2009, “Tengri-Umai” Gallery, Almaty, Kazakhstan

The name of Anna Margatskaya's exhibition "No comments" reminds of the Euro news TV program "No comments". On the one hand, it suggests that the immediate visual experience of the perception of a painting should be valuable on its own. On the other hand, the project is localized in the actual and implies a reflection.

A few words about the author. Anna Margatskaya is one of the most dynamically developing Kazakh artists. The main sphere of her interests is modern art, although she has dealt with conceptual projects as well.

Usually Margatskaya works in the author's technique of water colors but for the present exhibition she has chosen another form.

It is water colors on paper pro-glued on a fabric basis: big, coming nearly to two and a half meters, sharply extended formats which can be overturned and «twisted» - they will only add sense from this transformation. The composition is conceived so that the author’s vision seems to be from the top and from all the directions. Margatskaya has made an exhibition of an individual inside a certain post-mortal utopia.

This is a picturesque installation where a separate exhibit is in fact a pars pro toto, but what gets a status of work of art is the space of the exhibition, which is developing in front of a viewer and which is defining once again the spatial opportunities of each work. The linear rhythms of painting appear here as delusion – they can form clots, move towards the looking person, link themselves through spatial gaps. The space imposes its reality on a viewer.

The human body shown by Margatskaya is eco-friendly in its permeability. It forms the environment (or is formed from the environment?), splits into fragments, reflects itself, multiplies, attracts to itself other bodies without losing at the same time its initial meaning, its integrity and, which is the most important thing, its life (even after death). The human being is shown here also as pars pro toto: a part replaces the whole - even a fragment of a body is not a piece of tattered flesh but just a human body given as a fragment which has no connotation of suffering or fear but rather postulates its human identity. Fragmentary images are used by the artist as an original epic formula – to compress the plurality transmitting the cosmos of «another» world.

In fact, Margatskaya represents a collective body in a mythological prospect of its eternal life. It is interesting that the collective body is shown not as a crowd – because the crowd pushes away as it is. It is a community, where the dissolution of an individual is compensated by the demonstration of the spirit. The power and the beauty of this painting are convincing. Margatskaya might have discovered the most painful problem connected with the local as well as with the whole post-soviet mentality. Its utopia is converted into an anti-utopia with very attractive features. Moreover, the poles of the two cultures are marked again: the first one features well-being and materialism, the second one demonstrates the spiritual demands and diseases of a society. Isn't it really - either this or that?


Margaret Amvrosova