After a long rule of conceptualism, a shorter rule of new academism and a tumultuous period of wild performances in Russia of the late 20th century and the early 21st century, Korina returns to art an intense relationship with absolutely concrete material. Her objects are striking, beautiful, and their intensity lies in the fact that, among other things, every piece of the material of which the individual artefacts consist has its distinct emotional identity.

The perception of reality through materials of which it is made is a very direct, ancient and convincing way of how to mediate one’s views on the representation of the world in an aesthetic object. Korina expands this strategy with a local, specific validity communicating her Russian experience, and also with a general meaning as she removes specific probes into the world of objects of the post-Soviet reality from their context and presents their validity for anybody, anywhere. For this, she uses the scale: the traditional procedure of minimisation and enlargement, in a riveting combination. The scale is not simply a means to achieve a technical effect but also serves one of the basic forms of desire that are the artist’s trademarks, be it a desire for an appealing exterior, various forms of happiness, a desire for victory, greatness, triumph – or, in reverse, the dark side of desire: fear, repulsion, violent passion.

Work with materials that contain clear communication value – they might be cheap, ubiquitous, provisional, ideological, banal, socially characteristic, ambitious and so on – enables the artist to create a humorous dimension of her work: the objects arouse joyful amazement, regardless of often grim deeper meanings of their message.

The artist has found a delicate interface between a personal perception of phenomena, their relations to her own biography, her generation, and her unique vision. At the same time, this intimacy does not stand in the way of distinct attitudes regarding phenomena connected with the public space including political issues and marasm in Russian society. Korina never displays agitprop or political activism; she strictly follows her personal agenda of descriptive observation into which she invests the entire strength of her extraordinary imagination.

Tomáš Glanc

Irina Korina *1977 in Moscow

– studied stage design at the Russian Academy of Performing Arts (GITIS, 1995–2000). She further studied at the Valand Academy of Fine Arts in Goteborg, Sweden and at the Art Academy, Vienna. She works as a stage designer (in the Teatr.doc theatre and a number of other Moscow and Siberian theatres including the legendary Taganka Theatre). As an artist she is also active in the area of film-making. She considers theatre an important counterpart of her free art rooted in the object and installation genres. She has regular exhibitions in Russia and, since 2006, also abroad. In 2008 she won Innovacija (Innovation), one of the most prestigious Russian awards in contemporary art. A year later, her work was presented in the Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In the same year she was selected, as the youngest participant, to display her work in a series of solo shows in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow entitled Moskva aktual’naja (Topical Moscow). Korina prepared for the four-floor museum building a cross-section of her installations. She also took part in a major exhibition focused on contemporary art and its relationship with the future called Futurologija (Futurology), in the esteemed Garage venue within the complex of the former Melnikov bus garages, not far from the centre of Moscow. The show took place in 2010 and was prepared by French curator Herve Mikhailov. In 2012 the artist participated, with a solo project, in “The Year of Russia” in France, and in 2013 exhibited her art in Singapore. Since the 1990s Korina has collaborated with the prestigious XL Gallery in Moscow. Lena Selina, the gallery founder, organized an exhibition in 2013 entitled Nevesomosť (Weightlessness) in the pedestal of Vera Muchina’s famous Worker and Kolkhoz Woman sculpture. Irina Korina’s solo shows have been held, apart from Moscow, in several Russian and west-European cities.