The Outsider-Presence project is a delicate problem statement of the development of painting as a medium and the study of time through the optics of the subconscious. The project is built on a constant flickering of a thoughtful transition from painting to video art. This mediality suggests that not only are the artists interested in formal searches, but also in exploring visual communication with the viewer. Akimova and Iremadze focus our attention on the clash of temporalities: painting and duration, the moment and video art. Creating a multi-dimensional space using theatrically staged lighting most likely suggests blurring the border between consciousness and reality, which appears as a cluster of visual information, rather than an attempt to go beyond the canvas.


Asya Bolshova, art critic and curator.



The project includes: 14 works on canvas, 2 videos and Lighting connected to the timer.


(exposed in the space without video)

In essence, the Painting on the canvas is static, self-contained and finite. The Painting is passive (spectators look away from it when they want) as opposed to Video, which, as music or theater, exists in linear Time within which the viewer perceives the work.

At the same time, Video destroys the shot by shot, putting in its place more and more new shots: one track is replaced by another. You have only to take our eyes off the screen and you will miss the shots. But the Painting will not disappear. 

How could the Painting be given dynamics? How – at least partially – could it be wrested from its statics?

How is it possible to fix the Video into the framework of one Painting so that our eye could took in every detail at the same time?

In the Outsider project in order to turn the Painting into Video and vice versa, we use Time and Light.

The paintings hang in the dark hall and each work is illuminated by a separate lamp. The lights alternately turn on and off. This or that work can only be clearly seen for a few seconds. The fact that the eye is not given enough time to look at the work approximates the picture to the frame and gives it extension in Time. A short contemplation of the canvas retains the dynamic perception of the image: there is an impression of what has been seen, but there is no time to analyze the work, i.e. to appropriate it. Such method of display turns the Painting into a kind of flash, a memory, a trace, a dream, something escaped from memory.


In the hall where the video is exhibited there are also paintings. They are illuminated in a different way: only a fragment of the painting highlighted by the soffit is visible to the viewer. Since the landscapes for the Outsider project are already a depiction of a random fragment caught by the eye, there is a doubling effect: due to the partial lighting of the canvas, we see a fragment of the fragment. A trace of the trace.

There are two videos in the project: Presence 1 and Presence 2.

Presence 2 video is a small fragment, taken from Presence 1. In this fragment, an attempt to turn Video into a Painting is made.

Such similarity can be found in hagiographic icons where the scenes from the life of a certain saint are portrayed sequentially on the entire surface of the board, and the whole life of the character is seen in one picture at once. In Presence 2 video there is something similar in content, but different in form. There is a plane of 25 coherent frames lasting 4 seconds in it. The action in them flows one into another, reproduces itself, creates itself, there is a kind of circular motion. As a result, the viewer sees a pulsating flowing canvas of 100 seconds, but the entire scanning takes only 4 seconds.


(exposed in the space together with video)


The project can involve two types of maps: a map of the human brain and a map of the area.

Video was shot in a specific place (a backwater near Novgorod the Great). The video can include a physical map with points of movement, under which the minutes and seconds from the video are indicated. That is the map of our physical Presence here, of the movement here, in this time. Painting is a fixation on the canvas of some memories, dreams. Those states when we go beyond time and physical space. So the part with paintings may well include a map of the brain with dots that indicate flashes of consciousness or memory imprinted on specific canvases. Below these points are not seconds, as in the previous map, but the numbers of pictures. That is, the visualization points when you are already out of materiality when you are an Outsider.


About the series «Outsider»:

Borderline state of the Consciousness.

State in which two limiting points of our presence here – Birth and Death – are visible from afar. 
From a distance the time span between these two points (the Life) seems extremely short. Recede on – and it transits into an instant, a flash. 
Flashes of Consciousness, half-forgotten vague snapshots made by eye lenses, randomly selected fragments of the past. 
What is Consciousness? May well be the glass between the eternal and the ephemeral Worlds. How does one portray this Glass without depicting anything behind it? 
How does one exceed the bounds of a window-picture, painting in the frame, having been current since the Renaissance? 
How does one image the invisible Glass primary, but the matter behind it – inessential? 
Scratches on the lenses. 
Incorrect image sharpness. 
And refracted Light in the Glass has accidentally uncovered its physical Presence.

About video «Presence 1»:

The eye-lens drifts into the endless sky and ever escaping the horizon. 
The eye-lens burrows into the soil, into the details, into the surface texture: to look closely, to look far away – just the same. 
Be noisy, break, run - the impassive materiality of Nature is silent. Burrow in the grass, dead indifferent physiology, part of which is we ourselves. 
Constantly self-reproducing Organic is dead to us, it is devoid of Consciousness. The eye-lens, a glass vacuum, sees everything, but space does not penetrate into it. The impossibility of participation, only the Presence. Confinement in a bottle. 
You cannot leave it until time stops passing. 
The paradox of claustrophobia in the open space. Duality - presence in this world and at the same time involvement with what is outside the segment of life here. 
It's terrifying to get out of it - staying in it is claustrophobic.

Separately about the series of works "Outsider". 

This is mainly an attempt to go beyond the classical painting in the frame, prevailing in art since the Renaissance, while remaining technically within the framework of classical painting. How exactly is this attempt made? By means of depicting the invisible glass-eye as primarily important, and what we see behind it, as secondary. Unpretentious fragments of landscapes are given a second role, while light sliding on glass, or on glass defects - is dominant. It does not matter what is depicted in the landscape, only the optics of the eye of the viewer is important.


Separately about the video "Presence 1". 

The length of it is of a full-length film - an hour and a half. No man is visible there. But his movements are visible and sounds are heard, which comes from the contact with the world around him. Is there a plot in the film? Yes, there is. But despite its apparent monotony due to long shots, it is not a meditative video, there is no rest in it. It is a work of a person with European consciousness, who linearly perceives his own lifespan: there is neither recurrence, nor infinite cycle, but the beginning and the end.

© 2020 Федора Акимова