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2011 – 2023

Kadyrova’s asphalt series is a multifaceted project, uniting several, at first glance, disparate artistic practices. On one level of interpretation it can be considered a commentary on the transformations that Kyiv’s urban space underwent during preparations for the Euro 2012 football championship. The city was actively renovated and beautified in anticipation of foreign visitors. The renovation of roads became one of the main objects of this process. In the months leading up to the tournament the reconstruction and replacement of the roads reached such proportions that the entire city was full of piles of discarded pieces of asphalt. In this expired asphalt the artist saw a portrait of the city now passing into history. Following the artistic strategy of the readymade, Kadyrova decided to create a collection of Kyiv’s streets out of fragments of asphalt roads. The fact that the objects in this series were not created specially for an art space but collected on the city streets adds an unmistakable social aspect to the interpretation of this project. These objects serve as a clue, a certain metaphorical trampoline that catapults the viewer into the field of social reflections, forcing him/her to think about the problems of the city’s infrastructure as well as its historical development. Upon entering the exhibition space, the asphalt is instantly endowed with not only social but also formal-aesthetic ideas, balancing on the verge of installation object, sculpture and painting. Kadyrova intensifies this indeterminacy of genre by scrupulously selecting pieces of asphalt, looking for already 

existing compositions in the cracks and ruts of the former road surface and shaping them into a particular exhibition format of typical mid-sized artistic canvases. Many of the asphalt works can be read as landscapes where one can infer the horizon line, or as abstract painting compositions. Furthermore, these asphalt objects are relatively flat (their height and width are greater than their thickness); they hang on the wall, formally assuming the parameters of paintings.

The works’ material and dimensions add yet another angle for interpreting this project. The pieces of asphalt, despite their mid-sized format, are extremely heavy. In order to display them, it is necessary to change the gallery walls or avoid hanging the especially heavy “canvases,” since the technical parameters of the building cannot take their weight. Such installation challenges ally this project with the practices of process art in the 1960s, which was often used in institutional critique when objects that did not fit into the space were brought to the gallery. By drawing attention to this “technical censorship” the artists questioned the nature of art: if art is that, which is exhibited in art spaces, then what are the works that don’t fit inside?Kadyrova’s asphalt objects continue the discussion about the nature of art, uniting Duchamp’s tradition of the readymade with modernist formalism, process art and institutional critique in a paradoxical way, through an artistic gesture that is both so simple and so complex.

Hanover Kunstverein, Hanover, Germany 2023

© Тексты о работах: Олена Червонык, Виталий Атанасов

© Дизайн: Денис Рубан 

© Переводы: Лариса Бабий,

Екатерина Кочеткова, Марьяна Матвейчук,

Куролай Абдухаликова

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