Stepan Ryabchenko

21.10.2014 – 02.11.2014


Triumph Gallery, Moscow

The Autonomy of Eternity

Classical aesthetics conceive of the artistic work as being something completed. The experiments of the 20th century in the fragmented and the mass-produced, in technical repeatability and the mutability of art broaden the framework of this definition, but do not go beyond its boundaries. The volume of a series can be varied, the number of copies can reach hundreds of thousands, but the work, the object component of which is shunted into the background, giving way to the pure idea and authorial intention, remains finite. In the same way, an unstable performance remains a thing in itself, and a fragment is built out into a whole in the viewer's imagination, and in this sense doesn't transgress the accepted borders of art. The method employed in Stepan Ryabchenko's works, however, reveals a simple – and thereby striking – way out of this trap.


The graphic cycle Octants cannot be called a series specifically because it cannot be numerated. Following a principle that is observed in nature, the artist develops a model, a certain kind of stem onto the geometry of which is layered color and texture, forming newer and newer compositions. The link between the versions is not horizontal, it is genetic. The core of the composition is a foundation of stereometry or solid geometry: three coordinates of a plane that break space down into eight spheres, which are called octants. At the same time, the evolutionary principle employed in the development of the works, the opposite of Euclidean mathematics, is constructed on simplified abstract models and reminds us of the alternative picture of the world that is offered to us by fractal geometry. A fern leaf is constructed in this way: the totality is made up of numerous parts, each of which is like the totality itself – the stalk branches out, each shoot forming yet more smaller branches, and so on. Similarly, with each new version of the “octants”, the whole becomes yet more fragmented, whilst preserving its autonomy, but never being completed.


The same principle lies at the foundation of the town-planning project of the same name. Octants is a sovereign settlement, but it has no borders. The architecture of this city is another “fern”, where anyone who wants to can add on their apartment in any free place and move in on one of the branches. At the same time, each citizen accepts the fact that the evolution doesn't stop, and that the building will carry on growing over his head. Thus, Darwinian Theory meets the Christian precept of humility.


Daria Borisenko

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