In this series of works I wanted to explore the phenomenon of self-restraint, censorship and the intimidating consequentialism of decision-making. They discuss fatalism and how this interacts with the notion of individual responsibility, drawing a parallel between these questions and working with clay as a material. Ceramics requires as part of the creative process a physical and irreversible transformation in the nature of the object, leading to a moment of tension where you relinquish the control of the preparation and lose control within the kiln.
I was born in Russia, a country that through its history and institutions has instilled a deeply-rooted and complex system of behavioural censorship and control, where it is not just the state that exercises the power, it becomes absorbed into the society and the individual. It was reflecting on the implications on these systems on my own personal values, actions and choices that led me to decide to use clay to express this phenomenon viscerally through my making.
My pieces contain both control and chaos. To achieve the technical results I seek, I make my work using rough and sturdy clay, which allows me to have a full control of the shapes and silhouettes, typically derived from constructivist architectonic principles. Then I allow the exciting part to happen: applying various layers of glazes, clays and minerals, before firing the work. The final result can’t be fully predicted or controlled – the heat of the kiln offers a moment of fundamental and unpredictable transformation, where all the materials go through complex chemical reactions. As a result the layers melt, peel, decay, leaving me as a maker to accept the final result that I only partially participated in.