Growing in communist Russia, I was surrounded by folk tales as well as children's cautionary tales of Soviet era. Their imagery and narratives influence my work. Large-eared Cheburashka, teddy bears and Red-Riding Hoods still firmly lodged in my psyche. To me, these tales are at once a form of escapism and a call to adhere to reality. The simplicity of their plots and the too perfect clarity between right and wrong rarely matched up to what actually went on in people's lives. In these gilded stories, the villain was always slain, the hero always got the girl, and the Communist Party wisdom illuminated even the darkest corners of this world. But in reality, there were discontented whispers in kitchens, grey conformity pervaded everyday life, and children schlepped through muddy unpaved streets. My work is born out of this dissonance, out of a childhood necessity to draw those opposites of the fantastical and the real closer together, to make sense of this glaring gap.
I like to rebuild these stories, to tear them apart and collage them into my own, to draw in what is missing, to add alternative POVs, and to build in visual and narrative complexity. My projects usually consist of series of drawings, sculptures, and videos with repeated imagery and themes that weave a semblance of story, a narrative one feels rather than reads. Digitally produced images, obsessive drawing, and sculptural elements made out of yarn, fabric, and found objects are layered over and over into a visual cacophony requiring one's attention, not offering any climactic arcs or resolutions. I work on a few pieces simultaneously, switching from one to another, and build them through each other by cross-referencing and sampling. To me, these objects are linked together and are born as a whole. Their collective existence build a tenuous bridge between what is and what could be. …Read More