Monday, 28 November 2011 Comments Off
CoSTUME NATIONAL and CoNSCIOUS clocked what a lot of people failed to notice; that the work of Sergei Sviatchenko is first and above all that of an abstract artist, a collage artist, and a modern artist. Fashion, yeah, he loves, but it also provides him with a context to explore and play with stuff way beyond fit, fabric and trend.
It has a lot to do with the relationship between memory and inspiration, I feel. It's about not allowing memory to collapse into nostalgia, but using it as a building block with which to relate to the present.
Visually, this notion lends itself easily to the (seemingly) abstract, allowing memories to impact on things that might otherwise be viewed objectively as separate or unrelated. Essentially, our most potent memories are the enemy of common sense.
They force us to perceive stuff in random ways, making us associate things on a personal level in ways that defy accepted logic. It's this process, which seems to be played out in Sviatchenko's response to the current collection by CoSTUME NATIONAL.
As he says of the works theme and title: The Beetles News.
Beetles - it's not a mistake. I felt like a beetle - to come, to see and fly away. The Beatles Live in Milano 1965 was the strongest inspiration for the project.
The viewer is rewarded with new ways of seeing the familiar by exploring images where the objects have become detached (literally and symbolically) from their common-sense definitions.
Very much like listening to a piece of jazz – the narrative or rhythm is grounded but it’s punctuated and overridden by a spontaneity which makes the familiar fresh and other-worldly.
And like listening to jazz, the quality of the audience's attention here is an active not passive one. The work demands that the viewer interact with it’s internal drama in a non-linear way. In doing so the viewer can make their own connections, perhaps triggering their own memories on some subtle level.
Celebrating subjectivity, maybe the gift of Sergei Sviatchenko's work is to encourage us to experience other aspects of the real world on a similarly personal, non-prescriptive premise.
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