Enigmatic ability of substance to be completely unrecognizable
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?
Born in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
1984–1985 Secondary Art School, Saint-Petersburg Arts Academy, Preparatory Division
1985 Developed an interest in black & white photography
1985-1992 Saint-Petersburg State University, Department of Structural & Applied Linguistics. Scientific experiments in the field of neurolinguistics at the Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology & Biochemistry
1989 Began a series of color photographs on Hungary
1990–1992 Thematic series of black & white photographs
1992–1995 Postgraduate studies at the Saint-Petersburg State University, further research leading to a Ph.D. in neurolinguistics. First experiments with video. Continued with black & white photography
1996–1998 Short video art films (shooting, editing and mixing music/sounds). Series of thematic color photographs on New York, London, Turkey, Italy and other subjects. Submissions to and publication in several Moscow photography magazines. Worked as a curator in video clubs and film programs
1999 June: participated Rencontres Internationales Hors-Circuit Paris-Berlin, Paris. September: International contemporary art group show “Tomorrow Conceptual Nostalgia”, Monterrey, Mexico
2000 January: art show “Reflections”, Miami, USA.
June: art show “Minding”, Geneva, Switzerland. October: art show “Rad Art”, Paris. November: artshow “Arts photographiques”, Paris. November: photo art show PHOTOBIS 2000, Paris. December:”En Garde”, Parsons Gallery, Paris
2001 March: Photo art show, University of New Sorbonne, Rencontres Internationales Hors-Circuit Paris-Berlin, Paris
June: Photo-video-perfomance, art show “OGM”, Espace Crimée, Paris. June: Rencontres Internationales Hors-Circuit, Paris-Berlin Festival, Berlin. November: Salon de la photographie, Salle Olympe de Gouges, Paris
2002 July: French Video Program in „Sad”, Moscow. November: Red Shift Film Festival, Anthology Film Archive, New York
2003 March: Hors-Circuit Paris-Berlin Film Festival, Paris. April: Espace Washington steet, New York. October: group show at Gallery Iragui, Paris. November: Hors-Circuit Paris-Berlin Film Festival, Berlin. December: art show at gallery L’Entrepot, Paris
2004 January: Red Shift Film Festival, Anthology Film Archive, NYC. April: Gallery Nichido, Nagoya, Japan. June: art show with gallery Iragui at Museum of Arcitecture, Moscow, Russia. July: Projection at Tryptique, Paris; participation Reel Venus Film Festival, NYC. October: Participation with gallery La Blanchisserie in La FIAC, Paris
2005 January: Personal photo-video show at LA Blanchisserie, Paris. January: Videos at “Divan du Monde”, Paris. March: Videos, Espace Atlas. Paris. May: Gallery Benamou (Paris) and Gallery Gisich (St.Petersburg) – ArtMoscow. June: Rome Art Doc Festival, Rome. September: Kansk Film Festival, Russia. October: Personal show at Freud’s Dream Museum and Gisich Gallery, St.Petersburg; Nuit Blanche, Paris. November: Starz Denver International Film Festival, USA; Film screening, Ambassade Française, Moscow
2006 January: Videos at “Divan du Monde”. February: Photos, Videos at L.U.V Gallery, Paris. March-April: Participation Photobiennale in Moscow, “Open World” Gallery. April: Art show, festival “Crescendo”, Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
June: Group show, Espace “Art et Liberte”, Show at Heart Gallery, Paris. September: Videos, Nuit Blanche, Paris
2007 November-January: “Un monde non-ojectif en Photographie”, Thessa Herold Gallery, Paris. May: “Caravansarai”, Tashkent, ArtMoscow, Biennale of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece. August: Karsi Sanat Gallery, Istanbul. October: Istanbul Art Biennale. November : ArtFair DIVA, Paris. December: “Pulse”, Miami
2008 March: Videoformes, HeartGallery, Clermont-Ferrand. April-May: Show at National Center of Photography RF, St. Petersburg.
Currently live in Paris. Languages: Russian, English, French, Italian, Japanese