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I started compiling this project in April 2020. Then everyone stopped where they left off. The amount of visual information has grown and turned into a completely uncontrollable flow. Photos of spaces and locations were posted, debris from travel was sorted out. It became clear that a psychologica history of acceptance and denial was gradually being constructed. At first these were photographs of the place we were stuck in, but then people began to publish photographs from places where they had been before, or their first post-quarantine trips. They re-mastered the world, which they considered theirs and accessible. We applied framing and filters, decided on the concept of posts, and wrote text for publications. In general everyone did the same work that an artist usually does.
At that point we got down to work in the studio. I always make exclusive use of my own photographs for work; I only trust my own camera. Many people sent me their photographs: “Look, Zhenya, here’s a photograph just for you.” But it seemed to me, no, this isn’t my way of looking. Then I caught myself thinking I could create a work from this photograph, from this one. I began to put them together in a collection, at first without any purpose. But everything aimless sooner or later finds direction. So here it is. First the name came up.
Artists fought for the right to depict their impressions. And they succeeded.
But I decided to abandon this and make the hero of the project someone else’s, not an alien hero, but belonging to others. I asked permission to use the image from the owners. I deliberately copied photos from social networks so the quality would be less than ideal. I maintained the proportions of screenshots and images to highlight the source of social media. Unusual proportions hurt the eye; this was the path of humility of the classical artist with the golden ratio in his head. I left the filter effects on, even if they made the image look far from real. Side-by-side came images of views from an expensive hotel in Tuscany and a gold mine in Kolyma, a goddess and a walking tree, Vietnamese fields in the Moscow region and a hotel on the border of Portugal and Spain, a teenager with a picnic basket and an unknown person in a white jacket, as if from a thriller film, snow in Normandy and sun in Sestroretsk, the Pavlovsk Temple of Friendship and a volcano in Kamchatka, the hand of a famous landscape designer and a village of cottages, a desert in Jordan and a lake in Switzerland, 2 private interiors, a couple of swamps, a field near Voronezh and natural sculptures in Altai, an empty café in Tseleevo and a glass of sparkling wine near Zelenogradsk. The quiet joys of quarantine, when you notice details and wide panoramas, the everyday sense of relaxation and the unusual quality of the work process. So in the exhibition the canvases levitate in space, like the pop-up windows of an internal landscape revealed due to the circumstances of quarantine and the pandemic, and uniting different people.
What is it like to see the world through another person’s eyes?
To see a vaguely familiar subject and idea as someone else beholds it?
Do we understand that sometimes we see the same thing in the surrounding reality, notice it for ourselves, photograph it and post it online? That we are all standing together at the same stop at this moment? What is it like for an artist to lose the totality of vision, to lose his central position, to cede the fixation of a moment of reality to his potential viewer, to become a mechanical element, a projector for his own work? How can we accept new proportions of the world through a smartphone screen that is too long too inconvenient?
The goal of this project is to destroy the hermeticity of the process for creating a pictorial, representational work, replacing the vision of the creator.
Honestly admit to yourself that everyone sees it this way. The act of perceiving reality becomes common to the artist and his viewer. Everyone is an artist.
The «Off season» exhibition presents a new series of landscapes by Evgenia Buravleva, which conceptually correlate Locations of Europe and Russia remote from each other: spectacular rocky bays and modernist mansions scattered along the coast of Spanish Menorca, ancient parks and fields of French Picardy, a pool sheltered in the shade of trees on a villa in Portugal, green surroundings of Zurich Lake are shown along with the expanses of Volga river and harsh landscapes to the north of Kirov, the artist’s hometown. All these places, so different, are captured in a moment of calm – empty, completely deserted. There was once life so saturated, but now it has stopped, and it seems that this pause – whether it is a short tourist off-season, the agricultural work compled in the autumn and winter, or a socio-economic activity decline that lasts for more than one year – is the suspending of the historical time itself.
The Evgeniya’s project could be considered as a reaction to the global lockdown established in relation with the coronavirus pandemic, but it was conceived much earlier, at a time when constant movement around the world seemed self-evident. However, all twelve paintings in the cycle were already created by the artist in her Moscow workshop during the forced isolation in spring and summer 2020. The premonition of the «Off season» have become actualized since then – the feeling of melancholic emptiness, suspension and uncertainty, frozen in the landscapes, has become consonant with the reality that is unexpected and universally changing.
Evgeniya Buravleva received a solid academic education at the Vyatka Art School and then at the Moscow State Academic Art Institute named after V.I.Surikov and now systematically engages in landscape painting, seeking to restore the relevance of this artistic practice. She explores her expressive possibilities, reveals her inner codes and meanings that tell us about the today. For the artist, landscape is not only a genre burdened with a long tradition, but, above all, a special mode of representation that allows to work with a modern person’s perception habits, sensitive to the gaze mediated by the shining screens of digital devices. Responding to the excessive visual stimulation of our era, to the endless stream of competing and neutralizing network images, Evgeniya Buravleva thinks of the landscape as a medium of attraction and discipline of attention – of her own and the audience’s.
This new series of paintings is a deliberately minimalist scenery, cleared of unnecessary details, of redundant, insignificant figures of the world. Signs of the local, specific and random are dissolved here in a smoothed, like enamel surface, leveling the differences between textures. Created with thin-layer translucent glazes, it preserves the precious intensity of pigments and emits nuanced diffused light. Blue sky and emerald lawn, azure sea and snow-white buildings, gray road and rusty autumn field. The artist in small words describes and arranges the basic elements of the environment, in part likening the analogue pictorial space to a computer render with its playful «reality effect» (as if it was an ideal tourist real estate advertisement). At the same time, the clear geometry of the main compositional vectors and perspective plans, filled with color towards the pure abstraction, is softened by its distinctive blurred contours – a misty haze in the zones of peripheral visibility.
Using photography as the basis for her landscape compositions, preserving its phantom presence in them, Evgeniya Buravleva follows the path of reduction of visual information. And at the same time, it makes up for the static nature of a digital image with the dynamics of live binocular vision. Following the artist, who sharpens only certain motifs, snatching them out of distinguished ability, we peer at a boat frozen on the water surface, foaming streams of fountains in an autumn park, intricate lace foliage illuminated by the rising sun, branches of a lonely tree, graph, dry thickets of roadside Hogweed. Evgeniya Buravleva delicate structures our gaze, directing it to the isolated fragments of the visible world, which in reality are separated by thousands of kilometers – to the infinitely small inside the infinite largeness.
This duality of the author’s method provides the key to understanding the dialectical poetics of the entire series. «Off season» shows the artist’s personal memories of past trips, places with history (from the ancient caves of Cala Morell in Menorca to abandoned and weedy collective farms in the Kirov region), her changeable emotions and impressions are projected onto the eternal natural cycles of changing seasons and time of the day. Here the subjective, the momentary collides with the transpersonal and universal, and this collision sharpens the feeling of private existence’s fragility. By depicting specific points on the map aloofly and distantly, like desert utopias or «no places», Evgeniya Buravleva makes us think about the traces of man in nature and the fate of the world without man.
«Off season» views dispersed in the large hall of the Futuro gallery space, in the ruined architecture of which time seems to have also stood still, are paradoxically perceived both as «windows into the world» and as impenetrable objects. Attractive and tenacious and at the same time meditating, they invite concentrated contemplation, encourage the viewer to stop for the twelve times, to peer and to feel that each of us is just a drop in the ocean, and there is the whole ocean in every drop.
Anna Harutyunyan, Andrey Egorov
The Moscow Museum of Modern Art in partnership with the «Free Workshops» School of Contemporary Art presents a solo exhibition of Evgeniya Buravleva entitled the «Uplifting practices». The exhibition runs as part of the MMOMA Program for Support to Young Art.
The modern world puts a man, insensibly from him, in rigid vertical frames. Big cities aggravate the situation by high buildings, walls, a tape of social networks always tending upwards: each of us wants to grow, to climb the ladder of social and material well-being. Even the time shrinks and turns into the same vertical segments — home-transport-work-transport-home, where intervals are filled with the flashing of Instagram tape. In this flickering of images and meanings our life is contracting to a sign. In his «Dialectics of the Myth» A. Losev wrote: «The time like the space has folds and breakouts. Not once I have experienced some pits and breaks in time. Sometimes, the time seems to have ended, but all of a sudden it starts whistling and swirling in a whirlwind». A modern city dweller, who is whirling in this whirlwind, is also deprived of the time reference points.
The «Uplifting practices» project is part of a major cycle entitled the «Rehabilitation», where Evgeniya Buravleva considers the time as an integral element of the landscape. The Rehabilitation is not only a way, movement, readiness to take the first step into a rather uncertain space, but also the time which is required to walk this way. The man facing this space is similar to a child who for the first time is preparing to jump from the tower into a pool and ahead of him is an alluring depth.
The «Uplifting practices» project includes paintings and video-works depicting impersonal landscapes of Central Europe. The infinite and stiff horizon also needs a rehabilitation and redevelopment. In some works appears a «character» often playing a role of the background aimed at becoming a measure of distance and time filling the whole artwork. The video-works immerse the viewer into the landscape space while putting him in the place of that tiny man who needs to go on the road stretching along the horizon or cross the snow-covered forest. «In the inconspicuousness of one and the same the simplicity conceals its blessing. And the breadth of all that has grown and ripened in its being along the road gives us peace. In the declension of its speeches […] for the first time God becomes God» (Martin Heidegger. «The Field Path». 1949).
Rehabilitation/Uplifting practices (comment to project)
First paintings which connected with theme of rehabilitation appeared in 2013. At the time my interest was syndrome of person who changed one (small) town to other (metropolis). I’d marked this syndrome as wrench of horizon. In big city it is sharply sensed press of surrounding verticals as in architecture of megapolis such in human relations.Each trip to home (Kirov district) has perceived as nulling, reconstruction of horizon. Overcrowding of megapolis suddenly contrasted with full desolation which covered the district after fall USSR. For 25 years remains of villages were swallowed by nature, signs of human stay absolutely disappeared. Only cities, big settlements, suburban communities were preserved. Habitual treaded for years paths disappeared in tangles of new forest. Strange sense of second wave of assimilation that places which already once was rendered habitable didn’t leave. Personage of my paintings that period is person stopped in confusion stopped to recognize good and known long time and therefore not understanding where to go. For this personage to do first step is courage of pioneer.
Next step of development of theme of reconstruction came appearance of active personage (photographed, come, swinging). Stage of spellbound contemplation finished of adoption of decision about accomplishment of moving or act. Self-determination of person at area transforms from passive into active developing of space and fixing of himself action. «I am going, I am swinging, I am photographing». This is not ghostly hero of epoch of semiconsciousness.
Aspect of rehabilitation of dependent persons arose at that time. When I knocked together with rehabilitation of dependent person and dept to theme of rehabilitation of alcoholics I had to find of rescue myself. And at that time personage of paintings became rehabilitation of my relationship to depicted person. I located my personage to landscape-ward, covered against ailment by trees and bushes as cocoon, and by myself found to return good sense to person in that to draw assiduously his portrait. Out-of-body personage of previous paintings (though had concrete prototype) has assumed pointed (sharp in complete family relationships) distinctness. So landscape and personage had changed places: in first paintings was important concrete description of landscape, later landscape is soft blur cloud around personage which had tried to find himself.
In 2016 series of small paintings «Walks at the open air» was included to project. Against melancholy, spleen and hysteria doctors at the beginning of 20 century prescribed long-time walks along sea-shore or in mountains, or at last in the park of own estate. This series would have to be that method for that people who had no time or possibility immediately to go out sea-shore at the source of coming attack of spleen. Empty landscapes with sometimes meeting going or staying personages have called to alleviate visual and informational supersaturation of modern user.
Theme rehabilitation unexpectedly had got new direction in video and series of drawings making in art-residence in Paris. As early as artist himself had need of readaptation. After intensive period of perception for weekly trip to south of France thoughtless continuous in time process of drawing by crayons was like necessary respite. Turn-on mode of childish perception helped to filter out complete and let to concentrate at light and colour, pick out most bright and call most simple emotions. Video was to found on recording shooting in winter when person with camera had walked in snow forest and to break by fragments shooting at that time in France. The moving in forest has interrupted at one moment by wind at sea-shore at another static view of park. This is suspension of reminiscences in the head when by shaking it floated to the surface one or other.
To the end of project one aspect was picked out which could to account main as a result: rehabilitation is a way, moving or readiness to make first step to enough misty and undefined space. Person who stayed front face of this space like a child which prepared for jumping from tower of pool at first time. Ahead alluring depth, just need to make first step.
Conquest of light (comments for project)
In the beginning of my foreign travels I sharply felt the loneliness in foreigner unknown environment. Later I had started to value that moment of loneliness and suspension between spaces and time and used it in process of work at project «Rehabilitation». The person stayed on edge of the ocean, in the field, on the road is catching in the moment of waiting to accept of the decision and as sequent his absence in that present moment when the past was already pressed and invariably but the future still wasn’t determined.
At that moment the light as physical idea is most exact expression as glazing and al-absorbing, putting out known reference point, the light of emptiness and vagueness.
The hysteria which seized of people now who had been in conditions of world of post-truth when « the truth loses value for society» (https://nplus1.ru/material/2016/11/21/post-truth-world) could be calmed only in information sphere among conventional «no strangers». Instead of truth the multitude of the means enjoying as the point of view of society. Correspondingly the society also is stopping to be support for its members. The afraid person without reference points. And if early the solitude was destiny of the courageous that now the solitude is lot of everyone dictated by force.
The syndrome of permanent lateness is conductive to the hysteria. We tell about time as gone lovely friend. The phrase «there isn’t enough time» means that we had remembered still alive about that beautiful period when we had so many time that we had wanted that it passed. To present the fire of time to people, pause at the moment nowhere and never out of context of nationality politics social status and civic limitation would be come the idea for new Prometheus. After all even the light needs time for overcoming of distance.
The person without context is the one nobody. Lucky man at the era of absence of time is the one never. Hung between spaces person nowhere. To come main hero in emptiness but of he’s own free will.