"Aljoscha: Distant Posterity" opened at the Priska Pasquer Gallery

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"Aljoscha: Distant Posterity" opened at the Priska Pasquer Gallery
Aljoscha, "Distant Posterity", 2022, Installation view. Courtesy: PRISKA PASQUER GALLERY.

COLOGNE.- Priska Pasquer is hosting for the first time the Ukrainian artist Olexiy Potupin, aka Aljoscha. In his solo exhibition “Distant Posterity,” he uses new paintings, installations, and sculptures to depict a future vision of the world. It’s populated by new species of creatures that have overcome hatred and violence.

The fantastical objects, sculptures, and landscapes appear strangely weightless and sublime. They set the scene for the unknown, the indescribable that Aljoscha tries to fathom. Driven by the question of how we see our biological future, he incorporates philosophical, ethical, and scientific questions into his artistic exploration. Against this backdrop, he’s developed an anticipatory theory of evolution called “bioism” – a manifesto under which Aljoscha subsumes his artistic work.

Utopian Creatures
Having started out in painting, Aljoscha’s work process begins with oil paintings and filigree drawings. He then transfers the visual idea into space and develops a three-dimensional piece. Sometimes it seems to grow out of the canvas in a tangle, at times it meanders through the room like an installation, or alternatively it may unfold a sculptural presence as a creature-like formation. Although the objects’ artificiality is apparent from the use of acrylic, silicone or aluminum, their likeness suggests a natural movement.

Aljoscha’s “p-landscapes” and drawings exhibit organic forms inspired by synthetic biology. Starting from the center of the picture, organisms appear to undergo metamorphosis and proliferate in all directions, creating the impression of three-dimensional depth. However, due to the monochromatic, contourless background, the formations float in a weightless, infinite sphere. Aljoscha describes his works as creature-like utopias. The first such future fantasy, the island of “Utopia,” was developed by the British scholar Thomas More some 500 years ago as a remedy for an exhausted society. He, too, positioned his vision far from reality, amidst the vastness of the world’s oceans.

The Sum of the Sequence of Interrelated Steps in its Creation.
Aljoscha’s large bioisms are always created in place. Combining various small-scale elements, he intervenes in the local environment. The work “From Panspermia and Primordial Soup to Autopoiesis and Cognition” reflects Aljoscha’s profound, scientific exploration translated into a highly poetic formal language. Here we see the unique quality of his works. The “primordial soup” theory defines amino acids as the basic building blocks of life; the “panspermia” hypothesis assumes that bacterial life was transported to Earth by comets. The installation is intended to help us comprehend mutation as the machinery of life. The translucent Plexiglas creates a dynamic highlighting the fact that genetic information constantly changes. The work thus quickly awakens the fantastical idea that after the exhibition has closed, creature-like forms will permeate the entire gallery like a primordial mass.

Artistic Interventions as Futuristic Messages
Showing his subversive sense of humor, Aljoscha frequently places his idiosyncratic forms in public places or on monuments. Here, too, his interventions highlight the contrast between status quo and artistic vision. They seem like a message of hope from a future, better world. -Dr. Wiebke Hahn

Aljoscha was born in the east Ukrainian town of Lozova in 1974. For over twenty years he’s lived and worked in Düsseldorf, where he studied under Konrad Klapheck at Kunstakademie. In 2006, he attended Shirin Neshat’s class at the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts in Salzburg. He was awarded first prize in sculpture at the XXXV Premio Bancaja in Valencia in 2008, and the Schlosspark 2009 sculpture prize in Cologne in 2009. In 2010, he executed the installation project “bioism uprooting populus” with funding from the Karin Abt-Straubinger Foundation in Stuttgart. In November 2018, Aljosha represented Ukraine in the exhibition “1914/1918 – Not Then, Not Now, Not Ever” at the German Bundestag commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War. His works are contained in many private collections and museums, including the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Museum of Prints and Drawings in Berlin, and the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki.

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