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Evgeny Dedov

02 March — 10 April 2021
H8 Triangle Gallery

Evgeny Dedov


Triangle Gallery presents a new solo exhibition by Evgeny Dedov ester. 

The works of Evgeny Dedov (born 1987, lives and works in Vienna) presented at the exhibition demonstrate a completely new view of the artist on the surrounding world, or rather not even a view, but an attempt of communication and interaction with reality. They express a non-verbal dialogue with reality, with the world of things and everyday details, through which subtle flashes of light shine through, awakening a host of ephemeral memories that are not entirely clear. Hence the name of the entire series of these works, suggested by the artist himself - esther. After all, this can be interpreted both as a beautiful feminine name, derived fr om the name of the Akkadian goddess of fertility and carnal love, Ishtar, and as a chemical definition of esters.

Dedov's paintings have repeatedly been compared with the paintings of the Symbolists, and it is difficult to avoid such a comparison in this series as well, especially since the artist himself leaves us some hints emphasizing this connection. The small groups of works under the general titles of 1799, Fedotov or Ointment are very close in spirit to the melancholic and meditative paintings of Peuve de Chavannes. Not only the mood, but also the coloring and the very painterly manner, when oil paints, diluted to the limit, are likened to pastels, coincide. Dedov himself defines this blurring and deliberate thinning of the paint layer as an attempt to imitate an inkjet printer's print on a sheet of paper. The deliberate devaluation of the pictorial language and its belittling down to the utilitarian technicized process of printing is the principle behind these works, emphasizing the contrast between the sublime and the mundane. In this lies another deep meaning of both Puvi de Chavannes, who passes off painting as pastel, and Grandfathers, who likens painting to inkjet printing, both seeking a way to express their yearning for a golden age of humanity. In this case, the paintings become universal formulas that act on us, including the hidden mechanisms of our memory. Looking at them, the viewer unwittingly begins to recall images he did not know before, or rather, lost from consciousness. The echoes of the implicit past embedded in these works echo, in a sense, the cave myth of Plato's treatise The State, which tells us that man is like a chained prisoner placed in a cave, from whom true objects are hidden and he can only discern their shadows. It is a harsh judgment, marking the limits of our knowledge, telling us the impossibility of comprehending true reality. But no one can deny us the right to search for the source of eternal knowledge.

The artist is like an explorer, if the world is closed to him in its entirety, he begins to study the fragments he sees. By grasping and isolating these fragments from the world around him, he transfers them to the surface of the canvas, clearly articulating the relationship between the figure and the background, while endowing them with new meanings. In this way, what at first glance seemed ordinary and mundane is suddenly transformed. In this case, fragmentation does not mean the crude splitting of the whole, but the careful and careful removal with the preservation of the connection with the whole. It is in this capacity that the fragment, as an artistic form, was used by the creators of the Romantic era.

The ambiguous title "1799" of a small group of works by Yevgeny Dedov hides a specific date associated with finding the famous Rosetta Stone. This unique archaeological artifact helped decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. It is in this allegorical meaning - decoders - that Dedov's canvases act. Through them, the artist seeks to reveal the non-linear relationship between our everyday life and art. The main motif of this series is the image of a piece of cloth, which he uses to wipe his brushes. The artist deliberately disavows the object of the image, and instead of the classic drapery, he presents a simple rag with a typical, easily recognizable Ikea ornament, reminiscent of chain links. In this case, the chain is presented as an allegory of those fetters into which we are chained by the modern economic system, designed for ceaseless consumption, one chain link clinging to another and so on to infinity. At the same time, in the same ornament we can easily read the idea of a chain reaction - the construction of associative sequences that help us better understand something new, not yet known, but remembered by our minds.

In choosing a rag as the main character of his paintings, the artist shows us a sample of subtle irony. What is the essence of a rag for wiping brushes? It is an object without which not a single painter can do without and is an indispensable inhabitant of the studio, constantly moving around its space following the artist. It is an object that is constantly lost and constantly looked for, it is always in sight. It is that mundane fragment of reality on which the eye usually does not linger. And only stopped, fixed a moment, helps to appreciate it anew. Trusting his aesthetic intuition, Dedov transfers it to the category of the sublime. The fabric is suddenly exalted to unattainable heights, and its ornamentation acquires an additional semantic meaning.

Another group of works, united by the conventional title "Fedotov". By its example, we are entitled to point to another meaning of the word ether, associated with the direct transmission of reality through various media. This is not just the transmission of information, but the attempt to transfer a particular situation "here and now" in real time to another place, i.e., replicating a fragment of reality. The appearance of the name of the mid-nineteenth-century painter in the title of these works is not at all accidental. He is one of the few Russian masters who, in his close study of reality and visual descriptions of everyday details, came close to the Little Dutch. By immersing himself in the material world, Fedotov revealed in it the depths of the tragedy of human existence. He succeeded in translating the genre of everyday life into the genre of being. Dedov, as a kind of disciple of Fedotov, continues this line. The eye and simple worldly observation have been replaced by new technologies. It is easier for a contemporary artist to stop time, to fix it for further manipulation in his creative laboratory. He has at his disposal not only an ordinary camera, but also a telephone, another obligatory companion of every modern man. With their help, the artist collects the necessary material, which he later transfers to the canvas.

The name of the whole cycle ester refers to the chemical designation of esters. They are volatile colorless liquids with a slight, barely detectable fruity aroma. They are most often used in household chemistry as solvents and flavorings. Both of these properties also apply in the context of reflections on the nature of memory. Esther is a metaphor for creativity, which both thins and dissolves the boundaries between the real world and art and, on the other hand, fills the vacuum of our world with magical scents that remotely remind us of something past and long forgotten.

Sergey Fofanov