Ivan Plusch, Irina Drozd. The Illusion is More Horrifying Than the Reality

21.06.2014 — 03.08.2014

Fantasies and images often help to develop our internal and external work. A dreamland can shield or even save us from the threat of reality. But this apparently charming escapism has a reverse side. When illusions begin to stand in for life, and fantasy becomes aggressive. When the dream breaks through into reality, like a suicide bomber, wiping out the established values system. When it fills itself with our delicate consciousness, violating its borders. Is this Evil, or is this Good? This is the question posed by the artists Ivan Plusch and Irina Drozd in their new exhibition project. Creating a situation where illusion intervenes in reality, the artists mediate on its contradictory nature with the aid of visual images, the allegoric and multileveled nature of which is complex for perception in the same was as certain dreams. Consciousness, balancing on tones of drab, unequivocal principles that are bereft of any anecdotal facets – this is a story of life in which concepts of beauty and deformity, eternity and the momentary, truth and lies, life and death, have been blurred and intermingled.
Ivan Plusch traditionally uses the art of painting to express existential maxims. His art is about the flow of time, though he doesn’t use video – you can’t shoot, after all, an endless film. Films require characters, plots, metaphors and generalizing images. Thus, Plusch prefers more abstract and more traditional for the 20th century mediums for the conveying of authentic pictures of objective reality – canvases and spatial installations. He creates them in the form of artifacts, identifying the tracks and traces of vital processes. To the extent allowed by reason, memory and conscience, Plusch captures the dynamics of life, cleansed of their social element, as an evolutionary process. In his view, modern art is incapable of withstanding a confrontation with the existential essence of being. Coming into the field of art, anything superficial crumbles to the floor in a heap of ashes. Like other artists addressing the theme of time, Plusch imperceptibly merges personal time and historic time. His characters live counter to historic time, though viewed retrospectively they are part of it all the same. Plusch attempts to capture and identify the rhythm that runs counter to “the course of history.” And to find a way of expressing it artistically.
In this perspective, the new series of painted canvases by Irina Drozd is unexpectedly serious. The visions, unearthly in their nature, crystallize the very fabric of her painting, subordinating to it the emotions of both the artist and the spectator. Entering another dimension, the artist strives to remain in it as long as possible, hanging on and, through it, recognizing herself and her ability to create and to imagine and conceive. Knowledge and skills are then seen by the artist through the prism of multiplying spaces and infinitely multidimensional time, and they are concentrated as new, unfamiliar, wonderful reflections of existence. The pictures are turned into a certain symbol for the classical crystallization, going back to Werther, into a mysterious mechanism that nurtures magical crystals of unknown meanings.
Is it not astonishing that Ivan Plusch and Irina Drozd, husband and wife, live and create side by side? Complimenting one another, whilst being so different, they are moving towards the creation of a new page in Russian modern art. Written with a new handwriting, and in a new language.

Dmitri Ozerkov,
Head of the Modern Art Department of the State Hermitage Museum