VIKTORIA BURLAKA «ART-LIGHT»

    Just as earlier, artists try to compensate their time lost in search of “form and composition” with spontaneous creative work. They are all for the freedom of self-expression, therefore they easily switch from the most commercial art format of “canvas & oil” to the most democratic one – “А4 & ball-point pen”. Authors’ manners of scribbles are quite recognizable — Anatoliy Krivolap’s landscapes, Sergey Chaika’s gloomy silhouettes of monster-like monuments, Viktor Sidorenko’s people-cocoons... A sense of transferring of 'imperishable things' into 'trash' lies in de-materialization, in leftist rhetoric of the opposition of material and symbolic values (such rhetoric is especially popular now), in existential boredom for “Nothing’ (a name of Alexander Druganov’s work). Artists believe that these pieces of paper, eruptions of ‘pure creativity’ (which were not really designated for people’s eyes at all, as it seems) will manage to avoid the sad destiny of a ‘male screw’ in the system of representation, because today it is customary to position oneself as an outsider and creator of true symbolic values in relation to the system of representation. These are “non-spectacular” projects, as one loudly says about the crisis, which is not at all new – it has been going no less than since the era of romanticism. And the crisis forces creative personalities to writhe with bifurcation into two opposing things: on the one hand, everyone tries to successfully settle into the art system. On the other hand, everyone criticizes ‘bourgeois values’ in a pejorative tone – the commercial factor, the entertainment side of art and its artificiality. Outcasts and those who pretend to be them are blissful because they are close to the roots of creative work and are free from the conventionalities of “smothering civilization” – Jean Dubuffet, an ideologist of “art-brute”, thought so at some point. He was the one who gave a stream of images flowing out onto paper the term “hourloupe”, which cannot be literally translated. Variations on a theme “A4” remind that “art-brute” is not only an art of outsiders in a narrow sense, but it is also a game in which professionals play as equals. Graphomaniacs (in the best sense of this word) like Stas Volyazlovskiy ‘write’ their ‘theses’ with pictures on modern art only on garbage materials, which he accidentally finds. They are shabby sheets of paper or old clothing. His ‘chanson-art’, which has appeared from the depths of ordinary people’s consciousness, represents, as a rule, obscene pictures and delirious texts in which art leads an active ‘dialog with madness’. So far, Volyazlovskiy has managed to successfully keep his delirium under control, taking plaits regarding a might-have-been (due to a discrepancy in the space-and-time continuum) meeting of two national heroes – Taras Shevchenko and Alexander Pushkin – to a degree of harmless absurdity... The symptoms of “art-brute” – when schizophrenic non-continuous thinking of one’s consciousness is embodied in bodies and forms, which are disjointed and which transform and grow out of each other — are recognized in the works of Vlada Ralko, Andrei Sagaidovskiy and Alexander Roitburd…. However, the majority of other participants of the project have buried an aesthetic theory of “spontaneous-unconscious drawing” in a ‘chest with naphthalene’ and it is not customary to take that theory out of that ‘chest’, unless it is specifically needed. Taking paper and pen in their hands, the artists are guided by more topical and ideological motivations; they steadily create ‘an anti-product’, art-light, which is deprived of its harmful material substance that is subject to measurement in the monetary equivalent. Undoubtedly, there is some logic here. As one has noted before on many occasions, today a specific ‘pop-taste’ triumphs. It makes a price for a work the main measure of its artistic value. A unifying non-profit format of the project reconciles a young generation of the middle of the 2000s, who call artists of the past decade “private entrepreneurs” engaged in the copying of their own works, and ‘veterans’ of 1990s, who consider the generation of 2000s as “cynical market pragmatists”. It is possible that an assumption that there is some balance of material and symbolic value in an artwork (if one decreases, then the other will increase) might seem to be too naïve, nevertheless, where ‘there is no money, there are no problems’. For the time being, the idea of ‘unsubstantial’ art smoothens out the contradictions in this dichotomized artistic environment. Viktoriya Burlaka April 2007, Kyiv

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