Evgeny Antufiev, H9
Emalin presents Russian artist Evgeny Antufiev’s debut project in the UK. Antufiev has constructed a self-contained and participatory presentation where the viewer encounters a myriad of uncanny objects and can partake in a game of ‘Lucky Draw’ where everybody is a winner.
Antufiev carves wood, boils bones, and stuffs and embroiders traditional Russian fabrics to supplement found curiosities and kitsch objects. Deeply invested in the cultural particularity and symbolic significance of materials, Antufiev’s accumulations feel both prehistoric and personal. By spinning fantastical narratives around existing objects, she deprives forms of their function, categorization or correlation. Her oddities veer between persiflage and mania, recalling the shamanic mysticism still integral to Southern Siberia, only to sever this tie and open up a completely different reality altogether. In the booth, Antufiev’s handcrafted items are presented in an atmosphere of jovial theatricality, where a trivial game of ‘Lucky Draw’ results in a form of entertainment not fully understood.
Raffle-tickets, vessels, knives, and masks are brought into random, temporally ambiguous juxtapositions. At once timeless and dated, these archetypal forms construct new chronologies that resist a linear logic. Created specifically for Focus, Antufiev’s tomb of curiosities creates a poetics of myth that is not derived from personal recollections but belongs to a larger cryptic whole. As such, this group of dissonant objects challenges its viewers to rethink authoritative imagery and materiality within and beyond the formerly Soviet context.