On 13 April BIS ART GALLERy opened Vangranda’s solo exhibition «Mickey knows how to get in touch».
The main plot of the exhibition takes the viewer to an alternate universe, described by the artist herself as a Mouse Ghetto. This is a world where cage fights take place, and between the blocks a mouse crack is sold. A world where the eternal conflict between good and evil has been transformed into a ring, where all the most unusual, sharp and dangerous things are happening, but at the same time they are familiar to every adept in this dimension.
In Vangranda’s works there are certain recurring symbols and images: McDonalds, Pepsi, the sacred cow and other animals, cartoon characters, traffic cones and biohazard symbols. The digital space is expressed in the form of a smiley face that wanders from work to work, zoomorphic characters suffer from an overdose of information, but are displayed with the awakened Crown chakra.
Duck syrup serves as a euphemism for strong medicine, and the ace symbolizes the pinnacle of reality, the lockdown that each of us falls into reflects the imprisonment in something deeper than just a personal home space. The viewer, together with the author, is perpendicular to reality, as if falling out of it. Vangranda shows the disintegration of the familiar world, in which, according to her, the truth is contained.
Paintings let us view common things from different perspective, which allows to observe unprocessed images. Early works are more personal, they depict the artist’s environment and her questions to the world through symbols. Later works express more «generalized» views on life, detached from the personality of the author.
In the work of Vangranda, there are always repetitive series of images. She notes the great influence of meditation practices on her change in the perception of the world, and during submergence in Eastern spiritual practices, her work undergoes changes in parallel with her. We can say that each work is also a fixation of her personal changes. A retrospective of the artist’s works demonstrates some visual techniques associated with her way of understanding herself, the world around her and her inner state. The early works have a dense, rich background, but less abundant presence of characters, as well as a clear structure of reflections on one specific topic. It was a period of spiritual enlightenment, hence the presence of a stream of images and a mass of information that mixed together and represented a pile of flowers, not symbols. Then came the release phase: fresh flowers and visually unfilled canvases with empty areas. Vangranda gets rid of the fixation on her own ego and dissolves in the external flow of information. Logomania, obsession with characters from cartoons and video games are already a reflection on public life, rather than on the personal.
The characters in the paintings are well-known images of the childhood pop culture of Millennials and Gen Z, of which Vangranda is a representative. In particular, these are characters from cartoons and video games, or objects of everyday life. These images of pop culture and everyday objects are so ingrained in our lives and with such frequency and massiveness they catch our eyes that they have already become impersonal and have lost their original meaning. As a result, in her work artist builds her own system of symbols and his own language. Here you can see the influence of Jean Baudrillard’s ideas on the perception of the artist’s world.
Symbols are brought together on canvases and intertwined in a wild maelstrom of visual imagery of alternate reality created by Vangranda. Everything exists here at once, because it is a MOUSE RING, where the metamorphosis of reality takes place. They understand that life — it’s a game, and they «play» it, bypassing the reality. The leitmotif of the chessboard is a visual embodiment of this idea.
Who is Mickey? Why does he know where to look for us? Vangranda replies:
«Here, reality is already turning into a state of confusion and escape. Who controls this space? Something that is simultaneously in the heart of everyone and nowhere, because the NOTHING does exist and it does not exist at the same time… The NOTHING itself is now in decay. Mickey knows that. Mickey, being originally just an image, took root in the consciousness of everyone, and having gained mass, he created his permanent presence. Now Mickey is everywhere and observes from the inside, he is like us and we are him».