19.06 - 05.07.2015
The picture returned in the experience of synthetic perception as a construction of an encounter with the viewer. In the Manifestation project, he pushed the pigment against the unmanifested, on which this pigment clung. Pictures of a mixed nature were obtained - on the border of the index, since a trace appeared in them, as in a photograph, and mimetic, since the pigment opened a realistic picture, although the basis remained visible, and the result was more like graphics. Well, the very technique of creating an image - miraculous at first glance, as in photography - added questions. He consistently analyzes different aspects of the picture, explores the fetishes of aesthetic autonomy. Now he is occupied with light, painted and real, their mixture and the potential of this mixture - expressive and political.
The last concentrated gesture of asserting aesthetic autonomy in history is post-painterly abstraction. It is recalled in connection with A Glare in the Sun by Barnett Newman's lightning paintings, which were written in the meaning of the Jewish mysticism of light, creation, and the discovery of reality. A few years before Newman, Heidegger at his seminars talked about Heraclitus' lightning that shepherds things and brings the world into being, which Newman thinks about by means of painting.
Potapov shows a modern inversion of this idea. His paintings exist as fragments of reality brought to being by electric light, but the illusory reality of the painting is torn apart by the flash of a cracked wooden base, which reality itself is. The picture, broken by the abstraction of the material, the trauma of the surface, sounds like pure horror, devoid of a name - just as ordinary things sometimes seem unbearably terrible in a dream.
Volodin, the inversion of the discoveries of abstract expressionism is more political than formal - this is how, politically, we think about the nature of reality, in which everything visible is ideologically reflected in the media and hides reality, and what we do not see is the real without a name, until language that is always forgotten. We forget to remember the shepherd of existence.
Today, light reveals not the surface, but the essence of things. The voice of the surface is trauma or packaging. In art history, as in reality, trauma precedes packaging: first non-figurative expression, then pop art, first Pollock kills himself against a tree, and then Warhol and Lichtenstein ask everyone to relax.
Vladimir Potapov shows what happens when we tear off the packaging - the wound mixes with light, leaving no names and forms. Thus reality returns, demanding a new language and a choice between medial truth and illusionistic lies. Since the nineties, with the analyzes of Baudrillard and Mitchell, we know what to hide is just as much in the nature of the media as it is to present that any representation hides as much as it shows. Today the question of painting is the question of the nature of art in a situation where we are all aware of the ways in which we are deceived. Painting functions in a mode of imitation of itself and something else, as a representation of other visual modes. Medial truth has become too much like pictorial deception. We live in an ambiguous time of exchanges of meanings - between light and shadow, cause and effect, visibility and blindness, enlightenment and ideology. Art opens up vast expanses of culture where the old system of meanings is invalid. The exposure of the medial pillars of painting reveals reality and turns the hidden into the visible. Art restores our presence in reality, but today reality is a form of hallucinosis, and the question of painting is the question of its relation to the observer. The contemporary picture is more concerned with the politics of the gaze than with the analysis of its own autonomy. She instrumentalizes the pictorial illusion she creates in order to make transparent the situation of producing a political illusion.
The history of painting is the history of the relationship of consciousness with light. Two centuries before its end, Rome sacralizes the light in the solar cult of Sol Invictus, preparing the European mind for Christian monotheism and authoritarian power. In the Middle Ages, light in painting became a force that transformed the visible reality and revealed the invisible, that is, it blinded, canceled vision for the sake of symbolic reasoning. In the Renaissance, light opens perspective and representative spaces of power, ecclesiastical and secular. The great French Revolution democratizes light and whimsically combines it with death, turning the lanterns, introduced by the police to fight crime, into gallows, a sign of the end of the regime. The lantern shone through the bodies and revealed the truth, purifying and legitimizing the revolutionary terror. The release of Truth by Kronos is another allegory of that time. Sometimes these images imitated the iconography of Christ descending into hell, but more often Kronos was replaced by Descartes, and among the British by Newton. Truth carried a mirror as a source of light, a kind of lantern.
The Glare in the Sun series by Vladimir Potapov embeds light sources in political contexts, in the tradition of correlating light and politics. The political in this project exists on two levels. Private light refers to apartments, kitchens, non-conformism, evening classes by the light of a table lamp. At the public level, light is representative, it communicates the power and wealth of power, marks the center and subjugates social spaces.
In addition, the imperial light of incandescent lamps, reminiscent of the USSR, and the modern light of LED and halogen lamps, economical and environmentally friendly, introduce another layer of distinction.
The name of the project clarifies Leonard's "The sun sees no shadow" and points to the non-exclusivity of any source of light, any autocratic regime. A glare in the sun (as, indeed, a shadow on it) calls into question the evidence of the visible, that is, it undermines the visual languages of power and dominant representations aimed at the production and distribution of images as a mixture of reality and illusion, subjugating our consciousness, in which this reality only exists.
Potapov combines the politicization of visuality with the problem of the dependence of light. Painting rests on the opacity of the canvas. Because of it, the picture does not have its own light and is forced to construct an internal light regime and shadows. The question of the lack of independence of light in the picture has been troubling artists since the second half of the 19th century. Manet reduced shadows in portraits to indicate the light illuminating the picture from the outside, and not from the inside.
With Volodya Potapov, the woody materiality of the base is built into the dense fabric of illusion - masterfully painted light. It is as if the screen or paper that carries this text would add a couple of phrases from itself. Breaking the structure of the inner light itself brings light, the intrusion of a hole or a picture base into a simulated light space itself turns out to be luminiferous. The painting is needed only as an attempt to overcome one's medium. The destruction of the illusion reveals the essence: the image is more important than what it says - like a language is more important than what it stands for. The viewer needs an effort to separate one light from another, the light of the picture from the light of the base, especially when the image itself makes this difficult.
Vladimir Potapov is interested in the mixed nature of the image - the intersection of cultural contexts, social and hallucinatory, light spaces, exchanges between the real and the imaginary, art and document. He trusts the work's ability to find a form and a medium for itself, depending on how it defines itself, on its connection with the image. In the Transparent Relations project, he offered the viewer to correlate his movement with the disintegrating image.