March 2 – April 10 2021
Triangle gallery is pleased to announce ester, a new exhibition of paintings by Evgeny Dedov (b. 1987, lives and works in Vienna).

The works by Evgeny Dedov presented at the exhibition show us a completely new perspective of the artist on the world around him, or rather not a perspective, but an attempt to communicate and interact with reality. They express a non-verbal dialogue with reality, with a world of things and commonplace details, unravelling slight commotion and awakening a host of ephemeral memories that are not entirely clear. Hence comes the name of the entire series of works titled by the artist himself as ester. After all, it can be interpreted both as a beautiful feminine name, derived from the Akkadian goddess of fertility and carnal love Ishtar and as the chemical definition of eters.

Dedov's paintings have repeatedly been compared with those of the Symbolists, and it is difficult to avoid such a comparison in this series, especially as the artist himself provides us with some hints that indicate this connection. The small series of works, collectively named "1799", "Fedotov" or "Ointment", are very close in spirit to the melancholic and meditative paintings of Puvis de Chavannes. Not only the mood but also the colouring and the pictorial style itself, where oil paints, diluted to the limit, are likened to pastels, coincide. Dedov himself identifies this blurring and deliberate thinning of the paint layer as an attempt to imitate an inkjet printer's print on a sheet of paper. The deliberate devaluation of the pictorial language and downgrading it to the utilitarian technologized process of printing is a principle embedded in these works emphasizing the contrast between the sublime and the mundane. There is another underlying meaning behind this, and both Puvis de Chavannes, who passes off painting as pastel and Dedov, who likens painting to inkjet printing, are looking for a way to express their longing for a golden age of humanity. In this case, the pictures become universal formulas that act on us, including the hidden mechanisms of our memory. Looking at them, the viewer unwittingly recalls images that were unknown to him before, or rather, lost from his consciousness. The echoes of the implicit past in these works mirror, in a sense, the cave myth of Plato's treatise The State, which tells us that man is like a shackled prisoner confined in a cave, from whom true objects are hidden and he can only discern their shadows. It is a harsh verdict, marking the limits of our knowledge, telling us that it is impossible to comprehend true reality. However, no one can deny us the right to seek the source of eternal knowledge.

Behind the ambiguous title of a small series of works by Evgeny Dedov, "1799" lurks a specific date associated with the finding of the famous Rosetta stone. This unique archaeological artefact helped decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. It is in this allegorical meaning as the decoders that Dedov's paintings act. Through them, the artist seeks to reveal the non-linear relationship between our everyday lives and art. The main motif of this series is the image of the piece of cloth he uses to wipe his brushes. The artist deliberately disavows the object of representation, and instead of the classic drapery, he presents a simple cloth with a typical, easily recognisable Ikea ornament, reminiscent of chain links. In this case, the chain is presented as an allegory of the restraints in which we are bound by the modern economic system, designed for uninterrupted consumption, one link in the chain clinging to another and so on to infinity. At the same time, the same ornament can be seen as an idea of a chain reaction - the construction of associative sequences that help us better understand something new, not yet known, but remembered by our minds.
Another set of projects is called "Fedotov". We can use it as an example to point out another meaning of the word ether, which is related to the direct broadcast of reality through various media. It is not just a broadcast of information, but an attempt to transfer a particular situation "here and now" in real-time to another place, i.e. replicating a fragment of reality. The appearance of the name of the mid-nineteenth-century painter in the title of these works is no accident. He is one of the few Russian masters who, in his close study of reality and visual descriptions of everyday detail, came close to the small Dutch paintings. By immersing himself in the material world, Fedotov revealed in it the depths of the tragedy of human existence. He has succeeded in translating the domestic genre into a genre of being. Dedov, as a disciple of Fedotov of sorts, continues this line. The eye and simple life observation have been replaced by new technology. It is easier for a modern artist to stop time, capture it for further manipulation in the creative laboratory. At his disposal is not only a basic camera but also a phone - another indispensable companion of every modern person. With their help, the artist collects the material he needs, which he later transfers to the canvas.
The name of the whole ester cycle, as we pointed out earlier, refers us to the chemical designation of esters. They are colourless, volatile liquids with a slightly fruity aroma. They are most often used in household chemicals as solvents and aromas. Both of these properties also apply in the context of reflection on the nature of memory. Ester is a metaphor for creativity that both thins and dissolves the boundaries between the real world and art, and on the other hand, fills the vacuum of our world with magical aromas that remotely remind us of something past and long forgotten.

Sergey Fofanov