– photography, painting and installation by Taras Polataiko –


Ukrainian Institute of America in New York

(11.24 – 12.24 / 2009)

Polataiko’s Cut paintings seem to be identical to Lucio Fontana’s series Tagli, but there is no actual cut on the canvas; his work is a painting of a cut. Polataiko complicates the relationship between the viewer and an art object, which looks what it is not—an optical illusion, a trompe l’oeil.

Kazimir Malevich, Cross #2, 1996, acrylic on canvas, 81.5

Kazimir Malevich, Cross #2, 1996, acrylic on canvas, 81.5″ x 41″

In photographic series Human Locomotion, he focuses on the origin of fascination with the moving image and the desire to capture it. The models are reenacting poses from Eadweard Muybridge’s iconic stop-motion project.  Whereas Muybridge used a rapid shutter speed to freeze his subjects’ natural motions, Polataiko reverses the experiment by asking his models to imitate one single frame of Muybridge’s sequence. They try to stay motionless but fail; a record of their failure captured by light and celluloid.

Eadweard Muybridge, Human Locomotion Plate 247/8, 2005 , C-print, edition of 5. 24

Taras Polataiko, “Eadweard Muybridge, Human Locomotion, Plate 247/8″ (2005) C-print, edition of 5. 24” x 36”

In Kyiv Classical, Polataiko investigates the disappearance of commemorative plaque from the wall of The Four Tower Building in Bad Ems (Germany) where Russian Czar Alexander II signed a secret edict prohibiting the use of the Ukrainian language in 1876, including printing of Ukrainian lyrics to musical scores. Confronting the violence of historical erasure, Polataiko turns a trace of the vandalized plaque on the wall of the building into a glowing monochromatic painting. The installation included a looped soundtrack of the signing of a canary cultivated by Ukrainian ornithologists and named “Kyiv Classical.” The bird’s signing is wordless. It requires neither score nor permission.

More about Taras Polataiko see at Barbara Edwards Contemporary

Preparation and opening

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Catalog essay

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