2017 Lost Horizon

Danila Tkachenko

Lost Horizon

March 2 — April 30

Against the white noise of Facebook in the background time gets compressed and seconds of the present seem extended. Significant. It is the triumph of the ordinary «here and now».

But life is not only in this habit. It transcends our ordinary in exotic forms of other knowledge.

The philosopher Nikolai Fedorov wrote that humanity depends on its forefathers: as a tribute to them it owns them «the resurrection of the body»; and this is the only thing that will allow humanity to step outside of our planet — a sufficient number of people who lived through the death will go beyond the Earth and colonize other planets.

These are the ideas of the nineteenth century. Without them there would be no Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, there would be no rocket flights by Sergey Korolev.

In the twentieth century the philosophers who stirred up the energy of constructors, were joined by artists. Marc Chagall’s characters fly over the town and cosmic people of Pavel Filonov easily break away from the Earth, longing for it and leaving it in order to spread the «world revolution».

One hundred years after the social revolution, the artists once again celebrate its significance, knowing that the scale of the declared had been diminished by the earthly (mundane) and social gravitation to a poor hindrance of the ancient human evolution, which after having made some noise came back on its track, once again it got bogged down in all the vices highlighted in the time of Jerome Bosch.

In the twenty-first century, a young artist from Moscow who works with photography, Danila Tkachenko creates the space archeology of mankind that managed to break away from the Earth mentally in the past century.

Signs of the cosmic idea hover in the velvet blackness of the background. Orbital satellites and astrophysical laboratories, futuristic silhouettes of nuclear laboratories and the coat of arms of the Soviet Union, the center of which is the entire globe. So little as if seen from space.

Tkachenko conducts an audit of the symbols that represent the escape from the Earth into the future and beyond gravity. In this work he sets new connections between the state symbols and signs of Science, between the monuments to ideas that were ahead of the capabilities of our race, architecture incorporating the future — whether it be a computation center or a laboratory — and stone sculptures. Putting them into impenetrable and infinite space, Tkachenko breaks the habitual relationships between objects and their ordinary meaning, that concealed their symbolic nature from the contemporaries.

When the past had turned to dust, certain objects are extracted from it by the artist, as if Yorick’s skull from the grave, he presents them to the viewer of our time in its true light. Tkachenko presents the purified symbolic and essential nature of his collection of artifacts. Thus, the head of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky becomes an idol, the surface of which is aiming to acquire the ideal form of the planetary ball (from the old times, since the first flights of the Tsiolkovsky’s space rockets, athletes’ stadium, corporeality sought to get closer to the heroes of the future, the conquerors of the cosmos).

Immersing the finds into the darkness of the galaxy, the artist Tkachenko examines an affinity between Ivan Shadr’s sculpture, the singer of the proletariat, and the animal style of ancient nomads. In the darkness, where the magnitude and directions are lost, tense human flesh turns into the surface of the asteroid, cankered by the journey through the airless infinity, hostile to everything that is trying to overcome it. Photographer captures the combination of antiquity, archaic remaining stones, metal debris with scraps of ideas of the great civilization of space explorers. They were just the great-grandparents of the generation that Danila belongs to himself, together with the most of his audience. But the dreamers of the twentieth century appear to us today as giants, who lived in another dimension. The citizens of Atlantis, that we are nostalgic about. And it’s not about the “Sovietness” of its past, but about the faith that was lost together with the perished civilization, the belief in the possibility of overcoming the planetary gravity.

Last year when the artist’s project was in the making, the failed migration to other planets seemed to be an idea beyond our reality. But an artist at the time of presenting his work sometimes might prophesy, sometimes — interpret the present revealing its deeper meanings. In 2017, the exhibition of space archeology by Danila Tkachenko takes place in Moscow. At the same time the mankind, that part of it that is tied up by the bonds of Facebook, revels in the present. Perhaps, without being able to receive the message of our time: the discovery of extrasolar planets. The news about the possibility to travel through space and time, overcoming the millions of dangers, to the idea, bequeathed to us by forefathers — of inhabiting the cosmos.

We are afraid of migration, we compress the boundaries of our world to a continent, to a country, to a metropolis in search of protection from the infinity of space and time. We are ready to give this idea away to rare dreamers and artists, whose work we happily behold from the cozy present, packed with conventions. After all, only madmen fly over the city holding hands, only madmen from the height of their talent see the story in shards, that already hover outside of Earth’s gravity; only the artists and visionaries feel the frailty of our ability to live in the present, by liberating from which we can finally realize the ancient dream of humanity about the Universe.

In the works by Danila Tkachenko modified pixels of backgrounds and shapes of articles, produced in the environment of the Earth’s photographic lab, add to the objects in the photographs that “out of Eternity» dimension, which struck everyone with its authenticity in the photographs of a human standing on the lunar surface. The distrust to their own experience of space happened to be the second wave of the spectators’ reaction — it’s impossible! — as a result of this appeared the legends that the outer space was filmed in the halls of earthly movie studios. We are accustomed to live being corroded with doubts rather than to surrender to the idea of the possibility of “the impossible”. Danila Tkachenko takes a step backwards to the sensual experience of space. It is obvious that his photograph is an illusion. No one tries to hide it. But the illusion is so thrilling that, being in the midst of his works, between the marks of the twentieth century civilization that are frozen in the blackness like the space debris in the Earth’s orbit, you recognize the possibility of the cosmists’ appeal — to the real conquest of the Universe. You recognize the inevitability of this conquest.

Irina Chmyreva