Zhanna Kadyrova: Invisible Forms

Zhanna Kadyrova started working as an artist at an early age, employing a wide range of media, with which she engages with the world and with history. Her practice has taken various forms, including video and performance, but it is her sculpture that brought her to the attention of critics and the viewing public. Regarded as a talent destined to establish herself on the international art scene, she will be exhibiting at the Ukraine Pavilion in the 55th Venice Biennale and at the next Moscow Biennale with a personal show entitled Crowd. The works of  Invisible Forms is something that I started producing back in 2010. What I wanted to communicate were the essential things that we cannot see, hear or feel. It’s not about myself as a person, it’s about us all as human beings, there are things we cannot see or feel but that have a massive impact on us. Light is one example. CCTV fascinated me because of all the things that it captures that can impact our lives yet we are not always aware that we are being recorded. I have used concrete that is really heavy in place of light. I was trying to make light with a material, a heavy material that signified its importance. The main agenda of the piece is to draw attention to those things in life that we cannot see, but have such a great impact on us. The artist’s exhibition at Galleria Continua is entitled DATA EXTRACTION. Kadyrova’s project is based principally on a body of works focusing on asphalt, produced by the artist in 2012, the year in which Ukraine hosted the European Football Championships. It was an event of considerable economic and political significance, especially in view of the fact that is not, as yet, part of the EU. In the lead-up to the arrival of foreign visitors, Kiev wastransformed into an open-air building site, with a wide range of modernization projects thatincluded the resurfacing of some of the roads. The works shown by the artist in this exhibition stem from her observation of a city undergoing yet another rapid transformation, and her desire to preserve a few “strips of skin” by removing some parts of the old asphalt. The title of the show renders this concept exactly. EXTRACTION refers to the sample taken from the road, DATA the wish to preserve, but also to analyse, something that would otherwise have been destroyed. It is curious to see how a simple material like asphalt, when elevated to the status of object, becomes a generator of innumerable mental associations, as it is at one and the same time a primary material and the final result of a process. What is commonly called asphalt consists in reality of a mixture of aggregate particles and bitumen. The latter, derived from the fractional distillation of crude oil, is used in quantities proportional to the importance of the road infrastructure, which bears witness to the development of trade in the country. Kadyrova exhibits this modern ruin, a eulogy and a vestige of the urban context, in a town that carefully protects its medieval past, creating in this way an overlapping of different historic dimensions: the streets of San Gimignano, a World Heritage Site, alongside the severe looking asphalt of distant Ukraine. The artist’s work also raises the question of which motorways this asphalt could have “travelled” on – probably on all those where there are always road-works, so very fragile due to their doubtful construction quality. Irrespective of the social implications, the quality of Kadyrova’s works emerges in the wealth of connotations they trigger. The allure of these broad expanses of asphalt lies in what, at first sight, is their strongly pictorial dimension, and in the complexity of the granular and earthy structure. Cracks traverse this landscape like wrinkles, and there is no more real portrait for a city than the drawing which shows its venous grid.  Zhanna Kadyrova was born in Brovary, Ukraine, in 1981. She lives and works in Kiev. The artist has a propensity for using humble materials (plaster, stucco, cement, etc.) and ones with powerful historic connotations (tiles, typical decorative items used in Soviet interiors, or glazed earthenware). With her great feel for plastic values, Kadyrova creates works with interesting forms that overturn the function of objects. Socially and politically engaged, she is a member of a collective called R.E.P. (Revolutionary Experimental Space), founded during the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004. The artist has exhibited in many solo and group shows in Ukraine, Russia, the United States, the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and France. She has also received a number of awards, including the PinchukArtCenter, which she won in 2011, and the Kazimir Malevich Artist Award, the Sergey Kuryokhin Modern Art Award and the Kiev Sculpture Project,Grand Prix, in 2012.

CREDITS: www.galleriacontinua.com