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Video by: Rocio Chacon

Katia Kesic. When Personal Becomes Vernacular: Mythology of Everyday

Marina Shtager, Denis Maksimov

Overview

Viewing by appointment.

Ancient Greek pottery is an indispensable source of the information about religious beliefs, cultural memory and everyday life of the fascinating culture which influenced the world in an outstanding way. The clay was used as a canvas and a paper at the same time, blending the language of artistic and narrative expression. Katia Kesic (b. 1986) practice unites the mediums of conversation about the personal experience of the complex world and relations within it. Her ceramic sculptures are the reflections on the amalgamation of the events of the life of contemporary ambitious and creative woman. She processes the intercultural experience of the surrounding her urban environment, challenges of migration, shifting political identity; and weaves it in ceramics as a contemporary female Homer. Despite their personal character, just like in the case of the ancient pottery her works relate to an experience of the world that is familiar to anyone. Her works process the phenomena of a lived experience of multiculturalism in Brixton, to being torn apart between Moscow and London, to the desire of becoming an oracle of your own, to the definition of one’s own sexuality through external and internal forces.

Kesic proposes a poetic strategy of dealing with life as a vernacular, always-in-development myth, which always unfolds and is never static. The only permanence in this world’s image is a snapshot of the elements comprising it at a particular moment in time. Her approach defies the universalist (and patriarchally masculine) attempts to construct the grand narrative out of the beliefs in magical, incomprehensible and removed from the immediate understanding. She personalises and humanises the complexity of the living experiences with all its challenges, shaping it in clay and further enhancing it with the colourful, as the phenomena she encounters along the way, glazing.

The solo exhibition at Shtager Gallery presents ceramic sculptures as the chapters of the constantly unfolding autobiography of the artist in conversation with the handmade architectural models of a design studio – both being a way to engage with the desirable and possible. The feminine approach to storytelling presents, in each piece, the artist vulnerabilities in front of the complex choices in life, where there is no “correct” answer available. There is decision or indecision, the stillness or the action. Each of us faced situations in life when simple weighting of pros and cons cannot suffice in the provision of the horizon of a desirable future. Many of us found ourselves in the context of intersecting phenomena, somewhat conundrums, which we take as a hint on the existence of the alternate dimensions. In there, our personal story develops as a dreamy myth – full of colours, phantasmagorical sceneries and emotional richness. Kesic’s ceramic sculptures are the portal keys that can lead us towards that inner world of creative abundance, that helps to digest the often-helpless condition of impossibility of making sense out of the reality around us. More than anything, the artist’s works call for honesty – before, first of all, oneself. What can be a more daring request in the times when delusions, representations and masks had become a standard commonplace in all the spheres of life?

Greek myths, as the classicists highlight, are the imaginary stories that contain the golden kernels of transhistorical truths. Just like them, Kesic’s stories in ceramics become revolutionary by turning the mundane, functional material into the medium of telling comprehensive stories. They highlight that the everyday struggles of a modern woman are  in no way lesser than Herculean tasks.

By Denis Maksimov

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