In terms of established visual genres the still life is a painting. Representations of objects can be found as early as at ancient burial sites, where perishables were engraved upon the tomb walls. The nature died for life but was conserved for death.
‘Still-lifeness’ is programmatic for Daria Krotova’s work. Her most famous early works are stoneware fake insects and vegetables. Beautifully wrapped in paper or fixed on the walls they attract your attention with their liveliness, but in fact are just artificial dead objects.
Daria Krotova explored the idea of ‘still-lifeness’ further, and her later works projected the bitter truth of death-likeness of art and even pernicious quality of mimesis and every attempt of portraying things, rather than just deceitful life-likeness. This concept was realized in equally naturalistic replicas of decay and decomposition, for example, of rotten apples, meat carcasses, and a skeleton of a pre-historic animal at an excavation site.
The most important method of the artist in the art of ‘still-lifeness’ is contextualization. Her still-lifes are installations with the objects juxtaposed against each other in an artificial space, which is aimed to provoke stimulating situations of perception failure and cognitive dissonance. This technique is identical to trompe-l'œil, used in painting to create optical illusion. Daria Krotova either extracts the object from its depiction or exposes the depiction for the audience physically, so that the viewer experiences the affect of ‘still-lifeness’ in an immediate haptic contact.
The artist’s development of ‘still-lifeness’ thus corrupts, mystifies, and problematises the natural perceptive continuum of space and time.
Daria Krotova finds a new turn for the idea of ‘still-lifeness’ in the Pechersky Gallery installation. She artistically contextualizes segmented paper tubes and hoses of different length and thickness. They are exhibited along with сurved wooden chairs, worn ready-mades with traces of violence. These abstract forms are projected in diverse settings, and their interpretation depends on the conceptual paradigm. They are modeled of multi-ply paper and painted to resemple organic objects, therefore they are also exciting as borderline artifacts across painting and sculpture.
Arranged in the same space with the chairs, these figures seem to represent life on hold, if not even rubbish. But the detachment of artifacts communicates additional valuable meanings. In accordance with Daria Krotova’s artistic quest of ‘still-lifeness’, it speaks for the disintegration of social relationships, which are substituted by tweaks reducing living organisms to objects. The viewer is invited to enter this carussel of decay and participate in spontaneous and staged set-ups.
The apparent idea of ‘Still Lifes’ to experience with the artist, who involves the viewer by extracting the ‘still-lifeness’ from the creative space, is already there in the present-day real life. The unfriendliness towards the nature makes it unlikely that someone would want to be buried with it.