Vadim Tamkovich: Mausoleum

Eye Sea Gallery

Vadim Tamkovich, born and raised in Georgia, has been living in Ukraine, Kyiv, since the late 1990s. He has a degree in art, graduated from the Kyiv National University of Technologies and Design, Faculty of Design. His journey in photography started in 2008.

The exhibition in Eye Sea Gallery includes three photography series: “Postfolk”, “Mausoleum”, “Glamorous Flesh”. The author prefers to take photos of handmade decorative panels with live characters in them, as well as to experiment with different materials that are compiled in a photograph in search of new sensations and images.

  • POSTFOLK. The “Postfolk” series explores photography as a form of mythologizing a person. In the antithesis of “to be” and “to seem”, photography has often chosen the latter since its inception. False scenery of wealth, success, and spirituality surrounds old peasant portraits. Marble-like columns, serene landscapes behind the back painted on canvas, clothes rich in embroidery and jewelry, often rented for photos – all this creates a kind of a folding screen behind which a person is hiding. This beautiful scenery often hides pain, lack of prospects, hard work, illness, and a low standard of living during a short life. The naive aesthetics of these decorations, touching embellishments with improvised materials, and imitation of the expensive with the cheap are seen as, on the one hand, an attempt by an ordinary person to poeticize their life, and on the other hand, an attempt to visually integrate into some (imposed by society) hierarchy of social importance and success, regardless of their true social and material position, their spiritual state.
    At the moment when such portraits are photographed, the unknown person remains in eternity according to their ideas of beauty and their imaginary place in the hierarchy of society. The entourage and the screen mercilessly cut off any truth.
  • MAUSOLEUM. Following Postfolk, the Mausoleum series develops the theme of false scenery, which is already taking on the features of the bad taste of mass culture. The weakening of spiritual life and a sharp increase in physical needs significantly burden the necrotic fears of a modern individual. The overwhelming rhythms and rich decorative chaos capture an eye and consciousness, drowning out the above-mentioned fears. The weakness of spiritual existence, hypertrophied craving for consumption and super-comfort, passionate desire for a physically eternal and secure life full of events and effects creates a new ideal speculative environment — the Mausoleum.
    The Mausoleum is a limited space of the eternal life of an imaginary physical body, extremely densely filled with false values and imitations common for mass culture. There are also new forms of relations between society and its spiritual authorities in the midst of the loss of spiritual existence and the transformation of the public into a consumerism society. These forms acquire the features of formalization and idolization of authorities, and the dilution of spiritual life leads to the transformation of the authorities of society into ersatz idols of mass culture. Spiritual connection with authorities is replaced by a formal ritual established by society.
    The creative sources of the Mausoleum include Ukrainian folk iconography as a set of measures for creating icons and their subsequent various decorations.
  • GLAMOROUS FLESH. The Glamorous Flesh series, following The Mausoleum, once again explores the necrotic fears of a modern individual, and the solution he finds to the problem is through the virtualization of existence and immersion in the world of social networks, where death as a physical phenomenon is absent. Virtualization of existence largely eliminates such fears. Glamorous Flesh explores the mixing of physical and virtual reality, and the basic antithesis of human spirit and flesh — the sharp increase in the importance of carnal needs over spiritual ones.
    In his compositions, Vadim uses a number of expressive objects, such as fake jewelry, which represents false values, elements of mass culture, fragments of web design and graphic means of virtual communication, as well as raw meat, which expresses carnal needs. There is no more death, life is a virtual game that can always be started again by clicking a button in a pop-up window. The strange and sometimes ugly aesthetics of Glamorous Flesh states the gradual degradation and degeneration of society due to the decline of its spiritual needs, the rapid growth of physical needs and super-comfort, the triumph of the flesh over the spirit.

Vadim Tamkovich’s exhibition in Eye Sea Gallery is open from June 28 to July 17, 2024.