Solo show at Syntax Gallery
Igor Ponosov began assembling the materials that are now on display as the exhibition “Imagined Journey” five years ago, when the borders between countries were still relatively less notable. Ticket stubs with names of far-off cities and maps of unfamiliar urban blocks remind us of the times when the world was still striving for permeability and openness, and we enjoyed all the opportunities to explore it.
This series of imagined journeys was expanded considerably during the pandemic as free movement became unavailable indefinitely: in lockdown, there was no way to travel other than in the imagination. In this new phase, the series takes on a new meaning as a reflection of the world that no longer wishes to be global, a world where the prevailing connections and models of interaction are crumbling.
Deprived of his customary practices, i.e., psychogeography and exploration of urban space, the artist constructs images of non-existent cities from fragments of the paths he had once walked. These geographical recollections are synthesized into new landscapes, where urban blocks alternate with forests and fields, road junctions are cut off abruptly or flow into the ocean, the Moscow River encircles Freiburg, and the Moscow Ring Road arrives at Schwarzwald, a large forested mountain range in south-west Germany.
All such coincidences and discrepancies are random, which is exactly the source of their curiosity — in juxtaposition of the fragments the author’s hand is guided first and foremost by their visual parameters. Sometimes, this intuitive composition of puzzle pieces turns into a figurative representation, with radial forest openings of Sokolniki Park combining into lush canopies and a geometric black hole emerging amid the maps solely due to its visual appeal.
Already established in Igor Ponosov’s work with canvas banners and facade coverings, in this case the technique of cutting through or dissecting of space serves to appropriate space or newly create it — cutting and pasting the fragments of streets and cities, the artist attempts to maintain the familiar boundaries of the world as he knows it, and to maintain the positive memories of street and city names.
White paper, black cardboard, tourist maps, glue, plaster figure.
Thanks to Roman Konovalov for pictures and to Daria Kryl for the video.
More information about the project at the Syntax Gallery website: en.syntaxgallery.com/journey