Tuesday 9th October Milan’s Prometeogallery reopens its season with the second solo show of Russian artist, David Ter-Ognayan. Leading personality in the Moscow art scene, David Ter-Oganyan, returns – after “Break and Take” – to the Via Ventura gallery with a new cycle of works on canvas and a video by Alexandra Galkina.
Exponent of the aesthetics of suspicion, Ter-Oganyan stages, as privileged themes of his works, violent situations, public demonstrations, terrorist bombings, burning cars, urban riots and rebellious suburbs. Coarsely stylized, reduced to geometrical shapes, treated as paint stains or processed with Photoshop, these themes have been recurring for years in his works as a constant syndrome of our time. But Ter-Ogonyan’s real artistic intervention is at a perceptive level.
Every image by David Ter-Oganyan is a sort of risky ground for the viewers: visual ambiguity and perceptive uncertainty defy their identification and critical capabilities.
But the artist does it in a playful way or with a mocking and dissenting attitude. Everyone knows his “fake time-bombs” made with ordinary foodstuff wrapped up with Sellotape and the red “banners” from his past activity, in which English pop and punk slogans are hidden or made partially unreadable, at least at first sight.
In his first solo show at the Prometeogallery, in a series of canvases, David Ter-Oganyan, revived the entire Suprematist lexicon hiding behind geometrical shapes, flat surfaces and diagrams from pseudo-terrorist tactical schemes or evacuation and emergency plans. On the contrary, in the present show he changes the scale of a score of drawings transposing on large canvases small sketches drawn originally on pieces of paper. After having exposed three of his works at the 10th Istanbul Biennale, Ter-Oganyan presents here a vast series of them.
In “Scale 50:1” – which is the title of the exhibition – what at first sight appears a drawing on canvas, looking closer, seems an impromptu drawing, a mark left by a pen on a notebook, the rash repetition of an ordinary gesture. It is no accident that the digital print reveals the graphic schemes on the sheet of paper on which the sketches have been drawn. Also in these drawings you can see cars on fire and social riots but in a confused and casual manner. With the change in scale, this unconscious tension seems to acquire the status of a social action already carried out and not foreseen.
Alexandra Galkina’s video “Drawing is hard” – in which a hand is drawing – is the perfect frame for the exhibition. Here the change in scale is acoustic: the amplification of the noise made by the pencil, while scratching the paper, is a sort of sonorous menace in the exhibition space and traces the process of drawing back to a real action or incursion.