Alyona Kirtsova is one of the most recognisable actors on the Moscow art scene. And it's not about her as a personality, although contemporary artistic life can easily be called, to paraphrase Guy Debord, an 'atomised spectacle', and in this 'society of the spectacle' Alyona has her role to play. But Kirtsova's recognisability is of another nature. She is known for providing a stable immersion in her own painterly problematics. Let's be honest, today, when social, conceptual, media and behavioural gestures are valued, the investing of the viewer's expectations in such unhurried, silent, intimate processes, progressing deep into the painterly medium, is worth a lot.
Kirtsova's solo exhibitions don't happen that often, although in each of them she attempts to show the stages of this progress, to experience them once more together with the viewer.
One exhibition suggested a phenomenological relationship to colourism (Color Guide), and another (Gray Scale) was constructed around the relationship between the spiritual and the material.
The 'subject' of this exhibition was dictated by a non-artistic situation, a flood in the studio (not a reference to Ilya Kabakov's Incident in the Museum, but a real-life event). Kirtsova has long suspected that her paintings live an independent life, which becomes apparent through their existence: transportation, hanging, stacked in long-term storage. Traces appear on the painterly surfaces, like the 'developers' tricks' of pre-digital photography.
The flood intensified this situation of traces.
Kirtsova is interested in the traces of the flood: changes to the paint layer, drips, scuffs. She suspects that this is not aleatoric, that there are some signals here, being sent by the medium. Of course, the works are being restored, but Kirtsova sees within them a new physicality and occasionally, it seems, retouches something or other. In any case, their symbolic capital grows, since they've been through thick and thin, an ordeal.
Of course, the flood made the exhibition organisers focus on watery motifs. Thankfully, in various periods Kirtsova has explored the theme of water in its physical and symbolic states.