Forget-me-nots/ Незабудки

Olga Krykun
curator: Tomek Pawłowski-Jarmołajew
6.05 – 3.06.2022
Gallery SKALA, Poznan, Poland

Performance has been presented during the vernissage. Performers: Katuma, Anastasia Shergina

Forget-me-nots is an individual exhibition by Olga Krykun, a visual artist born in Odessa and living in Prague. The project is an outcome of the artist’s two-month residence in Poznań. At the exhibition, she presents new paintings, objects and performances that are a continuation of the E-girl Melancholia series, which Olga has been developing since 2021. In the series, the artist paints doll-girls faces in make-up, which express a range of ambiguous emotions: from sadness, through fatigue, to excitement and delight. One of the author’s main source of inspiration, for the E-girl Melancholia, is social media, especially the application TikTok, with its dynamic algorithms and an avalanche of trends. Krykun looks at what emotional reactions and states are caused by the constant scrolling, assimilation of the stream of images and information produced by both application users and companies. At the same time, she juxtaposes them with the figure of the eponymous “e-girl”, pointing to the generational and gender aspects of experiencing the post-digital reality.

At the exhibition in the SKALA gallery, Olga Krykun focuses on the events of recent months: observing and experiencing the war in Ukraine from the perspective of smartphones and social media feeds, which have become an archive of wartime atrocities. For many people, it is the first source of information about military operations, organized aid, experiences and accounts of the victims of the armed invasion of Russia, or the culture and history of Ukraine. Their brutal images of dead bodies and devastated cities and buildings are intertwined with appeals for help and the voices of realpolitik. In a series of new pictures, that among others depict flowers, Olga Krykun shows the feelings, tensions, internal conflicts and desires that arise in the process of digesting this content. These are both sunflowers – symbols of Ukraine, the artist’s motherland, and the title forget-me-nots, which speak of the need to remember the events of the war. In addition to the paintings, the exhibition also presents objects: human-size girl effigies, as well as a performance with the participation of female students – refugees from Kharkiv and Kyiv, who from March 2022 have been continuing their studies at the University of Arts in Poznań.

The motifs of flowers and women appear side by side in many songs about war. Songs that often tell of longing, waiting and loss. Forget-me-nots by Olga Krykun could be another such song – expressing as much helplessness and reflection over death as hope for victory and peace.