UP Gallery is proud to present Russia: Danila Tkachenko’s solo exhibition. Ever since 2017 his first exhibition with the gallery, Tkachenko has been actively creating different projects, accumulating nine new series ever since Restricted Areas and Lost Horizon. His projects are research-based led and have strong documentary roots, yet throughout these four years it has branched out to new methods of interpretation and presentation. In this exhibition, the gallery has selected four important series amongst his new works to share with our audiences.
Lands that no longer serve a purpose over-populate modern Russia and outline the appearance of the country today. In Motherland (2016-2017), fire lights up and the past perishes before the camera, social structures and utopia ideologies of the soviet era seem to fade altogether. Tkachenko believes this action is a commemoration of the past and its effect on the present. On the opposite side of the gallery space is the series Acid (2019). Air pollution, viruses and even radiation are undetected by the eye but remains as threats to the human race. As Tkachenko observes, in mass culture, acidic colours are often adopted to represent these threats to symbolize their dangers, yet these colours have no direct connection to their physical appearance. The psychological defence when it comes in contact with the unknown or hazards is often repression and denial. A sense of apocalypse is formed under a fantasy pictured by human beings. By making the fictional representation clash with actual pollution, Tkachenko uses projectors with a green filter to expose and identify places contaminated by radiation. He seeks to bring attention to real-world problems from imaginary planes.
For viewers who are familiar with Tkachenko’s previous works, the two latest series conceived in 2021 Shoal and Drowned adopt a more familiar colour palette. Entranced with themes of loss of utopian regime and failed future, both series take place on the Aral Sea. The Aral Sea was preliminarily the fourth-largest sea in the world, shrinking 90% it has been coined by some as the “nowhere land”. With this geographical landscape as a setting and its connotations, Tkachenko situates post-socialist structures onto this silvery pool of water. To incorporate these Soviet modernism structures the artist travelled to countries of the former socialist bloc. Cutting out separate fragments of these images he has filmed, Tkachenko installs them on the shoals of the Aral Sea. For Tkachenko these ghosts which signify the past do not exist in our time but instead is inhabit space that continues to exist and imbue with a new life.