April 21-June 4, 2016
The next exhibition at Nancy Hoffman Gallery, “Life Turning,” opening on April 21st and continuing through June 4th, will include new video sculptures, photographs and videos by Asya Reznikov, the work of the past six years, during which life turning and life changing events took place. Two key pieces are inspired by masters from art history: A Cranach painting of Adam and Eve becomes the setting for Reznikov to comment on life’s cyclical nature, the apple from the Garden of Eden transforms into the seed from which blooms a baby. The graceful passing of the apple from woman to man, man to woman, hand to hand, leads to new life. The cycle loops, Eden is fecund, the baby blooms and grows and blooms again, surrounded by a peaceable kingdom.
Taking inspiration from Manet’s “A Bar at Folies Bergeres,” Reznikov creates a contemporary self-portrait. The barmaid in Manet’s panting shows fatigue after serving drinks to the full room. Reznikov has a similar look of exhaustion as she stands at her “milk bar.” All props at Reznikov’s bar refer to her heritage and her burgeoning family: bottles of Mother’s Milk dark beer sit on the counter along with a vintage egg holder in this photograph, an interesting comment on women’s role as givers and nurturers.
A video entitled ‘Milking” continues this theme, in which the artist fills two crystal goblets with milk as she squeezes her breasts, first right then left, to extract milk. A sculpted white resin frame comprised of galactagogues (plants that increase breast milk production) relates to the video’s subject and references art history in plants that complement the subject, not unlike medieval altarpieces.
The title of the exhibition “Life Turning” is also the title of the artist’s video that tracks her pregnancy through each season of the year. Her belly is small in summer and fall and grows larger with baby in winter. She stands in the midst of nature, a paean to nature and to the process of change in her body as she grows a new human being. She spins in nature like a vision of a dervish or a fertility goddess announcing a new life.
In a series of light box-like images, entitled “Jackpot,” Reznikov’s sense of humor, and her interest in both high and low culture play a role. She gives a nod to casinos and the glitzy life-style in these “in your face” pieces. In “Jackpot: Cherry, Banana and Lemon,” she allows in the fear of not knowing what you are going to get, “life is a gamble, a roll of the dice.”
And finally, in her signature “Packing” pieces, the viewer is invited to travel with the mother-to-be to the hospital. In “Packing for Delivery, Boy,” Reznikov follows her list of hospital essentials for a boy with tiny “male” outfits, hospital paperwork, toiletries and camera equipment, along with enough clothes to comprise a homecoming outfit. In “Packing for Delivery, Girl,” she follows the same format, but all has changed with child number 2, a pink baby.
Unlike her earlier work, which addressed travel, language, identity in different cultures as foreigner and traveler, immigration, emigration, and otherness, as well as domestic identity, Reznikov now focuses on the universal issue of the life cycle, using her own personal experience as jumping off point to explore what it means to bring a new life to the world.
In 2010 Reznikov created and showed the first images of “Relocating Home,” a richly colorful photographic series, depicting three cities where she has lived: New York, Berlin and St. Petersburg. She now adds images of her new-found home in the country outside New York, where she has lived for the past three years. She built a model of her former apartment building on 28th Street in Manhattan (27 stories complete with 69 balconies) intricately built out of Westchester postcards. For each city, she builds a model of home or landmark from another city where she has lived; e.g., St. Petersburg has a model of the Brooklyn Bridge, made of Russian postcards, appearing to span various canals and the Neva River. In New York she made a model of a dacha, a Russian country house, out of postcards from New York. In each city the artist’s hand holds the postcard model, as she integrates it into the environment with clever use of camera perspective. As the artist says: “While the model appears to fit into its surroundings, it conspicuously originates from an entirely different location.”
Asya Reznikov was born in Russia in 1973. She received her B.F.A. from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and an M.F.A. from Hunter College, City University of New York. She also studied at Universitat der Kunst, Berlin; University of Wolverhampton, England and Rochester Institute of Technology, New York.
Recent solo exhibitions include Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan; Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, New York; Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania; Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania; The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio and BASE, Schwarzheide, Germany.
Her work is included in numerous collections in this country and in Europe, among them: Hearst Collection, New York, New York; Vero Beach Museum of Art, Florida; Wake Forest University Museum, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; 21c Museum, Louisville, Kentucky and Kunstwerk, Sammlung, Alison und Peter W. Klein, Eberdingen-Nussdorf, Germany.
The artist is the recipient of Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) Graduate Fellowships, Berlin; Edna Wells Lutz Frederick Foundation Scholarship, Germany; The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, New York; Morton Godine Fellowship, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston.
She received the Culturas2008 Award, Ministry of Culture of Spain, Madrid and Jutta-Cuny Franz Foundation Award, Dusseldorf, Germany.
For additional information and/or photographs, please call 212-966-6676 or e-mail the gallery at email@example.com.