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02

Jul
2013

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Mosaics of the 2013 Venice Biennale Part 4: Zhanna Kadyrova at the Ukranian Pavilion

Zhanna Kadyrova "Do not enter" 2005

Zhanna Kadyrova “Do not enter” 2005   Vladimir Ovcharenko Collection, Moscow Photo: Andrew Yagubsky

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Just when we thought we had mosaic at the Biennale covered, MAN correspondant Luca Maggio of Ravenna brings us this interview with Zhanna Kadyrova who is showing at the Ukranian Pavilion. Kadyrova is a shooting star in the Ukranian art scene, having won just about every major award that country has to offer and exhibiting internationally from Germany to Italy to the US. We find the work enormously intriguing – a deconstructionist take on the heavy, ponderous, numbing aesthetic of post-war Soviet Union urban architecture. This wonderfully articulate interview was first published on Maggio’s blog on July 1st – we are very grateful to have it here on MAN.

Interview with Zhanna Kadyrova   

by Luca Maggio (July 2013)

Zhanna Kadyrova (Brovary, Ukraine, 1981): What was your journey of discovery in the artistic languages? ​​Did you go from sculpture to mosaics or the opposite? In particular, what kind of materials do you use for  mosaic?

I finished my art school classes in the sculpture department: it taught me a space perception thinking, but this school was an academic one, very conservative – all of the sculpture compositions that we were making were monotone, as were the sketches we were drawing with a simple pencil. I can say that the very first and unconscious impulse that I had was to work with color. I started to make drawings with felt pens, then continued with ceramic tiles and mosaic sculpture. Of course there is also a second indispensable component: the symbolism of the material itself (the tile).

Zhanna Kadyrova, Tolya, The Plumber, 2004-2005, reinforced frame, ceramic tile, concrete, polyurethane foam, 60 × 172 × 30 Vladimir Ovcharenko Collection, Moscow    Photo: Andrew Yagubsky, Alexei Lerer

Zhanna Kadyrova “Tolya, The Plumber” 2004-2005  60 x 172 x 30 cm.  Reinforced frame, ceramic tile, concrete, polyurethane foam Vladimir Ovcharenko Collection, Moscow   Photo: Andrew Yagubsky, Alexei Lerer

Zhanna Kadyrova "Cube" 2009 Oleg Krasnoselsky Collection

Zhanna Kadyrova “Cube” 2009  Ceramic tile, concrete, polyurethane foam, 60 × 60 × 60 cm  Oleg Krasnoselsky Collection

Zhanna Kadyrova "Fruit" 2008

Zhanna Kadyrova “Fruit” 2008

Your sculpture tends to give an idea of solidity, even if it is done through the mosaic. In fact, one of the most interesting things of your works is that mosaic breaks sculpture, goes into the sculpture and digs into it, like a geode: the fragmentation of the object is not reconstructed, but exalted. Could you talk about your idea of mosaic?

It was truly important for me to break and to flex something that usually doesn’t break. Everything was used to see a geometrical module of an every-day tile/plate. The utilitarian and commonness of the material gave me great possibilities.

Zhanna Kadyrova "Apple" 2010

Zhanna Kadyrova “Apple” 2010 60 × 60 × 60 Ceramic tile, concrete, polyurethane foam,

Zhanna Kadyrova "Form of Headlights" 2012

Zhanna Kadyrova “Form of Headlights” 2012   Car, wooden beams, cement
Dimensions variable

Zhanna Kadyrova, "Data Extraction – Kyiv" 2012

Zhanna Kadyrova, “Data Extraction” 2012   Asphalt, metal, resin.

Seems to me that in your work, even in those currently exposed to the Ukrainian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, various influences are acting. They would be contradictory but you knew how to combine them in an original way: from pop to ready-made, from the use of poor materials to the more elaborate and shiny.

There’s attention to the beauty of things not beautiful in appearance: the cement is heavy and without grace, but in your old work, in the form of a giant cone, it becomes light and touches the headlights, or rather it comes from the headlights of an old car (perhaps a “time machine” or rather a “memory machine”). Or your fragments of asphalt hung like paintings (which remind me of an amazing series of a great Italian photographer, Franco Fontana): they are generally under our feet, we do not notice them, but so isolated and hung on the wall, they make all the poetry of their reality.

Well, could you talk about your current work at the Biennale?

In the Ukrainian Pavilion I was exhibiting two completely different projects: a documentation of Monument of the New Monument and objects of the serie No Explicit Forms. The curators of the exhibition Alexander Soloviev and Viktoriya Burlaka have selected these works.

Zhanna Kadyrova "Monument to a New Monument" 2009  Lenin Street, Sharhorod, Ukraine

Zhanna Kadyrova “Monument to a New Monument” 2009 Lenin Street, Sharhorod, Ukraine

1. In 2007 I was invited to participate in a festival of architecture of the small city of Shargorod (Ukraine). I started to work on the public sculpture Monument of the New Monument, but I had the possibility to install it only in 2009. It was very important for me that, in addition to my being a sculptor who was making a sculpture, I started to work for the first time as architect. The square where is the monument was built following my project, benches and lamps were made after my sketches. 150 square meters of pavers were put on the ground, and the gas pipe that was going throw the square was put underneath it.

Once the curators have chosen this work, there was a question up for me: repeat the sculpture or make a documentation of this site-specific. I didn’t like the usual supporting documentation (photo, video), because of its bidimensionality. The DIY hologram that we exhibited at the Pavilion accomplished in my opinion is a prior task, to show the life around an contemporary artwork in a small town. The possibility to see the work from its four sides, the possibility to walk physically around it, was a real experiment for me. I made this kind of work for the first time and many people helped me with it. Four GoPro cameras were put on each of the four sides and, synchronously, every 10 seconds, made a shoot during all day, from sunset to sunrise. Thanks to this we had a quickening day of twelve minutes with passengers, cars, animals and everything that surrounded the sculpture every day, the original sound was also recorded this way. 

Zhanna Kadyrova "Security Camera" 2012 Photo courtesy of the artist and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin, production of Izolyatsia - Platform for Cultural Initiatives, Donetsk, Ukraine. Photo Oak Taylor-Smith

Zhanna Kadyrova “Security Camera” 2012   Security camera, wooden beams, cement. Dimensions variable.  Photo courtesy of the artist and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin, production of Izolyatsia – Platform for Cultural Initiatives, Donetsk, Ukraine. Photo Oak Taylor-Smith

 

2. The second project exhibited at the Ukrainian Pavilion is a work of the series No Explicit Forms. This time I materialized the immaterial view of a security camera and a video camera, that are directed on some mysterious object of the exhibition. The choice of the material is here very important, as the concrete is a rough, heavy and basic material. It was important to put it against the ephemeral view of the cameras. The idea of the work is that at the first glance the unnoticed has a great impact on our private life. There was also a connection to the Biennale as a publicized art event. Maybe a chef-d’oeuvre is hidden under the eye of the camera.

Zhanna Kadyrova "Bench-graphs"  2008

Zhanna Kadyrova “Bench-graphs” 2008

Zhanna Kadyrova "Honor Board" 2003 Izolyatsia - Platform for Cultural Initiatives collection, photo Dmitry Sergeev

Zhanna Kadyrova “Honor Board” 2003 Izolyatsia – Platform for Cultural Initiatives collection.  Photo:  Dmitry Sergeev

Zhanna Kadyrova, Shell, 2008, property of the artist, photo Andrew Yagubsky, Alexei Lerer

Zhanna Kadyrova “Shell” 2008 Property of the artist  Photo: Andrew Yagubsky, Alexei Lerer

What is the situation of the mosaic in your country? Are there other artists who use it in the contemporary sense?

The mosaic in Ukraine has very deep roots as it is a traditional Soviet element of the public space interior design. There are still some monumental signboards on the walls of different institutions and mosaic in the bus stops that everybody can see nowadays. More contemporary mosaic can be seen in the Vinnytsia region, it is used to decorate houses. But these mosaics are more ornamental, the Soviet ones are ideological.

There are not so many artists working with mosaic.  Some of them use it once, and then choose to move on… O. Tistol (from Kiev) made mosaic framings for his works, L. Zvezdochetova (Moscow) used tile mosaic, Artem Andreichuk (Kiev) uses tiles in his paintings, Anatoli Gankevich (Odessa) imitates mosaic in his paintings.

Zhanna Kadyrova "Diamonds" 2006  Variable. Cement, tile.

Zhanna Kadyrova “Diamonds” 2006 Variable. Cement, tile.

Zhanna Kadyrova, "Filling In"2012 Various kitchen and household enameled vessels, tiles Dimensions variable Courtesy of the artist and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano/Beijing/Le Moulin.  Production of Izolyatsia - Platform for Cultural Initiatives, Donetsk, Ukraine  Photo:  Oak Taylor-Smith

Zhanna Kadyrova, “Filling In”2012 Various kitchen and household enameled vessels, tiles.
Dimensions variable Courtesy of the artist and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano/Beijing/Le Moulin. Production of Izolyatsia – Platform for Cultural Initiatives, Donetsk, Ukraine Photo: Oak Taylor-Smith

Zhanna Kadyrova "Oblast"  2010

Zhanna Kadyrova “Oblast” 2010

What are your plans for the future?

In the end of June I am making a residency in the Izolyatsia Foundation, in Donetsk (Ukraine). There I am going to make a monumental signboard out of recovered tiles coming from facade walls of the fabric. It will be a bas relief representing the contemporary city and will occupy the entire wall. Also, in my upcoming shows, I will have a solo exhibition in September entitled Crowd at the Moscow Biennale.

Zhanna Kadyrova "Wood" 2009

Zhanna Kadyrova “Wood” 2009

Zhanna Kadyrova "Crowd" 2012

Zhanna Kadyrova “Crowd” 2012

The artist and "Crowd"  Photo via Kyivpost.com

The artist and “Crowd” Photo via Kyivpost.com

RESOURCES

  • Ukrainian Pavilion:  The Monument to a Monument    Ridnyi Mykola, Zinkovskyi Hamlet, Kadyrova Zhanna
    Commissioner: Victor Sydorenko. Curators: Soloviov Oleksandr, Burlaka Victoria. Venue: Palazzo Loredan – Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, San Marco 2946, Campo Santo Stefano
  • Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin  3 Profsoyuznaya Street, Moscow  E-mail: info@smirnovartsorokin.com Tel.: +7 (499) 124-69-35 Fax: +7 (499) 124-69-31
  • Zhanna Kadyrova website here
  • Luca Maggio’s blog Arte Mosaico Ravenna here

MORE FROM THE BIENNALE

  • Mosaics of the 2013 Venice Biennale Part 1: Mohamed Banawy at the Egyptian Pavilion can be seen here.
  • Mosaics of the 2013 Venice Biennale Part 2: Tadeii (Venice), Sigurdardóttir (Iceland) & Williams (Wales) here
  • Mosaics of the 2013 Venice Biennale Part 3: Domingo Zapata translated by Koko Mosaico of Ravenna here

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Comments

  1. celso adolfo

    Fantastic!The conception of ” Monumento to a new Monument ” end the fruits form are delicious…The mosaic idea like fragments end infinit possibits.

  2. Lillian Sizemore

    Very Cool. i like the “Monument to a New Monument” the long cuts and “draping” effect made with hard, durable material. And the “capture” of light into concrete form.

  3. Marcelo de Melo

    Zhanna Kadyrova’s work is fantastic!

    • Nancie

      I thought of you when I saw it, Marcello! Very strong.

      • Marcelo de Melo

        ;-)
        It is the kind of work I attracted to. Mosaic here contributes to her narratives and it is used wisely. They are works that transcend their materiality. Well deserved being at the Biennale.

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