April 19, 2011 at the State Tretyakov gallery opened the first part of the special project of Anton Olshvang Layer 99/9″.
Part 2 – is the result of the artist’s reflections on the post-industrial aesthetic. Eleven large-scale works, executed in mixed media – macro-photography and metal, – ultimately make reference to the symbolic dichotomies of culture and civilization, consciousness and the unconscious, sign and symbol. An attempt has been made to artistically analyse the totally insoluble foundations of civilization itself. A special role in this analysis has also been played by the material: aluminium, not found in nature in a pure form, turns out to be the alchemical symbol of cultural production. A light metal, indispensable for space exploration – what can more clearly define man’s activity?
But what next? The answer to this question, according to the author’s idea, is given by the works in which the waste material from the processing of metal is used – aluminium plates with holes left after the production of badges and captured in photographs. Emptiness, expressed literally, thus continuing the very discourse of emptiness: the objects, cut out using a lathe, not only form a hollow space, but are displaced from the consciousness of the viewer. Only by losing their materiality do they gain meaning. Thus the impression of the viewer is the impression from actually existing, recognisable objects, but at the same time – not created by anyone specifically. The object arises only through the artistic means of the photographic project – in no other way, equal to how emptiness in the place of the cut-out metal exists in reality and unpremeditatedly, transforming into an object of culture, but a paradoxical object: distinct from cultural artefacts, which are created consciously and address that very same consciousness. Additional meaning is brought by playing with the scale: three-centimetre metal badges by means of macro-photography are enlarged many times. Ultimately, the aim of the project “Layer 99/9. Part 2” is to study culture as a product of the collective unconscious: from the artefact – to the archetype.