of life. The gallerist's every project is brought forth by a concerted creative effort, powered not by a vendor/buyer dynamic, but by internal dialogue and a comingling of experience between the art creator and the person that sustains the artwork's existence in the outer realm of the art edifice.
Perhaps the chief intuition of the PA Gallery creators, who deeply value the artists' work, is their visceral relationship with the exhibition medium, focusing not just on the works, but also on the entire exposition as one body in its organic integrity, which pulls the viewer in emotionally. This exhibition features the more emblematic works from the oeuvres of all PA Gallery artists. Exploration of form, devout perfectionism, and attention to craftsmanship are traits characteristic of each of these artists. Their experiments with form are underpinned by the interrelationship of numerous visual languages and cultural references.
The sculpted canvasses of Anton Konyukhov imitate the texture of mutilated mirrors. The multilayer paint surfaces of Andrey Volkov manifest the properties of paint as its own spiritualized substance. Oleg Khvostov's perfectly smooth landscape is devoid of the least trace of the roughness or inconsistency of the substantive world. Its forms, plump and voluptuous like a body, seem to belong in a virtual reality. The steel carcasses constructed by Anya Zhyolud reduce everyday objects to their outlines, enclosing emptiness. The paintings of Alisa Gorelova juxtapose physiology and mimesis in the perception of life as a physical flow. Vladimir Tryamkin experiments with texture in his surfaces, rough and perforated like a grater-turned-optical machine in which the viewer's gaze becomes stuck. Adil Aubekerov's watercolor images are forms in flux or metamorphosis, straddling the border between figurativeness and abstraction. In the energetic graphic works of Yevgeny Chubarov, corporeal masses morph into swarming, nonfigurative monochromes, not unlike those of Pollock. Anna Kazmina builds intricate art objects of porcelain and paper, encompassing endless transformations of form. The grotesque, mysterious human head artifacts of Andrey Syailev are made as if from the perspective of an observer from some alternative future. Settling like sediment into threadlike scribbled lines, the spontaneity of Oleg Ustinov's abstractions strikes a dialogue with modernist "automatic painting" and the challenges of machine art.
Overall, the exhibition comes across as a show of psychic mediums, each acting on different organs of perception. It invites every viewer to physically submit to a ritual of sensory, contemplative engagement with the artworks in an artificially created, comfortable environment, such as lying on a soundproof bench, to the accompaniment of music pieces composed individually for each artwork by Maria Anikeyeva. The exhibition also includes a video installation with mirror-like elements artfully deployed to amplify the co-presence effect. Together, all this adds up to a powerful statement, something akin to an emotional landscape.
This is a space of moving, flexible feeling and thought, offering empathy to every viewer unafraid of being curious, everyone ready for involved non-judgment, everyone prepared to be bigger than themselves. To try on the elastic selfness experience communicated by the PA Gallery creators means to learn to continually invent and shape oneself in the present moment.