Nikola Ovchinnikov


Walter Benjamin wrote about the elusive aura of the artist’s touch characteristic of works of art. A major museum, then, could be considered a tapestry of thousands of threads of energy. Like a fly in a web, the viewer is immobilized by the sweet prick of the spider of art. Resistance is futile: lingering gazes leave less time to see more. A quick browse keeps you from losing yourself in the picture and catching the Stendhal syndrome, which is yet further evidence that authenticity is a term from the world of emotions and not the antique business. In Transferences of Values/Louvre, Nikola Ovchinnikov continues his consideration of classical, picture-gallery painting he began several years ago. His primary interest is preserving a work’s aura. Earlier in his career, Ovchinnikov would layer pictures one on top of the other according to a geometric principle, thus depriving them of any narrative meaning. But in Transferences of Values famous paintings are narrowed, as if viewed at an angle. What remains of a painting’s aura after such manipulation? It certainly no longer bears any relation to the original’s aura of credibility. By modeling distortion, Ovchinnikov reveals the fragility of our relation to the painting. When displaced, do works acquire a new value in the present? Yes: they prove that a classical painting can be as much a texture for Ovchinnikov as felt was for Beuys.
Valentin Dyakono

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