* "...under certain stimulating circumstances the forgotten becomes imminent..."
(Paul Ricœur, Around Politics)
Voloshyn Gallery is proud to present a solo show The Imminent Amongst Forgotten of the renowned artist Vlada Ralko, showcasing her works from different periods. The exhibition features works from the series Signs, Reality Envy and Twins, as well as canvases that don’t belong to any particular series.
The artist explains that she selected materials for the exhibition based on the absence of alienation she often feels towards her “old” works. She singled out certain works to take another look at them from the vantage point of passing time. “I don’t find attempts to reveal crucial evidence in the past, or to review that which slipped our attention, all that nonsensical. Most of the selected works were created while I worked on cohesive series or during breaks between series, as standalones. And, to the contrary, I ‘pulled’ other works out of their context to shear all ties with the unifying theme. This way, I wanted to draw attention to elements that got overshadowed and marginalized by the central theme of the series. The selection criteria were no longer contingent on quality, chronology, impact or importance of any given stage: I framed these works as a standalone sequence informed by what matters to me right now. In point of fact, it is the opposite of a retrospective exhibition,” admits Vlada Ralko. Whereas the artist’s primary field of interest used to be body as such, she chose works where “the fleshly seems to have left the body and is scrutinizing what’s left from the sidelines” for the exhibition. “It was of the essence to find in my own works from several years back the revelation of the exilic atmosphere where mankind is divorced from everything, including its own body, of that ambiguous rift in which mankind knows not how to define itself in the world. Now, when the signs of humanity wander homeless, alienated from their very selves, and risk being crushed by utilitarian logic, I wanted to reclaim or develop the ability to recognize amongst the boundless chaos of used up and devalued identities the common denominator or feature, the readiness for live action, something akin to a chance to exonerate humankind.”
The show’s exposition is laconic, and Vlada Ralko’s works are not meant to entertain. “Almost all works are created in an expressive, high-contrast, saturated palette and represent deformed chunks of female bodies with hypertrophied sexual characteristics; they are often so misshapen that a human figure morphs into abstract blots, the bloody pulp of exquisite expansive brushwork. Ralko paints a lot and doesn’t give her viewers much thought, but their reaction remains symptomatic of an entire range of post-Soviet problems of self-identification (the material that the artist works with, and that became unprecedentedly topical during the Russo-Ukrainian conflict),” notes Asia Bazdyrieva, a scholar of contemporary art and culture. The art scholar argues that Ralko is one of the strongest artists in contemporary Ukrainian history. Candidly, without kowtowing to either the viewers or the institutions, her works transform the very Other, whom we, the dwellers of the ruins of the empire who are just beginning to grasp the paucity of self-identification, cannot yet reconceptualize.
Vlada Ralko was born in 1969 in Kyiv. She graduated from the T.H. Shevchenko Republican Comprehensive Art School in 1987, and from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture (the workshop of Professor V.Shatalin) in 1994. A member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine since 1994. Ralko’s works are extensively exhibited both in Ukraine and abroad. Lives and works in Kyiv.