UP Gallery is pleased to present Lost Horizon & Restricted Areas, a solo exhibition by Russian documentary photographer Danila Tkachenko. This is his ever first solo exhibition in Asia and also in UP Gallery which incorporates particular works from both series created during 2012 ~ 2016. The juxtaposition in the exhibition is to complete the artist’s view of dystopia and utopia, contrast the choice of white and black and bring together eleven sites and four “monuments” which are revealed and re-envisioned.
a project conceived through the story known to Danila from his grandmother. In 1957 a nuclear-waste tank exploded contaminating the surrounding villages and one being where his grandparents lived: Ozyorsk. The explosion which was kept secret by the Soviets created areas that were restricted to the public. To document these areas was inspired by the concept that: the drive for constant technological progression and the urgent need for something that was better, faster, and stronger appears to propel human beings by nature. These elements when incorporated as the ideal of governments or the basis of production result in countless ruins, buildings, wreckage, and means of transportation seen in his works. The aftermath in which Tkachenko is interested seeks to document what is left of a promised future. The idealism of the possibility of acceleration today are vanished on maps but instead left under the flakes of snow creating a faded promise, a dystopia.
responding to Restricted Areas is a series of the promised Utopia. Monuments and architectures are confined in the black square, more specifically Kazimir Malevich’s Black square. The radical rejection of the sublime and the constructivism movement in 1917 was a response to the change of political status of the Soviet Union. Technology and Science were the core vision and fair and prosperous was the promise. Malevich’s the originator of the avant-garde Suprematist movement with his artistic approach aligned with the concepts of the Soviet Union and is etched in both history and art history. Tkanchenko photographs the ideal future that was sought after through a documentary process and frames the themes in a pitch-black square background consolidating the illusion. He views the works as a utopian expression and is brought to meaning by time. U-topos by definition is the absent place, place of nowhere and the presence of the USSR is a utopia in a strict sense.
The commentary of the Soviet Union’s history and artistic movement is merely a strand in Tkanchenko’s work. It begins with using the camera to document and is akin to archeology. Through research and pinpointing down the locations and finally presenting the aftermath, the yearning of Utopia appears consistent throughout history and is still evident in the present. People as Tkanchenko believes search immensely for a utopia, an ideal, or a vision. Soviet Union’s experience, a failed one reminds humanity not to make the same mistakes. In the exhibition merging of the two series creates a vigorous vision of both the dystopia and utopia letting the viewers ponder not only on the history and progression which humans strive but also the meaning and result of our actions.