WAR WILL BE TELEVISED
“Terrorism, in its action, seeks this solidarity
with the people but without finding it.”
Jean Baudrillard, “The Mask of War”.
In the atmosphere of increased hysteria, which has been flooding the public space in the last days and months, it is quite easy for a reflecting artist to get misguided and fall from the level of a firm critical expression into vulgar and overemotional simplifications and closet thinking. The acute public demand for artistic gestures during the crises significantly increases the intensity of creative experience, but on the other hand it drastically affects the quality of the final product. In the end, the polyphony of cultural phenomena implodes into indistinct monotonous humming, and only few artists manage to escape being part of it.
Nikita Shalenny’s works are genuinely interesting because they are never parallel to public trends. Starting from his earliest projects, he rarely works with popular topics, but rather analyzes processes and tendencies, capturing images of the future, almost always – intuitively.
This can be seen in his works with the topic of the catapult as a manifestation of people’s wish to be transported into another world – from it’s concept at the “Industrial Eden” in Kiev to the full-scale embodiment during the Open City festival in Lublin. This can also be seen in the images of soldiers from the Berkut special enforcement unit in the series entitled “Where is your brother?” on the history of the Ukrainian raiding, which was finished a couple of days before the events this unit was disbanded for it’s role in. Finally, this can be seen among his current interests – the resurgence of the Middle Ages in the contemporary world.
The project “Album about war” is not a typical one for Shalennyy both stylistically and conceptually. An emotional series of almost abstract works was created almost as a means to escape the traumatizing images of the war next door. The wish to exhibit these works in Moscow, to deliver them as dead cargo, to return them as rejected air missiles, looks naive and even provocative. But there is hardly provocation in the sort of reflection Shalenny communicates, not resorting to, as opposed to most of the Ukrainian art scene, either comedy or unnecessary pathos and heroics.
Andrey Boborykin, Kiev, 2014.
Photo Masha Shalueva.
Watercolors, craft paper.
Sizes: 21×30 cm.
Watercolors, white paper.
Sizes: 21х30 cm.