Polina Shtanko
Eat me out
Faience, glaze
14x7 cm each piece
Polina Shtanko
The Birth of Idea (detail)
Porcelain, glaze, epoxy resin, box
26 х 21 cm
Polina Shtanko
Pros and cones
Faience, glaze
25x20 cm each
Polina Shtanko
Cinderella’s Footprint
Ceramic, glaze
35 х 15 cm
Ab Ovo
April 20, 2022-May 4, 2022

At the moment Iragui gallery stops its exhibition programming in Moscow and lend its platform to the diploma shows of Bachelor’s degree graduates of HSE Art and Design School.

Polina Shtanko’s project Ab Ovo suggests that universal symbols are no longer possible in contemporary art. The same thing changes its meaning depending on the position of the spectator, the context of time and place. The important method in the artist’s practice is trompe l’œil, comparable to the masterpieces of Baroque and Rococo, where copies pretended to be originals. This theme was also important for postmodernism, Fischli & Weiss with their life-size polyurethane imitations of everyday objects, or giant soft copies of everyday objects by Claes Oldenburg. Illusions that are made by Polina Shtanko extend us to the meaning of objects. She brings all that stuff to the logic of dreams, where what we see does not mean the same thing as it does in reality.

Some of Polina’s works are related to sexuality. Freudian interpretations cannot help but arise. The table with two dishes of oysters, a whole harem, next to the masculine vertical of candle oozing wax. Under the table hides a monster; the dew plant, alluding to the myth of vagina dentata, an inverted scenario of domination. Fountaine of night pots is made of porcelain. The main pot is decorated with mix of drawings made by a boy and a girl. Then pots diverge into two lines of necessity for gender marks, pink and blue separated. The more explicit is the glaze marker the more the shape of the base is broken. The choice could be much wider - a package with a dozen eggs turns into a palette, where the yolks turn out not only yellow, but also pink or blue, red or green, white or black. The ability to interpret is not only relativism and humility, but also the gift of self-determination.

Much in these dreams tells us of limitations. Everyone remembers the fairy tale of Cinderella, but one detail falls out of memory. The stepsisters fell victim to beauty standards, one trying to cut off her heel and the other her toes to fit into a crystal slipper; the over-sized feet stand on a rack at the entrance, not fitting into the shoe boxes. Underfoot there are cones to mark road repair areas. They are not only fragile because they’re made of porcelain, but the very phallicity of their shape, dictating the rules, fades and shrivels. Another restriction the pandemic dictated to mankind, the wearing of masks, has suddenly ceased to be decisive.

The porcelain masks end up on the floor in the sand, as if becoming the archaeological digs. The only mask, the theatrical one, triumphs and shines. On the chessboard, which becomes a soft op-art illusion, the chess pieces play each for itself, and willing to be on top, they risk rolling down, because the board has sagged, no longer flat. Polina Shtanko’s works have a quality of majestic masterpiece, all of them individually bear important questions for humanity, melting into an installation about the flowing of meanings.

Polina Shtanko
Born in 2000 in Moscow. 2022 - Bachelor’s degree graduate of the National Research University Higher School of Economics School of Design, direction “Contemporary Art. Artist and Curator”. Mediums: porcelain, ceramics, textiles, photography. Themes: gender, feminism, double standards of beauty, search for identity.
The artist turns her attention to everyday life imbued with stereotypes, sometimes contradictory, and turns these axioms into theorems that require new proofs. In her works, the flat becomes enthralling to the depths, certainty is replaced by adventure.

2019 «Models of the Future», Moscow Museum, Red Hall
2019 «Solid Things», HSE ART GALLERY
2020 «ln a Dreams and In a Photographs», Gallery «Na Peschanоy», Moscow
2020 «WoodWoodWood» Ьу artist-run organization Rootescape, intervention to the woods around Domodedovo airport
2020 «Dear Neighbors», Agency.ArtRu gallery, Moscow
2021 ««ZOOM: al is the most important, Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts, Moscow
2021 «Hauntology of Post-Soviet spaces», HSE Art and Design Gallery
2021 «Constructs of patterns. Part 1: The House», Gallery «Na Peschanоy», Moscow
2022 «Constructs of patterns. Part 1: The House», Gallery «Na Peschanоy», Moscow