Critics’ Picks

Katerina Lukina, Greedy Seance, 2020, acrylic and UV print on multilayered plywood relief, 19.5 x 30".

Katerina Lukina, Greedy Seance, 2020, acrylic and UV print on multilayered plywood relief, 19.5 x 30".

Moscow

Katerina Lukina

Alisa Gallery
Tverskaya 3 Cube Moscow, Ritz Carlton building, -2 floor
October 15–November 24, 2021

The first thing you register when confronted with the seductive impenetrability of Katerina Lukina’s delirious, multilayered tableaux is an impulse to identify, trace, and decode the myriad reference points and visual quotations tucked into the sculptural recesses of her reliefs. The second thing you register is the realization that you never could.

The title of Lukina’s first solo exhibition at the Alisa Gallery is “Concert at the Seeds Club.” Each one of its densely palimpsestic, acrylic-and-UV-print-on-plywood reliefs operates as a separate act of an epic opera. 9th performance: “Greedy séance,2020, features a gaping maw that doubles as a hearth, an anthropomorphic puff of smoke, and a moon face straight out of Georges Méliès. 11th performance: “Upset piano,” 2021, collages together images of a naked female body being played like a harp by a figure in a Renaissance costume, a clump of hair that could be Cousin It from the Addams Family, an oversize chandelier–cum–tentacled creature, cameos of ghostly visages, and an errant little pair of pointy-toed shoes.

The best description one could plausibly devise for these works is something like a mad commingling of David Lynch and Francis Bacon by way of Max Ernst. There are unmistakable shades of Dorothea Tanning and Andrei Khrzhanovsky, along with a whole Lacanian spectrum of the subconscious’s other precoded baseline polluters, a reflection of the field of contemplation that is always already loaded with memory and reference. Impenetrability is a featured player in this realm; getting lost amid the strata may very well be the point. No footnotes necessary.