Kyiv. Ya Gallery
19.02.2020 – 16.03.2020
In his exhibition project The Hidden, Volodymyr Budnikov again and again raises a question to the visible by shielding the things that are usually in the front in a work of art. Instead of properly presenting his works to the public eye, the painter almost everywhere hides or shades their prominent part calling into doubt the chairmanship of the so-called face of a painting. The pictures are exhibited either in rolls or unlighted. A viewer can only, perhaps, imagine what has been hidden by the artist. But the arbitrariness of imagination is also questioned here. Something in a work of art stays forever hidden from our eyes, even when we do see it. And this invisible is surely not just something.
Volodymyr Budnikov's pictures seem to be deprived of the painted part. However, the removal of a visual component in The Hidden asserts the integrity of an artwork. In the absence of the visible which a viewer is used to, the breakdown of a work into an idea and a result becomes impossible since the definiteness of both positions in a way isolates a viewer and does not allow them to join this work. Hence, finding themself before Budnikov's works, a viewer involuntarily refuses from subjectivity, relying on the artist's explanation rather than their own view and understanding.
Volodymyr Budnikov emphasizes that light is the most important thing in The Hidden project. Thus, with thoroughly weighted simplicity, he explains the general nature of an artistic statement. By appealing to the literal interpretation of the word project, the author scatters the focus, dissolving it in the beam of light as a condition for revealing things and creating a projection. However, light is a meaning-making component rather than a projection. The exposition space recreates Plato's cave without the hypnotic influence of illusionary shadows. The author offers a viewer to slide with their mind by the established positions of sources of light and images and consider the lighted emptiness that combines these two points on the map of an artwork. Budnikov focuses on the trivia that is actually the primary effort in a work. This is what defines the important topography where the meaningful part lies in between “what an artist wants to say" and what a viewer sees. Bolesław Leśmian in his poem Girl very accurately observes the passionate thirst for the truth as a process of gradual subtraction that finally results in a completely pure cavity: “You make fun of that trivia – but it doesn't make fun of you, does it?"
The Hidden project uses objects from different series that together reveal the common topic. Hide for Light created in 2010 is a beginning, a point where the project is enrooted. In this small sculpture, Budnikov compares a line (a dimensional “line" of wire) with light or rather a process of light coming out of a bait, from a hole to the outside, its appearance. The painter's rolled-in works on paper that are either well-known or were made public during various artistic events are also transformed into spatial objects. The works – as though prepared for storage in the studio – as a result of such representation acquire a new meaning and completely different materiality.
The project's optics is also defined by the time vector of its general structure. Every rolled picture becomes something like a historical artifact, a separate record of the author's complete oeuvre. And the arrangement of rolls in display windows surrounds them with a specific aura of museum art where attention usually shifts from the work's essence to the fact of museumification.
We are facing some sort of an exposition backwards, an absurd reverse action. Hiding instead of demonstrating provokes an impulse to reconsider your perception of an artistic gesture, recognizing it your own in a way. Moreover, white paper rolls are like fragments of ancient columns by the archeological remains of which one may not only reconstruct architectural forms, but also embrace a certain way of thinking. The archive which Budnikov offers to “unpack" with your mind is something opposite to the depository of documents. The author vindicates the indivisibility of energy of an artwork whose emergence depends on an unusual adding of right components. It is rather the dark hidden matter that sometimes can emit light. With his gesture, Volodymyr Budnikov stresses one and only possible clearness that is opposed to the unnecessary plurality of interpretations. A strict perception acts as a synonym of responsibility. A viewer cannot say “I see it this way" because the hidden in a work requires a completely different analysis.