Kyiv. Ya Gallery Art Center

Baroque supper

Olena Blank

23.12.2015 – 06.02.2016

Olena Blank

Olena Blank's new project invites us to attend the Baroque supper, where pumpkins, squashes and cabbages are served as ceramic obelisks, pylons and stalagmites. Thus offering the viewer an experience of “pure esthetics".

Exhibition Kyiv Ya Gallery Art Center

4 years after the "The Logs" exhibition, Olena Blank's new project, invites the viewer to the supper where pumpkins, squashes and cabbages in a form of obelisks, pylons and stalagmites, are prepared at one thousand degrees. Supper is generally and expectedevent.And in this case, following the artist, the choice of her new work object could be named as "expected". From the elements of homely home: plates, wine glasses and pillows, to bricks and logs, as materials of life, the ceramics finally receive some air. Blank creates harvest.

In the field of art pumpkins and squashes are trying to become "significant" and "readable" symbols, just like still-life harvests tent to symbolize all human harvest of inevitability, aspiration and desire. Whatever generous the table might be (Blank herself recollects the feast from the Peter Greenaway movie "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover"), each separate vegetable wants to reveal something about ourselves. But so far, as in her previous projects, Blank offers us something new, an experience of "pure aesthetics". She offers us such presence where the object attracts and has an impact on us all by itself, regardless of any conceptual undertones. Indeed, a lot of ideas can be obscured in a pumpkin from monkey`s traps and birds cages to the splendor of primitive Venus forms, the goddess of fertility. On contrast, the form of an artwork visually resembles autumn pumpkins on the market stall. But this time the artist describes her own mood of project as “ironic, splendid, absurd and gastronomical", and the project itself is made of "senseless vegetables" into "senseless sculptures" in baroque style.

Basic difference between culture of meaning and culture of presence could be explained within contrast, offered by Boris Vipper: “The Italian likes "The Last Supper", "The Wedding at Cana", "Feast in the House of Simon the Pharisee", because there is satisfying thirst, serving and creating a miracle. Fleming prefers fairs and markets, where nothing is happening, where things and life are enjoyed, where anyone could find happiness, smiles and dances"*. According to the pure aesthetic, walking around the market is the presence instead of explanation. However the act of enjoying the complicated (naturally baroque) form, far from the ideal, doesn't deny but carries the presence to the level of accomplishment, making a specific creation – vegetables which couldn't be eaten, just like before there were logs which couldn't have been burnt.

Boris Filonenko

* Vipper B. The problem and development of still life. – SPB.: «Azbuka-klassika», 2005. – p. 330


Born 1963 in Birsk, Russia. Lives and works in Kyiv since 1980.

In 1986 graduated from Kyiv Institute of Esthetics and Design, from 1984 to 1986 studied at Yulia Ukader's sculpture studio.

Since 1989 he is a member of "Honchary (Potters)" creative union, based in Kyiv.

Olena Blank's works are in private collections in Europe, Russia and the United States.

"I am scared of unknown places and foreign countries. I am used to my apartment, my cats, this sky and this land. I want to live here and do what I am doing here. It's good for me

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