Ya Gallery art center, Kiev: Dominant

Fragment of exposition "Logs", Ya Gallery art center in Kyiv, 2011

08.06 – 14.07.12
Dominant. Olena Blank

We are inviting you to the opening of Olena Blank's Dominant exhibition that will take place in Ya Gallery art center in Dnipropetrovsk at 17 Husenka St., from 19.00 till 21.30, on Friday, June 8th.

I buy a home and we are settled down
Way out in some little country town.
Fats Domino «Yes, my darling»

Blot out all imaginations. Stop the brutal impulses of the passions.
Circumscribe the present time; and apprehend well the nature of every thing which happens, either, to yourself, or, to others.
Distinguish between the material and the active principle. Consider well the last hour.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus "Meditations" (VII, 29)

At the beginning of the twentieth century physiologist Alexei Ukhtomsky developed a theory of "dominant" that proved organism's ability to perform the most important in this period of time function at the expense of other, less important ones. It is the main focus of excitation in the central nervous system that blocks other centers. For the scientist "dominant" was what determined the direction of human perception – a mechanism that integrated senses into a coherent picture. Thus, Ukhtomsky found, from a physiological perspective, the engine, thanks to which human's experience is enriched, impressions are gathered together and thoughts are formed.

At the beginning of the same century a different theory emerges, but in literature. Viktor Shklovsky writes the essay "Art as Technique" where he considers "making different" as a method of description not by calling a name or defining, but by creating a special perception of an object, its "vision", not "recognition". He deals with the problem of accustoming, when overtime the vision is blurred, and many things in our lives that require reevaluation end up missed, and the "elephant" remains unnoticed. Art, especially literature, faces a new scientific task – to go deeper into the essence of the subject. Not to trust its exterior coat, not to "recognize", but to disassemble into fragments and see. Here are several great quotes on this: "Becoming customary, actions automatize… automatization swallows things, a dress, furniture, a wife and fear of war", "In order to feel life and things again, to make the stone stone, exists what we call art", "… To see things, it is necessary to, in the first place, look at them as if they don't matter, as if they are mysteries", "Blotting out imaginations is a necessary step to achieving precise perception of things".

But here is the beginning of the twenty first century when Lenin can rollerblade back and forth, and Stalin – appear on a photo in a social network with an earring in his ear and a diamond lily instead of the communist star on a pink cap. Time when people and horses not only mixed, and vision is not just blurred – it had directed its pupil at the soul that seems to have left for lunch. Discourse. Narrative. Mass culture, philosophical paradigm and gross post-totalitarian belch. And here you go out into the street warmed up with tender sun of a plastic gun generation, hurry to meet some people, who don't really care about you, and everything around pleads, everything around screams: "EAT ME! EAT ME RIGHT NOW! EAT ME, I CANNOT WAIT ANYMORE!" And you eat, again and again, again and again, because you're hungry. Here you're full, and everything seems fine, except for a strange feeling that something is forgotten. Something is forever lost at this dump, where Ginsberg with his friend Jack found his first sunflower – in this hopelessly tangled wire, in the horrible social net… 

… In the "Dominant" Olena Blank shares her artifacts, that speak of something simple, honest and familiar, but, unfortunately, far and unreachable. You see a log that, as in fairy-tale, whispers quietly: "What dominates in you, honey?" But throw it into the fire – and it won't burn, hit it with an axe – and it will scatter loudly into numerous tiny sharp fragments… It becomes clear what a great ceramic deceit it is. Pillow beckons tenderly hypnotizing: "What dominates in you, human?" But you wouldn't place your heavy chaotic head on it. Of course, because it's ceramic. It seems that everything is clear with logs, and with pillows, but that's what the deal is – that nothing is really clear. The square isn't really black, it has no clear dynamic or protest. What dominates in me? It is gray and silent. Only cosy warmth pulsates inside these forever sealed letters, where the artist concealed simple and understandable human truths related to homeliness, openness and independence, that you cannot unfortunately reach with any narrative or paradigm. What dominates in me?     

Dominans… dominari… domus…*

*Dominant… dominate… home (lat.)

Vasyl Skakun

The project will be presented in the Parallel program of The First Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art ARSENALE 2012.


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