Born in 1982, Nikita Shalenny graduated from the Prydniprovska State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture, department of Architecture and worked as an architect and a lecturer at the Academy before beginning full time career as an artist in 2011. The same year he received the Public Choice Prize, Pinchuk Art Centre and in June, 2015 he was awarded the Winner of the Best Installation Prize, ArtVilnius’15.
Currently residing in Dnipro, Ukraine, Shalenny works with such media as painting, drawing, video, photography and installation. Works of Shalenny can be found in collections of Mocak Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow, Poland, Faurschou Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark, and numerous private collections in Europe.
Recent exhibitions include: Motherland in Art (MOCAK, Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow, Poland April 27 - September 30, 2018), Back to Nature? (Museum Frieder Burda Salon Berlin, April 13 - August 18, 2018), Permanent Revolution. Ukrainian Art Today (Ludwig Museum, Budapest. Hungary, April 6 - June 24, 2018), The Most Delicious American Mushrooms (solo exhibition, Sabsay, Copenhagen, Denmark, December 2016 – February 2017), Lectorium (action, installation. Locations: public places in Dnipropetrovsk, on a facade, on a roof, on water, Art Kyiv Contemporary X, Mystetskyi Arsenal, Kyiv, Ukraine, August – September, 2015), Siberia (Artvilnius’15, Vilnius, Lithuania, June 25-28, 2015), The Fourth Entrance (solo exhibition, Taras Shevchenko National Museum, Kyiv, Ukraine, October - November 2014), Album About War (Cosmoscow, International Contemporary Art Fair, Central Manege, Moscow, Russia, September 2014).
ABOUT 'THE BRIDGE', 2017
Courtesy of Khora Contemporary and Nikita Shalenny
In Shalenny’s Virtual Reality work the viewer goes beyond the horizon on a compressed forty thousand kilometers journey around the world. A game of chance, the journey is the outcome of a line drawn from a bridge and further across the world, taking place in the dead of night, where fuzzy silhouettes of people tear along through desolate landscapes, fleeing into gray blizzards and shadowy forests. Based on watercolors by the artist, one setting replaces the other as the ghostlike figures cross birch forests, oil fields, abandoned churches and oceans in a limitless universe.
Shalenny has long been fascinated by the idea of the bridge in his works, taking the bridge as a starting point for imagining a way of escaping the ongoing crisis in the land where he resides. Or as he expresses it: “The idea of escaping is unconscious, it sprouts and becomes a young tree. Every morning I go to the yard with an axe and hack it at the root, banishing the wrong thoughts. The next morning it grows above me twice, its rustling leaves talking to the wind, which have already been everywhere.”
Mentally extended to infinity, the bridge like the horizon is set between two places, the scene of arrival and the point of departure. All horizons disappear in space, and yet the strong conviction that there is a better world beyond the horizon lives on.
Seen in the light of the current global refugee crisis the infinite bridge seems like a symptom of our times, or, a cure for an escape attempt. The construction of a bridge allows one to access the other shore with ease, to solve the gap between longings and goals and dreams, which else remain distant.
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