Ya Gallery, Kiev: The Rake

Heat 6, from series Rake, 2011, digital print

Oleksandr Kadnikov

The Rake

16.05 – 06.06.12

Kadnikov's method is original in a way that it is an installation frozen in photography. Instead of capturing a ready plot from the surrounding, the author constructs it himself, sculpts if from objects and symbols familiar to all the successors of Post-Soviet context. Relations between silent characters are poignant enough to arouse strong associations in the spectator, and, consequently, not without irony, to come to right conclusions. All this baggage of post-totalitarian heritage is called to provide an opportunity to rethink the problem of mutual past once again and to remember "The Rake" that is not worth stepping on.

The author himself describes his associations quite poetically, "Ice preserves past well. They broke the wing, but let go. Emptiness of a matchbox doesn't scare anymore. Post-imperial syndrome is concealed in individual's psychosomatics. According to the ticket bought, I must be somewhere close. Love yours so, that the others are scared. Trust ellipsis, not full stop. Repeat silence, like a spell."

The text about the project by Vasyl Skakun

But memory-bitch is a black-black wigwam.

And for everything dirty-black there is a Moidodyr

(From the lyrics to "Memory" by KROVOSTOK)

"Who am I?" reflects mister X, while looking at summer suburban landscapes, little stations with motley Gypsies and adolescents in synthetic shirts, at mysterious enterprises and rusty pipes that are passing, passing, passing by the windows of a heated with afternoon sun, filled, like a can of fresh milk with smells of hangover, coal, metal and skin of drowsy summerfolk, commuter train with hard seats. "Who am I – between what has already been and what's ahead – between the burden of the past and the burden of the future?.." He is thinking that life can be compared to an hourglass, where every second at once becomes the past, turns into another grain of sand in the memory's career, and he, himself, too, and the future is gradually exhausted. Meanwhile, through the car, walk a man missing an arm in a military uniform from the times of war in Afghanistan, singing, a woman selling patties and crosswords, a tattooed man with a gold seal, but no tooth, and a policeman with black bottomless eyes, with a gun and a club on his belt.

Mister X hasn't been to this station since his wife died, because everything around resembled her, everything possessed associations, that worked like hooks for the retentive memory: a bench under the apple-tree, where they played "Durak" every night after the beach, a kiosk at the station, where he bought groceries checking with the list that she'd hastily written… After several damp and hot hours in the commuter train, mister X, without stopping at his own dacha, heads to the river. There, where poplars and bent willows, children, bungees, where treacherous broken glass under the sand and snakes in the reeds. Having washed off the city dirt and finally lifted daily stress, he goes to the long neglected garden to see if it had become overgrown. And since it had indeed, mister X breaks through the lush and prickly weeds and leaves left from autumn, thinking that after all it is better than walking in a minefield, where every step can be your last one, and thinking that life, in general, is a minefield, that a man is like a comet, and the comet's tail is the memory, phantom and disappearing… Here mister X remembers of the hoe and the rake that must be standing at the porch. Suddenly, his foot steps on something firm, and he doesn't even have time to look down as a thick black stick jumps out of the dark thicket and hits him on the face

…Everyone has their own rake. The difference is only that some have it thrown into the bushes of memory, and every time you they on it, it unexpectedly and honestly hits them on the head, knocking them down, and some try to use the rake to throw their memories into piles holding everything under control.
                                                                       Real memories are rough and unexpected – you can't be ready for them. They are like nightmares or ghosts that emerge suddenly and unlikely. And our ghosts are, however you put it, mutual, ghosts that were passed from father to son – in dreams, game rules, intonations and emphasis. They appeared in dimly lit rooms of Soviet apartments, picked us up from kindergartens and walked us to school, hid in New Year tree ornaments and between plates on the holiday table. We know them from films, books and songs. We know their taste, we know what they are really like. We know their colors and voices. Every Kadnikov's photograph is a portrait of our mutual ghost, and by recognizing it we receive a stroke on the head. Every picture is like a stroke of a rake – bitter like warm autumn leaves, sweet like condensed milk, sticky and salty like the first blood from a wound, painful as a knife wound, host as a gunshot…

The project was implemented with the support of Victor Marushchenko Photo School and "5.6" photo journal.

Oleksandr Kadnikov is a participant of the Main Project of The First Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art ARSENALE 2012.

Ya Gallery
49B Khoryva Str,
Kyiv, 04071,
Ukraine
www.yagallery.com.ua
 

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