Monday 29 October 2012

Review of Victoria Kovalenko: Pulse of a Sequence at Frameless Gallery

Victoria Kovalenko: Pulse of a Sequence
Frameless Gallery
22 October – 3 November 2012

Time never stands still, and one of the joys of photography is its ability to capture and preserve fleeting moments of transience. Yet Siberian born photographer, Victoria Kovalenko, seeks to move beyond this fragmentation, and to portray the flow of momentum, or, as she terms it in the title of her current exhibition at Frameless Gallery in Clerkenwell, the Pulse of a Sequence. Influenced by Eadweard Muybridge, her beautifully shot and painstakingly collated images document transition, overlaying instants, just as we experience them in real time, and telling a narrative. After all, “that’s how our brain works,” she explains. “It always wants to see the pattern, the story, it can’t help it.”[1]

Her works are large scale, since they seek to celebrate beauty. Water is a recurring theme, for example in Wave and Between Borders, where it is seen from above, swirling in perpetual motion, like the waves of time, continually in flux, and in her various pieces depicting surfers as they ride and crash through the breakers. Kovalenko works initially with a digital camera and then puts in a lot of postproduction hours, working, re-working, and examining every inch in minute detail so that the joins between the images are seamless. Looking at the resulting works, it is not a surprise to hear Kovalenko describe herself as a perfectionist.

Dance is another common motif, with Trisha Brown Studies paying tribute to the choreographer of its title, a pioneer in contemporary dance, as it captures a dancer recreating the seven moves which made up one of her early performances, comprising repetitions of just these moves. Downstairs, A Day Yet Without Me represents movement through colour, with eight repeated images of a girl poised in an arabesque, each subtly different in hue.

Calendar looks at the passing of time at a slower rate, with 31 circular shots of a girl’s exposed torso, top rolled up, hands in jeans pockets, each with light falling from a slightly different angle, corresponding to the phases of the moon. Next to it, Song Without Words also comprises 31 discs, each of which freeze frames a moment in time from a film of a pianist at play. The effect is like the display of the pages of a flickbook, or a zoetrope unfolded and spread out on the wall.

Other mediums depict ideas, but photography explores reality,” says Kovalenko. And yet her works are both real and unreal at the same time: moments of reality, telling a true story, even presented in the correct sequence, but, somehow, because we see them all at once, simultaneously, in a way in which real time would never permit, intriguingly impossible.


Victoria Kovalenko 
Beyond Borders 
© Victoria Kovalenko  
Victoria Kovalenko 
© Victoria Kovalenko

Victoria Kovalenko 
© Victoria Kovalenko

[1] See video interview with Clare Clinton at [accessed 28/10/12]

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