Kyiv, Ukraine. 2008
Kadyrova’s debut in public space was in summer 2008, under the aegis of the EIDOS Foundation’s “City – Territory of Art” – a program for bringing artwork into the public sphere. Kadyrova was invited to use a site in front of a Kyiv bank that had agreed to sponsor a sculptural project aimed at beautifying the adjacent territory. This project became the first in the series Calculation, which ironically illustrates the consequences of the thoughtless pursuit of economic growth. In the urban environment, the crumbling diagrams and runaway graphs acquired hypertrophied proportions, metaphorically reflecting the real magnitude of the economic crisis.
Formally, as sculptures, the Bench-graphs recall the minimalist compositions of Robert Morris and other practitioners of minimalism from the 1960s. The simple beams of the “graphs,” faced with ceramic tile in primary colors, take the form of the letter “L” – the sculptural form that became iconic for Morris.
However, behind this formal similarity lies an entirely different artistic program. Kadyrova shifts the emphasis in the viewer’s participation away from the awareness of the parameters of one’s own body; precisely this function of the sculpture as a “measuring rule,” allowing a person to probe and identify his/her own physical parameters, was fundamental for 1960s minimalism. Kadyrova reveals the social rather than the physical, thus transforming minimalist sculpture into a metaphorical portrait of the economic crisis.
In the Bench-graphs, the site and the sculpture’s semantic content are an example of successful artistic symbiosis, with the bank – one of the key institutional players of the economic system – sponsoring an ironic-critical representation of its own activities.