Fernweh: Into the Blue continues Andjana Pachkova’s exploration of longing in her 2nd solo exhibition at Stanley Street Gallery. 'Fernweh' means far-sickness, or longing for far-away, unexplored places. It is, in a way, nostalgia for what has never been, or more precisely for where one has never been.
“This topic is especially prescient due to the events that unfolded internationally in the year of 2020”. - Andjana Pachkova
The Ukrainian-born, Russian-raised and American-educated artist has been considering the concept of fernweh and gaining inspiration from her newly found passion for surfing Australia’s east coast.
Words by Richard Goodwin (2020)
Andjana Pachkova’s last exhibition was titled “Fernweh”, which is German for a longing for faraway places. Freedom. Unsurprising that she is a Russian painter and lawyer residing in Byron Bay and Sydney and exhibiting in Sydney and overseas.
Freedom for exploration.
Freedom of movement.
I used to call it: “Scratching the itch of attachment”.
But whose freedom are we really addressing and where does it come from?
Modernism has two handy drivers: the machine and indigenous art from Africa. The latter was a mine of artistic possibility, especially for Picasso and the Cubists. Russia played a large part in Modernism’s emergence before the first world war, with Tatlin, Leodinov, and Malevich on the machine side. Their energies are still pertinent to today’s predicament and imaginings .
So here we are in our Post-Modern shutdown. We have a burgeoning of Indigenous art within the latest Biennale. Also, we have the new threats of the coronavirus and climate change to match Modernism’s two wars.
From these drivers of modernism, AP has adopted and adapted to a powerful lineage which serves her practice well. The strategy is bold: freedom and escape. Both are underscored by her survival on a surfboard, AP’s newest frontier. The angry sea is both beautiful and threatening. It is this performance which contains the structures of her painting brushstrokes. One thinks of Shaun Gladwell’s iconic pirouettes on a skateboard in slow motion and in the rain at Bondi.
Her lineage is anchored to:
Cy Twombly, for his automatic expressionism, spitting sticks and gashes in all directions especially red.
De Kooning”s lyrical sweeping gestures and the violent collapse of his women.
Gerhardt Richter for his clinical technique and gut-wrenching colour.
George Baselitz’s axe-like slashes and upside-down-ness.
Pipilotti Rist’s attitude in performance.
These paintings respect their roots but be in no doubt as to their intention to break the rule that art can’t happen on holidays. They are playful.
AP is pure energy and Russian resilience. Always swimming and surfing and determined to do it well, she exposes herself to the chaos and luminosity of the ocean as though it were her palette. The antithesis of Claude Monet, who made Lily Ponds out of blindness and immobility, AP is a streak of lightening, a shooting star.