Anna Zvyagintseva

Born in 1986 in Dnipro, Ukraine, she lives and works in Kyiv. In 2010, Zvyagintseva graduated from the Department of Painting at the National Academy of Fine Art and Architecture in Kyiv. Since 2014 she has taught contemporary drawing at the School of Visual Culture in Kyiv. The artist captures traces of daily life, encounters, coincidences or autobiographical facts in her sculptures, drawings and film works. Her oeuvre takes the form of an intuitive diary preserving moments, ideas and actions which otherwise would be lost. The artist was awarded the Special Prize and the Public Choice Prize within the Pinchuk Art Prize competition in 2015. She was a finalist of the Pinchuk Art Prize in 2013 and of the MUHI (Young Ukrainian Artists) Prize in 2010. Since 2010, she has been a member of the Hudrada curatorial union; in 2011 she co-founded the -ISTM (Art Workers’ Self-Defense Initiative). Her work has been shown at individual exhibitions at Ya Gallery’s Terrace, Dnipro; art-centre Closer, Kyiv; and Scherbenko Art Center, Kyiv; as well as at a number of group shows including the Contour Biennial 8 in 2017, Kyiv Biennale in 2015, Pavilion of Ukraine at the 56th Venice Biennale, 14th Istanbul Biennial 2015, and at VCRC, Kyiv; Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York; GfZK, Leipzig; Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe; IZOLYATSIA, Donetsk; Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, amongst other venues and events.

Anna Zvyagintseva, Horizontal Glasses [GA], obiect, 2017, photo by Kacper Gorysz

The works of the young Ukrainian artist beneath their light, funny form and often having to do with ordinary objects hide a serious reflection upon political and social reality. The Horizontal Glasses are a slightly surrealist object, referring to an earlier work, Dusty Glasses, where elegant white glasses were soiled to the degree one could not see anything. This time the vision is blurred by a horizontal line dividing glasses. The viewer cannot simply wear them,  but he rather needs to use his imagination to see his vision as if divided into two. This will be his personal horizon and boundary. This simple gesture refers to a personal, individual way we perceive reality and the arbitrariness of our vision.

Anna Zvyagintseva, Periscope for this room (Horizon) [GL], obiect, 2017,  photo by Wojciech Pacewicz

Zvyagintseva uses simple objects so that she could suddenly change the way we see reality with a simple gesture. At the Lublin exhibition she wants to build a cardboard periscope which will be „looking through” the gallery window and will shift the viewer’s attention towards what is happening outside the gallery. On the window she will draw a line which will correspond to the real horizon line. Normally we can shift our horizon view depending on the point of view, but here it will be imposed by the artist. The viewer by looking through the periscope will obtain an essentially “impossible” view. This periscope will diminish and worsen our vision, contrary to the fact it normally augments it. Here, it will paradoxically act to our disadvantage. We associate a periscope with voyeurism, but also spying on the enemy during the war, it has military connotations and is connected with conducting a war, where the slightest move of the enemy has to be controlled. Yet, the „artificial horizon” trick hides our position. Zvyagintseva’s work is about the paradoxes of war machine, militarism, but also ordinary ways of looking at and perceiving things when an ordinary object gains capacities that were not originally designed for it.