Featured Presenter: Asya Reznikov

On January 11th, Asya Reznikov presented at LISA at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art.  The first thing I have to say about Asya’s work is that still images simply do not do it justice.  So you may want to start by checking out the video clips on Asya’s website.

Asya showed us several travel-related pieces of her video work.  Her work tends to be conceptual rather than driven by the medium – so she explores concepts in whatever medium she chooses, including performance, sculpture, drawing, painting, video, and more.  The pieces she showed us examined a life of traveling, expatriation, and, I felt, a certain loneliness or sense of homelessness one might get as an always-traveling citizen of the world.

Circadian Rhythm, a corner piece (with a hanging framed screen on either side of a corner where two walls meet), shows her placing clothing items in a suitcase on one side while taking them out on the other, two simultaneous videos she choreographed carefully by counting off the timing between movements.

Another piece, Virgin Suitcase, shows a spinning world with a constantly changing cityscape in the background, carefully compiled from years of traveling and taking 360-degree snapshots from a particular vantage point.  In the video, Asya is superimposed on the whirling background, dressing and undressing, and becoming more and more transparent with each piece of clothing removed, invoking a stirring image of disappearing as one sheds one’s familiar possessions when landing in a foreign place.  To make the piece, Asya’s partner Mike, who helps with much of the engineering for her work, created a turntable for her to stand on while he filmed her against a green screen.  This limited edition piece sold out of all editions the first time she showed it.

Asya has another piece where she projects a video image of clothing and toiletries into an empty suitcase, using the suitcase as the projection screen.  The eerie feeling of seeing the plaid bottom of the suitcase through the transparent clothes continues the feeling of displacement I associated with some of her other work.  She also showed us Matroshka, (shown above), a video piece named after the Russian stacking dolls, where she opens a large suitcase and takes out a smaller one, with traditional Russian folk music playing on the accordion in the background.  Within that suitcase is a smaller one, and a yet smaller one…after several suitcases, a tiny suitcase reveals to contain inside… a video of Asya, unpacking the suitcases!  The sense of infinite unpacking she creates with this piece seems like not only a metaphor for traveling but also, in a way, for life.

Asya is represented by the Nancy Hoffman Gallery and has an upcoming show April 15th and through May 29th. The opening is April 15th, 6-8. Location: 520 West 27th Street in New York City.