POBEDA Gallery is proud to present new series of Julia Kissina “Shadows cast people”. The project was shown at Paris Photo, VOLTA6 and will be a part of Pobeda Gallery presentation at ART-MOSCOW art fair.
Julia Kissina’s new photographic series Shadows Cast People is built on a single device: at one and the same time, namely on a sunny afternoon at five or six p.m., from one and the same point, usually a balcony, a street scene is photographed. Sometimes it is a random passer-by and sometimes crowds of people that have gathered for a celebration. Some of the pictures produce slight vertigo in the beholder, for they are explicitly reversed. But this formal simplicity indeed makes sense: while looking at the series, you become dependent on this new world, the black protagonists of which – massive, eccentric, overtly sinister at times – have completely done away with their corporeal descent. To think of it, the fatal pair “man and his shadow” is not simply inverted. There is something more to it. It is the main term “man” that disappears from this identification with its incontestable accent on the human being. The shadow loses its basis, its privileged source. And a real street shadow theater commences.
The spectral life of a person’s doubles turns out to be surprisingly dense, expressive and organized. The very appearance of shadows assumes various forms – sometimes an unexpected monumentality, which the flattened prototype is lacking, sometimes eccentricity ranging from gargouilles to the participants of an improvised circus show, sometimes the mechanism of everyday activities laid bare before the viewer. It is true that the series’ effect is revelatory. The viewer seems to occupy two levels simultaneously. First of all, he or she is allowed to follow the development of a full-fledged plot: in one of the images someone has raised his dagger or blade (the magical transformation of a simple umbrella or cane), in another an extremely long arm is stretched out (a passer-by is engaged in handing out leaflets), in a third we see a pair of arms resembling branches, and of course they are raised with a reason… Centaurs and guardsmen appear on the stage, at some point enter executioner and unidentified character in livery. Don’t lose your attention! But this theater reminiscent of optical toys and the time anterior to cinema is not enchanting by itself. Having discarded man, having literally cast him aside, it still remains supplementary to the source that it suppressed. For the theater is born in the very heart of the everyday, and its backdrop, if one is to slightly readjust one’s vision, is the ordinary flagstone urban sidewalk. The shadow theater that has secretly taken shelter in the rays of the afternoon sun tells the phantasmagoria of banality itself. It is the invisible side of our existence that no one cancelled, to be sure. In order that this dimension, this distance from the self be discovered at the site of greatest intimacy, it is necessary to equip oneself with one of those devices that grasp but also mediate everyday experience. The camera helps Julia Kissina to reveal the subtlest mechanism – that of the spectral in the everyday.