Olya Kroytor's new works are a testament to the fundamental significance that context holds for contemporary art. At first glance, the form factor in the new project does not appear to have changed: works made of cubes, minimalist paintings with elements of collage, a new installation room. Kroytor has always focused her non-performative artistic practices around the dichotomy of creation and disintegration. In this new project, however, the artist manifests disintegration through surfeit: the subject itself dissolves, getting lost in layers and growths. The works come back together with transformations that are barely noticeable at first glance, to demonstrate a tectonic shift in reality, as experienced by this shrinking, translucent subject representing both the artist and the viewer.
Although the word 'reality' may not be entirely correct – Kroytor's new works delicately but persistently reveal the fact that it constantly eludes us, and what we call 'reality' is merely a random selection or an intentionally constructed puzzle made up of pieces plucked from the information flow that is increasingly drowning us. Thus, works made of cubes, which were previously seen as a synthesis of the avant-garde tradition of counter-reliefs or Prouns and elements of personal childhood impressions, now become the embodiment of unintelligible speech disintegrating right before our eyes, in which even Latin proverbs go haywire.
On closer inspection, the painted works turn out to be a replica of reality, unconsciously created by the artist before encountering the real prototype, devoid of the constructivist pathos of form-making, devoid of the promise of a new life order. Instead of the Burnt Room, we find ourselves in a space where our everyday life becomes indistinguishable from the horrors of news headlines. These two matters intertwine, creating an inseparable connection – there is no more openly articulated horror, no more manifested trauma; the most banal humdrum imperceptibly oozes this horror.
Today, reality surpasses any of our notions about it; it assaults us from every corner, oozes from every object. Perhaps this process has been ongoing since the time of the coronavirus pandemic, which marked the beginning of the chronicle of the improbable. The baroque extravagance of what is happening crashes down on us every which way, paralysing and demoralising. On the one hand, Kroytor diagnoses this condition, and on the other hand, non-authoritatively, uncertainly, tentatively but sensitively offers different survival strategies in the face of the informational tsunami we are experiencing – from escapist detachment to quiet, barely noticeable words of support found in newspapers dating back to half a century ago.
Because amidst this information apocalypse, we must answer the main question: is there any space left today for imagination and the imaginary? For if not, then how can we transform the world after the calamity? Or will Kroytor's works become artefacts of a civilisation that will only leave behind newspaper headlines, with people's lives and stories lost forever?