Past Exhibitions > Arina Medvedeva, DEVOLUTION

1.(noun) A change to a lower or inferior state or level.
2.(noun) The transference of a power or right from one body to another.

Is it possible to go back to a place that no longer exists? In this series of paintings and linocuts, I create imaginary representations of places from my past that I am painfully losing connection with. It is a constant push and pull between separation from toxic, devastated environments and longing for the possibility of returning to normal. This dichotomy translates into two kinds of imagery: stylized, even romanticized, versions of ruined homes with abstract figures interacting with them, and more realistic depictions of destruction and abandonment. The medium I chose embodies the deterioration of the subject matter. I create the pieces by gradually destroying the linoleum block I am printing with, and the prints themselves have a distorted, fuzzy quality due to printing defects on different surfaces.

This work is closely tied to my home country. I left Russia in 2020: Back then, it was a completely different state. Far from perfect, yes, but not nearly as savage and wretched as it has become over the past two years. Having to silently witness this tragic degradation created a conflict in me that I cannot resolve. I can, however, express it visually through the cruelly sharp silhouettes and barely distinguishable “ghosts'' of buildings I grew up amongst, and through the disturbing reds and nostalgic blues on the translucent Japanese or thick Italian paper. Influenced by Gordon Matta Clark’s “anarchitecture” and Robert Smithson’s “Partially Buried Woodshed,” this series also draws inspiration from contemporary Russian and Ukrainian photographers whose works served as a reference for some of my prints.

Arina Medvedeva