Nataliya Lyakh is by all means a contemporary artist. There is nothing forced or final in the geography or her life, as there isn’t in leaving the Russian art scene for Paris and New-York gallery spaces. Every so often she returns to Russia in order to present yet another project in a fashionable St.-Petersburg gallery, at the Art Moscow fair or, like today, within ROSPHOTO’s walls.

Lyakh’s undoubted predilection for ‘pragmatic task’ over ‘statement’, her no less obvious recognition of the artist’s mind as the only reality, her free use of the possibilities of video art medium give a clear evidence that her works can be attributed to contemporary art.

As to Nataliya Lyakh’s background, her investigations in neurolingustics not only inspire respect but characterize her as the contemporary of the time that obliges an artist to educate himself and go beyond reflection, out into the world of multiple interactions driven by sign, biology and physiology. Which happens to be the research interests of Nataliya Lyakh the scientist.

It’s another matter that playing a new role in the same grounds, Lyakh the artist behaves herself with feasible looseness, not seeing it fit to present her artworks as illustrations of some theoretical constructions and ideas. As to her own ideas, she expresses and puts them into life with consistent independence.
One of such ideas is literally phrased as an image of darkness as a synonym of collective consciousness and a ‘cone of light’ representing an individual, artistic mind.

The explanation of inevitable fear of darkness as originating in man’s ability to populate it with phantoms, is deflated with cruel irony. One needs to just pull out of darkness the first object caught by the lens. It can be, for example, a match box, and what’s frightening is rather the persistence of its shadow that turns out to be far more real than the object itself.

Nataliya Lyakh’s favorite theme is the enigmatic ability of substance to be completely unrecognizable. Ski tracks on the snow turn out to be kin to the world of prokaryotic micro-organisms, the ones we patronizingly name bacteria. A crumpled sheet of paper equals to a mountain peak bathing in the sun rays. The gas and dust of the Galaxy’s interstellar matter are discovered in a garbage bag.

Tatyana Chernigovskaya, a prominent Russian biologist, linguist and psychologist, commented in her writings about qualitative differences between human cerebral hemispheres: ‘it remains, however, unclear, what perceptual unity involves, what exactly is analyzed and in what way’. Could it be that her student is looking for an answer?

Sergei Radlov