Graduate Show 2019: Anya Palamartschuk: Sculpture

The theme of layers runs through my practice: in the process of collaging different mediums, in its physical sense of creating fragmented spaces, and then in a conceptual capacity, referencing the layers of performance in all our characters.

Whether exploring the metaphysical expectations placed on bodies according to gender, documenting a process of rejecting obligatory femininity, or creating characters devoid of body politics, my work physicalises an internal exploration of how we perform and navigate space, using layering within installations, video and sound to reference the internal and external layers of the self.

The idea of a palimpsest is crucial to my work as it describes a constant process of layering and removing, adding a time element of continual change, whilst baring remnants of an earlier form. At the crux of my work, I am creating palimpsests of both human forms and movement. One of the most important parts of my work is how the physical act of being in the installation can play with the psychology of the audience, creating an immersive narrative that deconstructs the body.

My biggest influence is Victoria Sin, a non-binary artist who uses drag to explore hyper-femininity as a way to investigate the notions of femininity imposed on them. Another person I’m interested in at the moment is Leigh Bowery, who, amongst other things, used costume and fashion to create surreal, faceless characters whilst contorting gender expectations.

Image of figure against lit backdrop

Please tell us about your final year project 

For my final project I am exploring the idea of the human form devoid of body politics, by creating faceless characters that look more surreal than relatable, focusing on the body solely as a vehicle for movement, performance and form. The performer becomes the physical entity itself, without social conventions masking it. These characters will be projected onto a maze of huge, fabric-covered, translucent panels that catch the light like light-boxes. Two perpendicular projectors will catch these frames at different angles. This makes the characters appear to move across the space, their movement facilitated by the screens. The narrative of the piece depicts a struggle with control and relates to my own relationship with OCD. The installation reflects this theme of control because the screens both trap and facilitate movement: constraining the images to their frames whilst allowing the characters movement across the maze created by these screens, almost creating 3D images.

Figure wrapped up in green rope

How have you found studying at Brighton?

I have loved my time at Brighton and intend to stay here after Uni. The sculpture course is absolutely amazing for so many reasons – the studio spaces, the close-knit collection of students, the opportunity to exhibit around the uni, the tutors and technicians… It’s overall propelled my way of making and thinking about work.

Image of installation

What are your plans after graduating?

My plan after graduation is to start a gallery in Brighton with 7 other students. We intend to create a space that is affordable and central to help students in Brighton and people in the community connect. I also want to continue with my art practise and find art opportunities. 

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