Dunya Zakharova demonstrates some extraordinarily refined, perfected works. She gives a lot of attention to the quality of surfaces reaching the maximum possible expressiveness of the materials. There are mostly ‘objects’, which in this case means soft doll-like sculptures. But it’s not the kind of dolls you can buy in a shop. Zakharova’s artistic imaginarium references a supernatural world, a fairytale world, filled with spirits, mermaids, and elves. You can feel a hidden threat in them. Her characters are not kind but they are also not definitely evil. They are more like ‘sovereign creatures’ whose origin is not quite clear. They are the fruit of dreams, fantasies and unconscious fears. When they are embodied, when they enter the real world in the shape of dolls they begin their safe and artificial life inside the artistic world – they become objects for inspection. When we look at them we sterilize them. Looking strips phantasms of their psychic power.
The new works are the next step in developing this imaginarium. Now we see large canvases with anthropomorphic faces that make you think of the primitive images of the Sarmatian idols. The facial features are blurred and shifted; you can hardly see them through the white shroud. You get an impression that this time we are face to face with some gods of winter, maybe demons of coldness and freezing. Their coldness is so total and all-consuming that it does not even allow their ‘individuality’ to come through, leaving only some indistinct features. However, when these demons appear on the gallery walls they become powerless – now we own them, not the other way.