“Phantom” is perhaps the most dubious exhibition at The Naked Room. Anton Sayenko is an artist in paradox. He works with fragile and ephemeral materials and media, like performance, land art and interventions into gallery space, yet he does it in a truly monumental manner. His works are normally made out of garbage or air. But their scale is able to transform the space around the viewer who interacts with them. Seeing them live is available to few, and their existence is only preserved in the documentation.
About a year ago we learned that Sayenko has a studio practice as well. The paintings we saw there were quite the opposite ofto the above-described method. The painterly surface was meticulously layered in different tones that created an effect of complex and flickering colour. There was a hint of figurative image, yet it’s function was not toin presenting a subject, quite the contrary—to produce an ambiguity in what is seen.
We invited Anton to exhibit those paintings at The Naked Room, he accepted and we scheduled an exhibition. However, several months later we learned that “those paintings” had a slightly different meaning for the artist from that of the curators. These works continued to develop in his studio and on our every next visit, surprised us with new imagery. Anton remained true to the performative approach to art and until the day of installation kept on painting on the same canvas over the previous layers. If we talk about images, these works were remade at least five times. But, it seems, Anton is not aiming toat createing images, even abstract ones, by the means of painting. It is painting-in-itself that interests him, if we understand painting as a continuous process of the cultivation of colour.
“Phantom” in this sense is a temporary pause in this process that we have a chance to witness live at The Naked Room.