When Fear Becomes a Friend

When Fear Becomes a Friend

The Naked Room gallery presents the first for a very long time personal show of Sasha Kurmaz in Kyiv.

“Vain youth” is a series of photos, which were in process during 2009–2019 years, was a kind of chaotic photo diary about the life of artist’s fellows, peers, different subcultural practices, and just about the ways of being together. 

Times have changed, everyone has grown up, “it stopped being as funny and sexy as it was''. The daily agenda is getting more and more gloomy both in the world, in the country and in private lives likewise. And the artistic practice hasn’t become an exception. 

One way or another, Sasha Kurmaz hasn’t changed the focus of his artistic view –– acting in a tricksy manner, which is able to reshape the usual understanding of things, to undermine the settled expectations from art and its social matter (If we pretend the existence of such at all). The fulcrum of Sasha Kurmaz’s practice stays to be permanent. It’s the intellectual capacity and true eagerness to work with the difficult, ambiguous, and sometimes even painful themes in a tricksy, erotic, and daring way. 

The project “When Fear Becomes a Friend” includes recent Sasha Kurmaz’s works, which were created in the year 2020. The series of screen printing images were made following the pictures from forensics books, which are used by doctors and criminalists for investigations of injury nature. The screen printing technique has the feature to aestheticize any image and to hone acute angles. However, it works in the opposite way with the life-like images of mutilated bodies. Being formalized and on display as posters, they frighten even more. 

Blunt objects, made of bronze and put inside window cases, are another part of the exhibition. The unit of brutality and ideal geometric shape bewilders the meaning of their purpose. Are they sculptures or weapons itself? Is it appropriate to regard the potential objects for violence to abstract experiments of the beginning of the 20th-century beginning? 

The exposition is circled by a series of photos. Photography is the permanent and almost daily Sasha Kurmaz’s practice, being his method to fix the constantly moving visual membrane of everyday life. The pictures, at first sight, aren’t combined with each other and are suspended from the imagery given in other works. But exactly the silent presence keeps from the linear interpretation of the project. 

The narrative line of Sasha Kurmaz’s project seems to be obvious –– it’s all about the feelings of fear and terror, which are evoked by information flow, full of the news about real and symbolic violence. Including physical violence against a person during the coronavirus outbreak and related social restrictions. Mental violence against a person with the help of real and fake news. A hybrid form of violence against media and capital human, which is becoming more and more aggressive. But the project is anything but the straight social message or time diagnosis. Firstly, it is a very personal admission of vulnerability. Such conditions can’t be considered and eliminated easily with the artists’ expressions. Though, this exhibition has therapeutic prospects, the invitation to overcome the fear, to accept and get closer with it. Because it seems that this feeling is going to stay with us for a long time.