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Both simple and dark. A joint project of the MYTH Gallery and the House of Radio

23.09.2023 – 05.11.2023

Venue: House of Radio. 27, Italianskaya str., St. Petersburg

Participants: Ulyana Podkorutova, Vadim Mikhailov

“A bright cloud turns into a cloud to pour life-giving water on the earth”

Ulyana Podkorytova

The practices of Vadim Mikhailov and Ulyana Podkorytova are united by the desire to create unique pseudo-folklore worlds, author's artistic mythologies through which modern art seeks answers to the questions of today, where various extreme phenomena paradoxically coexist. The title of the project contains a line from a poem by Marina Tsvetaeva, which tells about the mysterious transformation of the lyrical heroine, showing how one state magically passes into another. Turning to Tsvetaeva's full poem, one should read the line rather as: “both simple and difficult.” Here darkness acts as a designation of something unknown, confusing, unexplained. The meaning of the exhibition project lies in this dialectical tension between two opposite words - binary oppositions.

The principle of opposition underlies both human thinking in general and the logic of mythological narrative. In it, darkness most often denotes the primordial state of the world, the primal chaos from which everything subsequently arises. All cosmogonic myths (creation myths) can be reduced to a simple plot of the existence of primary darkness, from which two beginnings, two extremes arise: heaven and earth, for example. At the same time, the principle of the identity of these opposites is no less important. The characteristic of such a reality is precisely the extremes and polarities passing into each other, the designation and instant erasure of the boundaries between the detected opposites. The wooden armor of the costumes of Ulyana Podkorytova of the village of Nenoksa emphasizes the defenselessness of the one dressed in it, and the Golden Woman from the village of Yb is a source of light, but in her cry lies the power of apocalyptic destruction. At the same time, Vadim Mikhailov's black, gloomy objects and their inhabitants are not equal to something scary and frightening. The artist scratches the way for the heroes trapped in the darkness of the oil layer; to the light, with its archaic awe of the subject, turning found objects into art.

The spectator makes a journey between the polar worlds of top and bottom, observing the ubiquitous duality not only between floors, but also within each object. Thanks to transformations, shifters — good and evil, light and darkness, life and death — he plunges deeper and deeper into the post-folklore artistic space, realizing that the polarities are inextricably linked, and darkness is a condition for the existence of light.

Alisa Sycheva

Photo: Lyudmila Byrchenkova

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