Kevin Space is pleased to present Assholes, the first solo exhibition of the Zurich-based artist Sveta Mordovskaya in Austria. This exhibition extends Mordovskaya’s pursuits in confronting codes, concepts and conventions of the everyday through a subjective, yet sociological and next to taxonomical attitude towards material properties, objects and language. Upheaving familiar perspectives that sediment into fragmented and increasingly contradictious realities, Assholes poetically, humorously and critically approaches the individual and society’s treatments of uncomfortable emotions leading to projections and conflicts.
In her practice, Mordovskaya typically employs simple materials, often using straw, draped in different shapes, arrangements, and since recently, tinted in various colors of acrylic paint. The artist is interested in straws' ability to be both opaque and transparent at the same time. Likewise, the range of histories, memories and emotions that the material triggers – relating to class, origin, sexuality, nostalgia, et al – , to her, suffer from fictional identifications and subjective counterfeit that, however, gain plausibility and consistency the more often they are repeated. In Assholes, the nucleus of possible emotive readings is both stimulated and troubled, through an arrangement of lowly hung small mirrors and a hand-sewn pillow as supposedly “feminine” objects reflecting only the body of straw on the one, and the dissolution of any possible narrative deriving from there through the particularly sculptural and painterly dismantling of the latter, on the other hand.
It is an interest in projections and regressions maintained at the intersection of psychological-affective and socio-political structures that runs through Mordovskaya’s practice and the exhibition in particular. Mirrors, too, allow for the preservation of fictions relating to a narcissistic, fantasized omnipotence often resulting from splitting off negative, troublesome feelings and desires and putting them in containers (the Other, an artwork, a puppet, …). Here, the mirror is broken off and re-assembled as a material to draw abstractly, yet at times figuratively, directly onto the wall. It creates a spatial and partial self-experience that is extended, cut off, compromised and never dissolves into a fictive totality. The physicality of experience here offers an embodied, complicated and actively seeing eye that opposes what Donna Haraway has called the “god-trick” as the all-seeing eye of (Western) rationale that considers itself the omniscient and universal observer, historically and socially neutralized as white and male.
The body, in Assholes, is posed as a structured one. The realm of the body, of sexuality, of desire, of fears, of straw and of broken mirrors, in this exhibition is denied a process of sublimation, to exalt out of the body, to transmute into a higher kind of value, a higher kind of art. Mordovskaya summons repressed emotions in an archaic constellation, where simplified identifications and categorizations are left unsettled and the artworks have lost their function as containers for our projections.
Sveta Mordovskaya (*1989) studied with Heimo Zobernig at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and lives and works in Zurich. Solo and duo-exhibitions have been presented at Alienze, Vienna (2021); Weiss Falk, Basel; Cherish, Geneva (both 2020) and Plymouth Rock, Zurich (2017). Her work has been shown in group exhibitions, among others at C L E A R I N G, Brussels (2021); Kunsthaus Glarus; kim? Center for Contemporary Art, Riga (both 2019) and Francesca Pia, Zurich (2018).