L’Essenziale Studio: Daria Dmytrenko

L’Essenziale Studio: Daria Dmytrenko
Installation View, Daria Dmytrenko, The Dream of Reason, 2022, NOVO, Eduardo Secci, Florence, Photo by Stefano Maniero, Courtesy the Artist and Eduardo Secci Florence – Milan

Linguistics of the Subconscious

The will of non-power in the impossibility of non-will. It is unnecessary to rationally explain Daria Dmytrenko’s figu – rative universe, partly because one does not want to, and partly because one cannot. Her painting is an unconscious restitution of what, from childhood to everyday life, has affected her: there are no subtexts or interpretive filters, what you see simply is. Pisanello, Matthias Grünewald, Max Ernst, an undersea creature, a folk song, a dress—imagination is set free, is fluid, envelops senses and confuses them to the point of bewilderment. The artist was formed in Ukraine where she lived until 2015, then she moved to Venice and fin – ished her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, strongly influenced by the modus operandi of the process of creation and translation of an idea into an image. In Kyiv, at the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture, there was no room for abandon, it was necessary to be aware of every choice: every day, at least six hours of anatomical study of the human figure—a dedication almost turned into obsession. Once she arrived in Italy, that rigid setting was shattered by a daily exercise to which Daria indulged: painting without thinking, expressing without speaking. Alternating between small-format and large canvases (up to 3.50 x 2.50 m), the artist frees her subconscious no longer fearing the abysses of imagination; oil paint accompanies her and allows her to come at any result. No preparatory drawings prelude the nar – rative, the composition takes shape through invention and the dream is experienced with open eyes, but is constructed without intention.

The forms, rather than decomposed, seem to be enveloped by a magmatic and magnetic principle of recomposition, which emerges from the unconscious into a dimension in which a primitive order seems to timidly reappear. Transcribing Dmytrenko’s reality, the specificity of the paintings lies not in the meanings it conceals, but in the form of its signifies; Daria’s truth is not Daria’s world, but the forms that compose it are. Thus, painting is a pure medium devoid of cause and end, it lends itself to all but responds to nothing and no one, it takes form in itself and in itself lives: the act of painting cannot be limited by a ‘why’ or a ‘towards what’, it manifests itself open to signification in its set of figures without ever truly assuming a meaning, welcoming them all, validating none.

Painting is an intuitive process that the artist herself cannot explain. However, in this impossibility sometimes sug – gestions and forms reveal themselves independently, such as the recurring hairy textures of her creatures, coming from her childhood, or their eyes, through which they are connoted without the need to be made explicit. If Daria Dmytren – ko’s art were a story, the setting would be indefinite and the time dilated: forests, rivers, swamps, seaweed and lots of greenery invading and caressing the forms, merging with them. The nature of the Ukrainian landscape and that of the Venice lagoon—nothing exists, except for a precise setting, in a determined color, a precise shade. The story is possi – ble because it’s not finished, and what is concealed emerges without ending in itself. The artist makes attraction and repulsion the dominant forces—fear and curiosity sublimate Daria’s subconscious and investigate it, without revealing it, irradiating it with a surreal light.

From figuration to abstraction, and backwards. It’s not about forms, nor content, but the process that leads from one to the other and vice versa: a love for anatomy that, over the years, returns and moves Dmytrenko toward a continuous and incessant metamorphosis in the way she conceives figures. Night scene (Forest) (2021), Bolotnik (The swamp spirit) (2022), and Untitled (2023) represent three degrees of this process of transformation that allows the artist to break free from the dictates of her academic years. Dilated and dis – torted, as if the color, melting, dripped autonomously giving dimension to the forms, her figures live in a limbo between the anthropomorphic and the zoomorphic, like contemporary grotesques. From Night scene (Forest) what has been learnt so far is slowly subverted and abandoned, the contents become eternal, and tensions are abandoned. As if looking through the depths of a forest or an abyss, Daria Dmytrenko loses all visible contact with the earthly world and distances herself from the connotations of the real, so that the mutual estrangement of interiority and the world becomes so profound that it can be represented as a whole.

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