Andrey Volkov, Anton Konukhov, Andrey Syaylev, Anya Zholud, Daniil Antropov
July 1 - August 29, 2023
Light, color, matter, space… The space is filled with light, light gives birth to color, color traces the outlines of matter, and matter becomes endowed with a function. The function of reflection, form, and color. Symbol, reflex, emotion… Function as derived from the cognition of emotion becomes a primary factor in object formation. Can an object exist without a function? Can a function exist without an object?

We are accustomed to art working most often with form, but what happens if we shift focus somewhat from form to function? This is the perspective we see in the works of Anton Konyukhov. His sparkling reflective surfaces, recalling "spilled" mirrors, will not return the familiar image you see when you look in the mirror, but instead intensify the experience of your own reflection. The surrounding objects reflect light, and light invades the mirror, creating something purporting to be a reflection of the world. Everyone sees only the reflection, never the mirror. But in Anton's works, we stop seeing "ourselves", and instead start seeing the "reflection" directly, in its codependence with the world around it. The obvious color in Konyukhov's pieces reveals the percolation of the reflection into the environment. Indeed, the reflection in this "mirror" will change with the objects surrounding it, as will the entire environment itself.

Light is followed by color, the focus of Andrei Volkov's scrutiny in his works. Andrei dissects the paint to elicit the relationship between color and matter. His paintings are akin to an anatomical theater, plunging us into the guts of the paints and examining the function of the various elements of the painting's body. And, like an anatomical theater, Andrei's art goes beyond demonstrating how an abstract mechanism works, offering insight into how we work as well. There is no color outside the eyes of the beholder. When regarding Volkov's art, we inescapably become engrossed in our own experience of the colors that only exist in our mind, yet that are also unconditionally dependent on the materiality of the painted surface. Liberated from the utilitarian chore of conveying images of the outside world, Volkov's paints unfold before us in their ultimate fullness and functional freedom.

Bringing to light the elemental, all-consuming function of painting as an object of enjoyment, Oleg Khvostov invites us to immerse ourselves in contemplation, so that we may penetrate the painting's secret content, beyond the reach of functional articulation. His paintings are at the same time candid "windows on the wall" and energy-packed exercises for (self-) reflection.

Anna Zholyud takes familiar, everyday objects of obvious utility and cleanses them until there's nothing left but a dry carcass. Ridding the object of its utilitarian function, the artist pries open the functionality of form. The skeleton of steel rods bears the weight of spatial volume, the weight of figurative meaning, and the potential for a new utilitarianism -- the utilitarianism of art. Must art isolate itself inside institutions like a mummy, stuck between the worlds of the living and the dead? Or is it capable of transcending aesthetic confines and weathering the death of function to become reborn in a new object of the utilitarian world? The art of Anna Zhyolud brings the world of material objects into closer scrutiny, urging us to rethink how we relate to the material world and to the functions of objects.

In his works, Andrei Syailev makes two independent functions collide, exploding in a counterpoint of meanings. He weaves a visual-verbal superstructure into the brutal materiality of readymade objects. Complementing one another in a conceptual game, the two signifiers lay bare the innermost functional essence of each isolated component of the work, augmenting it with new dimensions of meaning. And yet the resultant object has not lost its erstwhile potentialities. It ends up belonging in both the realm of immaterial ideas and that of strictly utilitarian usage, adding new meanings to the construct wherefrom it was previously removed, rather than rejecting it.

The ceramic sculptures of Daniil Antropov betray a striving to transcend the boundaries of the material used. In his works, the fragile earthenware, devoid of any elasticity, inexplicably flows, taking the most unexpected shapes. Here, the enigma of function is embedded in the conflict of ideas itself: a free-flowing stream of expression versus a technique where the artist's hands are responsible for every tiny detail.

Kirill Eltsov