Parallel by Ms. Marina Fedorova
Solo exhibition, K35 Gallery, Moscow, Russia, 2015
The real and the imaginary worlds, actual interiors and fictional spaces, a reflection of everyday life and immersion in the subconscious filled with dreams and fears, come together in Parallel, blurring the border between fantasy and reality. Living through a difficult time in her life, dealing with disappointment and searching for lost harmony, Ms. Marina Fedorova creates works dedicated to female suffering. In Loneliness, the depth of a woman’s despair and loneliness is conveyed with an expressiveness unusual for the Artist. The nude body of the model is full of tension, it literally shrinks into itself, and the intersections of shadows cast by the folds in the bed sheet reinforce the overall drama of the painting.
The theme of blood is at the centre of the series, seen as the symbol of suffering, destruction and disappointment in love. Red – the favourite colour in the Artist’s palette – has a special meaning in this project, alluding to its role in human culture since prehistoric times. The famous French historian and colour researcher Michel Pastoureau notes that red has always been endowed with magical properties and has dominated the symbolism of ancient societies for a considerable time. Emphasising its isolated position in the system of human colour perception, Pastoureau draws attention to its close connection to blood and fire: ‘In all societies, in all historical epochs, red was primarily associated with these two elements. Even today, nearly all thesauruses define the adjective ‘red’ as the colour of fire and blood.’
The red colour in the series gradually gains in visual and symbolic importance. In Curtain, red curtains that fill the entire space of the canvas create a sensation of a new day, a new beginning. The atmosphere of danger and anxiety that would appear in On the Sofa or Bound is not yet there. In the latter works, the hands of the woman lying on her back are tied, and thick strokes of red paint in the background are associated with pools of blood. These paintings evoke a strong emotional response, but their subtle aestheticism makes them slightly theatrical, causing them to be perceived primarily as allegorical scenes. The blood theme is further developed in Meat, reaching its pinnacle in three-dimensional objects Meat Grinder and Eat My Heart for Breakfast: here, Ms. Fedorova for the first time resorts to literal physiological treatment of this motif. The huge silicone heart suspended on a metal hook symbolizes the suffering of love.
Abstract experiments appear in the project for the first time as well. In Red, the artist creates a non-figurative composition in which the red colour is once again central, in this case explicitly referring to the element of fire with its all-consuming destructive power and mesmerising beauty. Plexiglas works (She, He) once again demonstrate the Artist’s brilliant graphic mastery: with just a few strokes and lines, she achieves depth and creates mysterious images. All the heroines of the series are shown in interiors, often with unusual framing (Morning, Before, Red Rope), where the face of the model is beyond the canvas frame or hidden. Here, the Artist again turns to international cinema and literature. For example, in Bed, Ms. Fedorova references Wong Kar-wai’s film 2046 by means of composition, colour scheme, and aesthetics. The general mood of the series seems to be inspired by modern literature. Hotels, brief encounters, the solid feel of a coffee cup in hand – all this seems to belong in Haruki Murakami’s books with their sense of phantasmagoria and semi-mystical perception of reality. The inseparability of dreams from reality, the amalgamation of reveries and inescapable suffering determine the overall atmosphere of the series where life and illusion go hand in hand, and only the viewers are able to tell one from the other, finding their own interpretation for this project, so full of mystery and inherent passion.
Anastasia Karlova, Ph.D.
Curator of the Department of Contemporary Art, State Russian Museum,