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Ksenia Gnilitskaya, Anna Yermolayeva

July 8 Ц August 8, 2004

The machine-body subject matter in the project "Auto-cellulite" combines the new photographs of emerging Ukrainian artist, student of Kiev Art Academy Xenia Gnilitskaya and video by St. Petersburg native, Anna Yermolayeva, who studied art in Vienna.

Photographs of deformed bumpers and hoods, taken by Xenia at a local junkyard are surrounded by an intense aura of cultural allusions, despite their outward decorativeness and futility. The wrinkled car surfaces, reminiscent of pressed car assemblages by Arman, refer to "art brute" and works by "new realists" inspired by non-commodity shape of waste products of civilization. The pop-eccentrics of the twentieth century became famous precisely for this fetishistic affection of civilization's waste. Gnilitskaya is not just admiring the entropic beauty of "cellulite" surfaces, but she tricks the viewer, presenting tin as artifacts of aristocratic origins, as if in jest, recalling the memories of heated debates on concerning "high" and "low" aesthetic categories. The final argument in all controversies, as we know, came from those who insisted that absolutely everything has the right to be placed in cultural archive. The close-up photographs of peeling paint on amorphous metal surfaces remind us of the studies of abstract impressionism.

The very title of the project evokes "bodily" associations Ц one might automatically envision the advertisement of anti-cellulite lotion from "Vichy", in which woman "peels off" from her hips the old skin like she does her tights. Paradoxical alienation of a person from her/his body has become a commonplace. The body itself no longer seems to belong to us, instead, it has become a machine, a "subspecies" of household appliances, demanding permanent and wearisome maintenance, to which we appear to be its hostages. In this odd way, we can trace the theory of de Lamerti, who in mid XVIII century composed the essay "A Man-Machine." Contemporary art is interested in the body in two main aspects Ц the Marxist, as an instrument of hidden market manipulation, and existentialistic, as the source of inner fears and affects, such as pain, loss of beauty, and cellulite psychosis.

In the video "The Realm of Curved Lines" by Anna Ermolaeva a toy car continuously rides the "landscape" of female body. This toy resembles the pendulum of a hypnotist, which he uses entrances his patient. Its monotonous motion freezes, switches off emotions like anesthetic. Looking at the rhythmic movements of the toy automobile, we repeat Warhol's mantra "nothing has sense", synchronizing ourselves and our traumatized consciences with the droning rhythm of the routine, allowing us to realize the positions our bodies hold in the world of commercialism.

Anna's video appears in the genre of a "boring" spectacle, which originated in the 1960s in opposition to the entertaining TV shows of the time. Warhol, the ideologist of video-boredom, wrote that it is senseless to continually watch programs, which differ only in inessential details, and that it would be better to be content with things remaining "always the same". The same time her video reflects the idea of the body as in instrument of advertisement and marketing. The body becomes a highway of commercialism, on which corporate machines may ride upon and manipulate.

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