Curated by Katya Libkind
There are two artists in this exhibition, Valentyn Radchenko and Stanislav Turina, as well as two titles, Pain and Not Mine. The practices of the two artists have much in common, and it is possible to recognize a thing or stumble over a thought. Both artists have lived for quite a long time within a space overflowing with very similar things, the number and rhythm of which influences the texture of a thought. Things in their practical use acquire real and supernatural heaviness, they are the channels for different kinds of connections.
Now I’ll attempt to set aside descriptions of what features the artists have in common, or leave it to the space and audience’s attention. I will talk about each artist individually, and will try not to further manipulate the connections between them within this text.
My story may is too literal, and may be attempting to explain something to itself, so if you prefer not to have any explanations, I recommend switching to the artists’ texts directly. Pain by Valentyn, or his Great Encyclopedia of Order.
All the works by Valentyn during the time of his conscious artistic practice (approximately the last two years) can be organized into pain and not pain. Not pain appeared because almost all, but not everything, fits into pain. When Valentyn was explaining to me why one or another is pain, I was fascinated by the diversity of reasons and locations of this pain: a car is pain, a zero is pain, a minus is pain, grandfather and grandmother are pain, a woman is pain, Donbas is pain, on the right I have pain, the Titanic is pain, a scorpion is pain...
My wife-mother is not pain, we are not pain, love is not pain, the Titanic is not pain, a second is not pain, a plus is not pain, a train is not pain, Malutynka is not pain.
Valentyn builds the scheme in which everything matters. Something is not going to be nice because it is not her job. It is a function, an explanation of the laws of Valentyn’s environment over time. The things, the correlation of its forms and colors, Valentyn arranges according to relations between people and phenomena. Therefore things never are the things themselves, they are also pain, mostly pain.
Such conditions always have a hierarchy, something significant, the rules are very strict for each moment. It is important to say that Valentyn has no doubts, because there is almost no alternative to his order.
One of the protagonists of his works, besides Valentyn himself, is a scorpion. It is a creature that exists as a feeling, sometimes in its own shape, and sometimes only as innuendo, existing among the forms as an emotional background. I can’t capture the exact definition of this feeling because it constantly migrates, but what I managed to formulate after conversations with Valentyn is that the scorpion is an anxiety with a sexual character, something that relates to aggressive flirtation or jealousy. Valentyn’s explanations clarify a lot, so I advise you to listen to a few of his podcasts via the QR codes next to works.
Everlasting Still Life by Stanislav Turina is an 11-year practice.
It first appeared as an exercise for drawing practice out of a feeling of insufficient professionalism. Stas creates his own props storage to keep himself in training shape. As usual in education, the initial impulse was to maintain a dialogue with a number of artists and, at some point, to imitate Pikul’s potatoes in Makov’s space. Such attentive and consistent practice obviously can not stay only in one phase because it will eventually succeed. So later on the function turned to deriving pleasure from power over volume. Then the fatigue from this pleasure stalled, which is to say it formed into the project. It is known that one should do a project in order to look at it differently, or to put an end to it—one has to exhibit it.
In 2013, at the exhibition “89 Days of Winter” in Lviv (curatorial project by Anton Varga and Anatoliy Tatarenko) Stas showed a part of his still life and titled it Appearance.
In 2015, in the exhibition “Nothing Special” in Uzhhorod, Stas showed part of the still life for the second time. Ivan Nebesnyk commented at that time that it was “graphic art for introverts”. This comment was sent me in search of an inner dialogue with these works. I’ll try to retell in a few words the main thrust of this conversation.
It’s not mine, I mean it’s not my thought itself, it just stumbled over here, fell down, and accidentally took a shape for a short time. The still life comes from a bookmark for a thought that anxiously rushes in search of expression. Usually, an unfinished thought transforms everything into the feeling of guilt, but suddenly it sticks like a crumb on a bedsheet, maybe even to my own body. This rescuing black crumb has come to confuse us and become the main thing now. It turns out that someone placed it there, but it’s enough to completely avert me from my anxiety, which hasn’t strengthened and drowned me yet. It is calming when all attention becomes focused on one point, and it isn’t necessary to worry that something has been missed.
Sight is licking the crumb, making it a smooth and attractive shape for my thought, I’m conceding, it is similar to the first moment of joy at painting a three-dimensional shape.
The props cabinet in the sideboard is the same as when it stood for many years in the village of Pavshyno, where it was created. The graphics are arranged in a stack because it lets you see everything, only from the perspective of time (each work here lasts 5 seconds).