Exploring Contemporary Creative Method: Convergence of Space, Time, and Meaning
Text: Alina Zhukova
18/09/2023
The exploration of the relationship between time, space, and the meaning of life has captivated spiritual seekers, artists, and scientists since ancient times. Despite the contemporary individual's grasp of these concepts to some extent, grounded in sensory perception, scientific revelations, and cultural archetypes, the precise linkage between the brain and consciousness still needs to be discovered. Therefore, it is within the realm of art that this theme is at the forefront of research and potential new conceptual discoveries.
In her curatorial practice, Polina Epinatyeva is captivated by the concept of synergy that transcends diverse periods, spaces, and temporal realms. This profound fascination with blending seemingly unconnected entities allows her to cultivate entirely new, utopian visions within art and the world. She is deeply impressed by projects deviating from the traditional "white cube" gallery setting, opting for more intricate, possibly historical spaces that facilitate dialogues between contemporary expressions and traditional contexts.

Epinatyeva's pivotal experience at the 2020 exhibition in Blenheim Palace, featuring Cecily Brown's works, left an indelible mark on her curatorial methodology. In that exhibit, the curator Anders Kold, achieved seamless integration of Cecily Brown's abstract pieces into the historical context of the palace's interiors, inspired by its rich legacy tied to the Spencer-Churchill family. This transformative endeavour harmonised historical narratives with modern artistic expression and sparked Epinatyeva's journey toward innovative curation.

Polina Epinatyeva's involvement in the Pushkin Museum's project at the Nizhny Novgorod Arsenal, aptly titled "Named after Vasari," is reflective of this unconventional method. This project aimed to uncover points of convergence between Renaissance works from the museum's collection and contemporary art. Exhibits were ingeniously juxtaposed within the interiors of a 19th-century building, adding layers of depth and historical resonance to modern artworks. Notably, Epinatyeva played a pivotal role in facilitating the inclusion of marble sculptures by a contemporary Russian artist, Elena Artemenko, whose work was borrowed from a prominent private collection for the duration of the show. These sculptures, meticulously crafted to emulate the lifelike realism sought by Renaissance masters, provided a striking dialogue between past and present, accentuating the project's exploration of artistic continuity and innovation. Through her contributions, Epinatyeva enriched the exhibition with a profound sense of interconnectedness, inviting viewers to engage deeply with the interplay of tradition and modernity within the realm of art.
The artwork of Valery Koshlyakov at the exhibition "Named After Vasari" in the Nizhny Novgorod Arsenal. Photo by Polina Epinatyeva.
Epinatyeva's curatorial philosophy underscores the importance of discovering novel modes of interaction between artworks and their surrounding environments. She seeks to uncover hidden depths and initiate transformative dialogues between creators, spaces, and viewers. In her pursuit of redefining the relationship between art and its contexts, Epinatyeva illuminates pathways to new interpretations and meanings.

Continuing the exploration of contemporary creative methods and the convergence of space, time, and meaning, the works of artist Coma Yank showcase the complex interplay between these elusive concepts. In her piece titled "The Inner Sea" the artist ventures into the depths of the human psyche in exquisite entangled lines and contrast fills of colour.

"The Inner Sea" is a visual journey into the artist's inner world, where water symbolizes strength and elemental power. Coma Yank's work becomes a reflection of the internal landscape, encompassing both the beauty of serene forms and thoughts, as well as the darkness and unsettling imagery that lurk within: these qualities are intertwined in the artist's unique style of lines and shapes as well as the use of colour. Through her mixed media technique, she blurs the boundaries between different artistic elements, inviting viewers to contemplate the complexities of the human experience.

The influence of the picturesque Atlantic coast of Britain permeates "The Inner Sea," offering a tangible connection to the natural world while also transcending physical boundaries. Coma Yank's portrayal of the inner realm challenges conventional notions of time, space, and meaning. In her exploration, she questions whether the inner world, rich with its beauty and darkness, truly adheres to the dimensions of time and space as we understand them and if not, then are these dimensions even real? The artist suggests that the inner landscape may exist beyond these conventional constraints, offering a glimpse into a realm where such distinctions blur and dissipate, offering space to something eternal.

"The Inner Sea" by Coma Yank ( mixed media on paper)
Maxim Badikov's photography is deeply rooted in urban life, echoing the profound exploration of the relationship between time, space, and the meaning of existence against the backdrop of a city. From this perspective, Badikov captures not just the physical landscapes of cities but also the nuanced interconnectedness between past and present, tradition and modernity.

His photographs serve as visual narratives that transcend mere documentation, inviting viewers to contemplate the temporal dimensions embedded within urban environments. By juxtaposing subjects from different epochs against the backdrop of evolving cityscapes, Badikov skillfully navigates the complexities of time and space, prompting introspection into the essence of human existence and the destiny of the entire nation.

In his series "Школа Имени Искусств М.А. Балакирева" (School of Arts named after M.A. Balakirev), Maxim captures the essence of nostalgia by juxtaposing an elderly man and a child against the backdrop of a school built during the Soviet era. Through this juxtaposition, he not only blends epochs but also evokes emotions and reflections on the passage of time, thereby contributing to the ongoing discourse within contemporary art about the fundamental questions of existence and the mysterious nature of consciousness.
"Школа Имени Искусств М.А. Балакирева" (School of Arts named after M.A. Balakirev) by Maxim Badikov
The video artist Oleg Dokin is interested in cross-cultural exploration in contemporary art. His creative journey, shaped by a childhood fascination with various art forms, transcends the boundaries of traditions and mediums.

In his work "Flowers Code: A Video Journey Through Floral Ornaments of the World," Dokin embarks on a visual adventure, weaving together ethnic plant motifs from diverse cultures into a coherent and harmonious visual symphony. Inspired by artistic traditions spanning South America, Japan, India, and beyond, Dokin's exploration underscores the belief that art knows no boundaries; rather, it thrives on the interconnectedness of global traditions.
Video Art "Flowers Code: A Video Journey Through Floral Ornaments of the World," by Oleg Dokin
By integrating folklore motifs into a singular narrative, Dokin challenges conventional notions of cultural distinction, illustrating that diversity is not a barrier but a source of enrichment. Through his video art, he illuminates the interconnectedness of humanity's creative expressions, offering viewers an artistic vision of a truly global and united community, which will be able to solve the threats to humanity and allow us a path of grace.

Oleg Dokin's "Flowers Code" is a beautiful example of the transformative power of art, transcending temporal and spatial boundaries to reveal the universal language of human creativity. Natalia Kungurova, a visionary painter renowned for her innovative approach to fluid art and mixed media expressions, delves into the depths of human emotion and existence through her captivating works. Drawing inspiration from a diverse array of influences, Natalia's artistic journey reflects a profound commitment to unravelling the complexities of the human experience.

Natalia Kungurova explores the dimensions of human existence through her peculiar approach to fluid art and mixed media techniques. Drawing inspiration from the early works of Gerhard Richter and the innovative techniques of Mark Bradford, she infuses her pieces with spontaneity and intention.

Her series 'Fragments of Reminiscence,' including the piece 'Unrealisable', captures the essence of human experience through gestural strokes and a contrasting colour palette. Through abstract forms and experimental techniques, Natalia invites viewers into a realm of introspection and revelation.

'Unrealisable' may be compared to the philosophical concept of Śūnyatā, or voidness, suggesting the elusive nature of true essence and meaning. Natalia's abstract exploration challenges conventional boundaries, provoking thought and inviting viewers to contemplate the timeless and formless aspects of the human spirit.

'Unrealisable' by Natalia Kungurova, mixed media on paper
In his digital creations, the artist Aleksei Avduevskii explores the interplay of reflections and distortions, hinting at the potential for gateways to parallel worlds that can hold new meanings. In his series 'Refraction Realms,' and in particular the work 'Realm 1,' Aleksei manipulates impressionist masterpieces through advanced digital art techniques, transforming them into geometric shapes reminiscent of circles on water. These distortions create a surreal space that blurs the boundaries between eras, offering viewers a glimpse into a realm where time and space intersect in a new and unexpected way.
'Realm 1,' digital art by Aleksei Avduevskii
In this way, Aleksei invented his unique method of abstraction referencing the renowned masterpieces of visual art to such an extent that they are still recognizable but already abandoned any connection to realism.

This distorted space adheres to new laws and challenges conventional perceptions of art and its evolving role in the digital age. Through playful remixing and bold experimentation with post-modernist digital collage, Aleksei invites viewers to reconsider their understanding of artistic values of authenticity and uniqueness and its relationship to the contemporary world of endlessly multiplied digital images instantly spreading worldwide.

Elena Timokhina's "YA Undersea Fantasy Story" playfully weaves a narrative that resonates with humanity's thirst to unravel the mysteries of existence. In this captivating tale, where a land reminiscent of contemporary Turkey merges with a fantastical underwater realm, Timokhina sparks a reflection on the interconnectedness of our reality and the depths of imagination.

The protagonist, twelve-year-old Eva, faces the impending unknown of moving to London with trepidation, seeking solace in the idea of finding a "magic pill" to mitigate her fears. However, her chance encounter with Dionysius, a sea spirit, leads her on a journey to the underwater capital of Aktalaktika.

Through exploring Waterville, a special school for "wizard-spirits" – sea people who possess magical abilities – Eva gains insight into the interconnectedness of magic and responsibility. As she witnesses the destructive force of Trashentraum, a colossal garbage plant threatening marine life, Eva embraces her role in protecting the ocean and fostering harmony between the elemental spirits.

Elena Timokhina's 'YA undersea fantasy story' immerses readers in a realm where the boundaries of perception blur, inviting contemplation on the nature of existence and the vastness of human potential. Through the adventures of Eva and her encounters in the underwater world, As readers journey alongside Eva, they are reminded that within the depths of creativity lies the power to challenge perceptions, embrace diversity, and forge connections that transcend the confines of time and space.
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