The sensual feelings and impressions that we perceive from our surrounding environment don’t remain in the consciousness in their original form for long, they are quickly become “worn down.” The sensory memory is short-lived, it’s like a memory card for a camera, where the images build up in chaotic disorder for a short period of time before going through various selection filters and being stored in our memories as a universal “reminiscence file,” formatted by the media environment. But before the image is lost among millions more on Instagram, it goes through a photographic filter, taking on a photographic format that is recognizable to other users of the network. A commentary-description under the picture and a “like” complete the process of “transfer” from personal reminiscences to the public space.
The artist Natasha Yudina proposes the return of reminiscences to the private sphere and, rejecting the replication of memorable life situations, the artist constructs her own painterly filter for the past. To this end, Natasha Yudina selects the format of a painterly diary. This diary, however, is not dedicated to the ups and downs confronted by its author. In it, the author inscribes the stories of varied things that bear within themselves “the presence of time and a person.” The chronological mismatch between the “author” and the “subject” or “hero” of these stories, albeit minimal, allows the artist to establish a necessary distance.
This daily report of the artist’s takes place in a small apartment located in a standard five-story block in Tomsk, where she lives and works. As in a normal diary, the series Prophetic Clothes, 18+. Bed Scenes and others reflect direct events selected by the artist as memorable life material: “I’m a Siberian, and I’ve only seen the sea once — transparent sea water, and my blue silk overalls which I was wearing that summer, for me, merged into one painted ‘Marina’.”; “My enclosed domestic environment — that is my subject. Looking at an unmade bed, I dream of nature and I end up with a winter landscape — it’s an optical self-delusion”; “If I paint a ring or a dress, then I remember the stories linked to them, for me my things are memories.”
An unmade bed, rumpled clothing, a children’s toy, or a cigarette butt — all these objects with which the artist is familiar are placed within a new event context, leaving their “tactile” and “material” elements beyond the boundaries of the present. The objects are transformed into symbols of memory, and the artist establishes her rules for the reading of these memory symbols, proposing that spectators turn to their own experience of optical “discoveries” and “mistakes.”
This is a possibility for self-delusion that we voluntarily agree to. In the same way, when a need for privacy intuitively arises, we turn to a diary. And the greater the distance becomes between the creation of a painted diary and its viewing by spectators, the less the painterly filter obstructs the gaze revealed by the artist. Perhaps this is all to do with the ephemeral nature of the genre? The diaries exist on “the margins of life space”— everything that is entrusted to the diaries is easily replaced with new life impressions. And, with time, having lost their urgency, they remain simply as symbols of memory, marking a fleeting reality, and existing beyond time.
Anna Romanova, Art critic
The Painting Filters of Natasha Yudina