Suspended Drama in the Photographs of Tim Parchikov

Tim Parchikov deals in dramatic moments of transformation. By pairing the sincerity of reportage-style photography with the cinematic devices of film noir thrillers, he suspends the uncertainty that precedes social change in ominous photographs and videos.

Parchikov’s work on view in “Fast-Moving Tides” at Priska Pasquer Gallery preserves the mercurial range of impressions experienced during times of political and cultural shifts. In his “Burning News” photographs, his approach is direct and narrative; subjects hold burning newspapers before a snowy Russian landscape. The headline-bearing kindling, caught mid-burn, covers each individual’s face, causing an unnerving sense of anonymity and vulnerability that questions every man’s ability to access the verity behind the news. The Hitchcock-style suspense of what will happen to the people of Parchikov’s allegory aligns with the real-time anxiety surrounding what the next story will report, and whether it will be true.

In a complementary series of cityscapes, the photographs themselves undergo the alchemic changes that their urban subjects are experiencing. With a post-apocalyptic nod, Parchikov inverts the coloration of his native Moscow. The skyscraper in Moscow Cheremushky glows orange and kryptonite yellow, referring to the shape-shifting flames of “Burning News” and to the promise of spontaneous combustion. This is a city on the verge of transformation, caught in a moment between conflicts with uncertain ends.

In a third series, images of Icelandic landscapes are a calmly eerie coda. In works like Raise the dead I, Iceland, Parchikov shoots the peaceable country’s icy vistas, in some cases layering the photographs with hand-drawn symbols. While the scenes are devoid of obvious tension, dark filters, dramatic lighting, and mysterious annotations communicate a sense of hibernation come to an end—a long tranquil sleep about to be roused. 

Fast-Moving Tidesis on view at Priska Pasquer, Cologne, June 13th–Aug. 22nd, 2014.

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