Stella Art Foundation presents Irina Nakhova’s installation “Renovation”. For Nakhova, renovation refers to the event in everyday life and the global metaphor related to art and the structure of all of creation.
Irina Nakhova: “Renovation is a difficult but necessary process in which the old and obsolete are removed in order to create a new living space. This is not simply touching up the paint job or patching the holes in the walls, but a radical reconsideration of the home where the individual spends his life, that small world he encounters on a daily basis.
As a metaphor, renovation can be applied to the process of creating a work of art. Instead of seeing it as building something from nothing, making art can been understood as an endlessly necessary effort toward clarifying expression. This is a process that continuously undermines the truth of a statement, a feeling, a technique, and the means of expression. Essentially, it is a paradoxical process because the more vehemently you destroy the layers of paint and meaning, the more significant they become. Creation and destruction emerge as equivocal, coexisting on a common plane; they form an aesthetic palimpsest and imbuing it with history, ideas, significance, doubt, and truth.”
Irina Nakhova’s “Renovation” is installed between two galleries. In the main gallery, there is a multi-screen video installation. Static and moving images, flickering and alternating, create a space alluding to both the monumental world of religious architecture and the universal order itself. In the smaller gallery, viewers will find many-layered paintings and painted objects that appear to be caught in the midst of the process of simultaneous creation and restoration. Hanging together on a single wall, they appear to be the fragments of what the artist calls a “degenerative-regenerative ‘fresco’.”
Overall, Irina Nakhova’s project is an impressive effort executed along the boundary between an archeology of an individual’s everyday existence and an architecture of a super-personal eternity. According to the artist, “this project is connected to my older works, from 1970s through the 1990s, and the archeology of the contemporary landscape, a subject very near to me. This contemporary archeology remains connected to the past, taking the individual as rooted in history to be the sole justification for his existence. In addition to these, the project addresses renovation as an apocalyptic experience of time and the necessity of making this experience human.”
Irina Nakhova was one of the pioneers of the genre of the total installation in Soviet underground art. Using the expressive possibilities of painting and collage, she created five Rooms in her own apartment that succeeded each other annually from 1983 to1987. Nakhova concurrently worked with painting, creating structures from several superimposed planes, and installations, the most vivid of which employ inflatable objects and interactive audio pieces.
Irina Nakhova is a painter, graphic artist, an author of objects and installations, and an important contributor to Moscow Conceptualism. She was born in Moscow. From 1972 to 1978 she studied at the Moscow Polygraphic Institute, then she worked as a book illustrator at Moscow publishing houses (until 1986). Since 1992 she has lived and worked in the USA and Russia, and has continued to exhibit in Moscow. She has worked as an art teacher at colleges in Europe and the United States.
Nakhova has had solo shows at the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, 2005) and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Moscow, 2011), among others. Group shows Nakhova has participated is include: Berlin—Moskau/Москва-Берлин 1950-2000 (Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; State Historical Museum, Moscow, 2003-2004); I Believe! (Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art, 2005); ŽEN d’АРТ (Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2010); Hostages of Voids (State Tretyakov Gallery, 2011).