Atelophobia / Exhibition by Ilya Volykhine

The artist invites you to the opening event on October 22nd 18:00 @ the Printing Museum balcony gallery.

Russian-born artist Ilya Volykhine from New Zealand presents an exhibition of paintings and prints under the working title of atelophobia – the fear of never being good enough. Emerging from behind the Iron curtain in 1991, Ilya’s works capture the underlying forces that dominate and determine the conditions of the human psyche. The exhibition is part of Ilya’s artist in residence period in Tartu, that he undertook to familiarize himself with printmaking in the Estonian Printing Museum.

Long recognised for his singular works combining text and figuration, Ilya merges disparate elements of Russian iconography, re-inscribing strange and often obscured meanings into normative narrative structures reminiscent of comic strips and advertising. For the present exhibition, Ilya started his process with the notion of being inferior or coming second, as in the relationship of Tallinn to Tartu. However, after spending more time in Estonia travelling around and visiting different cities, Ilya states he can only compare this notion of being second as completely absurd.

“It is like comparing an apple to a banana or New York City to Los Angeles. I thought of my motherland Russia where we constantly compare St. Petersburg to Moscow or even my next adopted land of Australia, comparing Sydney to Melbourne; big contrasts there. […] These orders are strange, this ordering process is flawed. First in some things, second in others and third in yet another.”

In this exhibition of new works, Ilya continues to expand upon strategies of collage, drawing, painting and his newly learned printmaking skills to conjure earlier established themes and imagery mined from a myriad of sources including, movies, cult icons, literature, television, and personal history. This broad range of historical references not only foregrounds Volykhine’s own interest in appropriating past visual and literary styles but also invokes the schizophrenic and pathological impulses at work in the Russian imaginary. Ilya refuses to offer conventional narrative logic to his works which are often both perversely funny and poetically contemplative. His power indeed lies in his ability to occupy multiple positions at once, and ultimately to implicate text and image in a slippery production of meaning.

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