The new project by Ekaterina Panikanova has been determined by the urgency to redesign the boundaries of her artistic exploration: the creation of an immersive – almost organic – environment, though the recourse of new media, which the artist has never explored before. The roots of this new approach are to be traced back to the years lived in the countryside near Rome, with the artist spending a lot of time in contact with nature.
The exhibition is a hand-in-hand journey; Ekaterina Panikanova lets us enter into her imagery where feelings, short-lived everyday remembrances, turn into meaningful pages accompanying her to the building of a personal universe.
The aesthetic of the fragment and the Panic sense triggered by the perception of belonging to something enormously larger span the entire exhibition. The fragment does not subtract, while instead adding meaning and questioning the scale of value in the experiences being made.
The exhibition opens with a cameo-image: a couple of small balloons floating lazily in the water of a swimming pool become a planetary movement. All depends on our posture, on the way we cast our eyes on things. When moving to the second room, a morning beckons us with the wind rustling through the eucalyptus leaves, the sound and waving of tree tops, all inducing a sort of hypnosis where images and objects of her life are grafted and unfurled on parchment. The work develops along this double level of overlapping: the rhythm of nature, like a mantra, and the rhythm of the mind rearranging the fragments of one’s own experiences in a visionary weaving. A contemplation opening wide the doors to an entire world.
In the large installation in the third room, her childhood’s stories are explored with new meanings. The palaces of glasses, made by the artist’s grandfather in the Russian province, resembling brittle skeletons of crystals, the laces, born out of humble women’s hands, are reproduced by the artist in white clay or white porcelain, the books full of stories and scientific theories, either stacked or scattered on the floor, are regenerated by her lively images drawn from natural elements… all these objects and artifacts become trees harbouring nests, or resembling mushrooms and mould stains laying on the large earth carpet of an imaginary garden. Nests, harbingers of life, moulds as the paradigm of decay: all is harmonious in the life cycle because in nature the end of life is the transformation into another life.
New scenarios and meanings open up also towards the future.
Dwelling in this garden generates a feeling of wellbeing and prods the artist to reconsider the meaning of what is happening and will happen, similarly to the upward rush in a girl’s play on a swing: a pleasantly reckless and positive rush towards the unknown.
The vibrating and intense contact with nature which Ekaterina Panikanova displays with diverse formal keys of interpretation, conveys her disposition towards her reconciling with herself and what surrounds her; to feel alive, because in this garden of hers nature and culture blend together perfectly.
Everything is, all changes. Life is set as energy in movement, with its unexpected twists which may be embraced and accepted because we are also energy in movement.
Nature, harsh and wise, is a therapy. Knowing how to listen to it, immersing in it with all our senses, make us feel that we are a part of the whole. Putting the lived experiences and the actions still to be taken in the right place. It would assuage the fear of death, the fruit of a linear interpretation of life. It embraces the possibility of existing in transformation.
The mind is our intimate garden that must be nurtured.
Text by Marina Dacci