Elena Minaeva, while delving into the peripheral realms of inner vision, constructs her works as traces-shadows of obscure origins, rendered in a cold-twilight color palette. Objectivity here yields to semi-erased traces, balancing between recollection and the realm of the forgotten. Speaking of this zone of displacement, the artist employs Virginia Woolf’s metaphor of “a pond where things float in the darkness, so deep that we know almost nothing about them.”
However, even as one delves into the depths of unconscious contemplation, departing from the realm of the immediately visible, individual objects can tightly seize the mind, lingering within it as an inescapable backdrop.
Drawing from her own life experience, Minaeva reveals the historical and ideological nature of these objects. Constructions emerging in new videos and sculptures harken back to the spires of buildings from the Stalinist architectural era of a small town where Elena spent her childhood. Stripped of life’s concreteness, these shards of a bygone era take on the form of hermetic symbols, becoming the quintessence of “the past that belongs to the present more than the present itself.”
The traumatic experience of navigating the pervasiveness of one’s everyday existence by the intangible “radiance” of Soviet heritage leads the artist to perceive it as an empty form, a new potentiality capable of being filled with different content. Thus, the gesturality of the characters in the video “Solid Objects,” striving for liberation from predetermined meanings, may serve as the foundation for future dance or the documentation of events yet to unfold.
Elena Minaeva’s works reside in private collections in Russia, France, and the USA. She lives and works in Saint-Petersburg.