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Kononova Yana (Grigorovka, Ukraine)

Artist works with analog photography, using large format (4×5 inches) and medium format film cameras.

Yana defended her thesis on the Bruno Latour’s anthropology of the moderns and earned her PhD in 2015. After relocating to live on Trachtemyriv Peninsula she turned to photography. Yana has graduated from the Photoschool of Viktor Marushchenko (Ukraine) in 2017 and then studied photography courses from Sasha Rudensky (Wesleyan University, USA) and during the long term residency programme from Image Threads Collective (USA). She won the Bird in Flight Prize for achievement in photography Ukrcontempphoto in Emerging photographer nomination in 2019.


Lens-based performance. 85 x 500 cm. 2020

During the world exposed in an unthinkable gripe of the pandemic and my environment literally shranked to the size of my studio, I have remembered the phrase of Francis Bacon regarding the compound of figures in a space of a picture. Somehow he stated that would like to portray several figures with no connection between them – an almost unimaginable task, since already between two figures in the field of view, and this is how the human imagination works, the inevitable tie or even the history arises. I’ve always been curious to try follow this challenge to explore the coupling space without any relations. The void in pandemic time with all movements restricted, somehow provided an excuse to do this, but unexpectedly changed the focus of interest and I turned the Bacon’s task upside down deciding to explore the fictional bonds or which one that couldn’t take place in any way.

In the piece Studies for The Last Supper Without Central Figure, using myself as an actor, I enact the famouse episode. But in oppose to its sculptural solution according to which bodies are tied directly through arrangement along the horizontal ‘frieze’, I compose the figures not in space but in time using the multiple exposure mode of my larg format camera. In fact, this work is a lens-based performance with results are impossible to predict and which is completely technically driven.

I also conceive Studies as the experience of reflection in conventions of visual culture, in the tradition of self-portraiture, as the experience of introspection and studying visual sensation through the body, and as the experience of complicity with the camera, time and chance.