Ms. Marina Fedorova’s picturesque space utopia addresses the theme of female beauty as seen through the prism of science fiction films, modern fashion, web glamour and digital imagery. In this series, space is viewed as an abstract living and habitable domain. Beautiful women soar in zero gravity with no need for spacesuits, enjoying free flight (In Space, Halo, Dreaming). Experiments with non-figurative painting become the main feature of the series: after all, the very theme of this project provides a rich field for delving into abstraction.
In At a Hotel and Dreaming, infinite outer space, otherworldly oceans and nebulae are painted using a wide colour palette dominated by blue, black, and purple. Red is the colour of heroines who conquer space without overcoming, by dissolving in it and becoming one with it instead. Their triumph is not associated with brutal strength but rather with feminine grace, flexibility, softness, and tenderness.
Some works do not depict the Universe as such, but correlate with the mood of the series by association. Modern architecture, fashion and household items allude to the space dream in Resort, Fetching Milk, and Tower. In Still Life, a still life comprising trendy minimalist tableware and a recognizable phone model from the mid-2010s is painted against the backdrop of a spacecraft porthole. As in Tarkovsky’s film Solaris, nature becomes an object of nostalgia here full of special value (Grass).
The Artist has long been attracted to the aesthetics of empty spaces. Even in her early series from the 2000s, sections of the canvas left deliberately blank played an important role in communicating the artistic vision, while in recent years, the use of emptiness as a technique or plot has become one of Ms. Fedorova’s trademark creative approaches (as demonstrated in Parallel, British Accent, and East of the Sun).
Another pronounced theme is that of childhood — a contemplation on the future generation for whom sophisticated gadgets and cutting-edge technology are already an integral part of life. The boy and girl in Son and Daughter (modelled on the Artist’s own children) are shown with their backs to the viewer. The boy looks at the flaming planet in front of him, but it is unclear if it is seen on the screen or through a porthole. The girl is immersed in the contemplation of her own shadow on the wall. This combination of the perceived and objective realities in the consciousness of the modern man continues to blur boundaries, and it is this mixture of the imaginary and the real that becomes the recurring theme of the series.
Referencing Tarkovsky’s cinematic creations (Solaris), contemporary design and architecture (Spiral Staircase) and her own dreams of outer space, Ms. Fedorova creates a large-scale project, asserting the role of the artist in transforming reality, raising questions about the universe and constantly searching for the eternal, and therefore currently relevant, ideal of beauty.
Curator of the Department of Contemporary Art, State Russian Museum,