Olga Krykun’s piece, Don’t Panic, was thoroughly reviewed by František Fekete, the curator of the 35M2 Gallery in Prague. Below, you’ll find his captivating take on untangling the universe of symbolism, dadaism and visual references that is Krykun’s video art.
WORDS ABOUT THE AUTHOR / Don’t Panic asks the same question that comes to mind whenever one watches Olga Krykun’s videos. What made this peculiar group of people and things get together – and what does their interaction mean? The secret of the bizarre, which is hidden in the author’s style and contained in Don’t Panic brings us to the conclusion that they got together to party. A party – a witches’ Sabbath – and even the Airbnb housing speculation reflects the collective neurosis of the acceleration of the world that is mirrored in the world as jerky movements and absurd rituals. Let Behemoth the Cat lead us.
Don’t Panic depicts a certain atmosphere that may be familiar – the moment when the backdrop becomes an actor, pathos becomes sincerity and mechanical figures become emotional characters. The bizarreness works as a mask concealing something darker; or, in the worst case, nothing at all. The figures are celebrating. However, it is not clear whether they are celebrating the arrival of utopia, dystopia or nothingness. At a certain moment, the original tense atmosphere relaxes and what appeared to have the ambition to become a B-horror-movie is now an exalted dance. Later on, there is a vague ritual finished by magic that concerns a map of Paris. The protagonists seem to be choosing a place to throw another party. Maybe they are ravers and magicians, maybe they are Airbnb speculators launching a new investment.
The author’s new video is a diverging audio-visual fantasy that does not aspire to be a story or a moral. Krykun works with non-actors, using directorial improvisation. More than film, her videos resemble a recording of an event that is partly staged and partly improvised. The camera itself becomes a figure walking through the last moments of sanity. Some of the actors play neither themselves nor anyone else. They reenact something that is their own, taking it to the extreme. The exaggerated stylisation reveals traces of authentic expression that mostly remains in the darker recesses of human identity. Is this excessive stylisation an attempt to escape or to hide? Is it an escape from scarcity, abundance, overload or boredom? Is it an escape from the anxiety-inducing fact that reality might have never existed or that it will cease to exist in no time?
Olga Krykun adopted the aesthetics of video clips, which are not so much about narrative continuity, but nervous volatility of random shots that chaotically depict various actors. The movements of the figures and the editing pulsate rhythmically, showing symptoms of volatility, lack of anchoring and frenetic escapism. The designer objects and clothing featured in the video also appear in the installation. Film props and their fates are comparable with the glory in the fictional world they are a part of. The ring worn by the actor Elijah Wood in The Lord of the Rings thus arouses the same desire and covetousness among collectors as the precious in Tolkien’s book. The animal cages in which the objects are exhibited are thus post-ironic comments on the scarcity of prized, protected, but eventually imprisoned objects. After all, the bizarreness and memetic potential of the mainstream celebrity world are long-term inspirations of the author’s works.
PREDATORY LINGERIE / Looking inside of the story of two souls on relaxing beach in the scary autumn atmosphere. Mysterious symbolistic era totems help them to find out something about what they are.
(The overall video set up is happening in front of Czech romanticism site – Vaclav Levy’s Devils heads. Fantasy in it’s both nice and terrifying side are connecting past and contemporary issues.)
BABYFACE / New horror short movie about post-soviet born children and their night dreams.
WORDS BY THE AUTHOR / I work predominantly within the media of video-installation, sculpture, painting, and performance, variously mixing them. Combining elements of storytelling with contemporary symbols, my works evoke a kind of trance-like surrealism. My films draw upon surrealist aesthetics, which I transform into bizarre visual imagery inspired by social networks, various internet vlogs as well as memes that create modern day mischievous mythology. My videos often include simple narratives based on free synopses, which spontaneously develop during the filming. They are supplemented by new elements arising from unexpected, improvised moments of filming and interaction with the actors. I am most interested in the challenges of contemporary life and what they might bring us in the future; how our perception of life and art changes, along with the growing power of artificial intelligence and the long-lasting information wars. I blur the border between reality/upgraded reality while creating mythological narratives in an attempt to speak directly to the viewer’s human core as such ancient narratives have always done. I am doubting and searching for better working formulas either alone or with other artists in the existing art industry. The link between individuality and collectivism is unstable and interesting, in this case. I choose to do art as a “profession” but we all know how precarious the art world is nowadays so I keep it enjoyable for my colleagues and myself. That’s the essential bit of it — being a part of a community and sharing it.
Videos / Olga Krykun
Text for / František Fekete & Olga Krykun