03.10.2019 – 31.10.2019

A solo show by Evgeniya Panina at the Vyksa Steel Works History Museum
The personal exhibition is dedicated to the study of one of Vyksa's key city symbols of – a unicorn.

While researching the history of the image captured on the Batashev family coat of arms – 'a silver unicorn against the blue background' – Panina addresses one of the best-known sources utilising similar imagery – the medieval tapestries 'The Lady and the Unicorn' and 'The Hunt of the Unicorn'. By focusing on one of the most frequently quoted mythical symbols, the artist seeks to expand its allegorical potential and enhance its meaning in the local historical context.

Starting with the tapestry technique, Evgeniya Panina creates a carpet woven from hardware store ropes – the 'unicorn hide'. In lieu of threads, it is woven onto the metal wire, which symbolizes the foundation and reason for the birth of the settlement, which later became the town of Vyksa –– iron ore. She recreates the legend about the founding of Vyksa, according to which the local soils owe rich ore deposits to unicorns, and that unicorn horn can turn stones into iron ore. Nonetheless, the artist sticks to the classic storyline: the unicorn is defeated with the help of an innocent maiden and dies, the dominance of man with a view to increase his wealth is established in the Murom forests.

«This work addresses the fine line between the use of natural resources and their exploitation, as well as the related exploitation of women. This work fits well into the ecofeminism discourse», says the artist.

It is no coincidence that Panina's site-specific project is displayed in the museum space. The installation is embedded in the opening of a cast-iron spiral staircase, combining a mythological artefact with a historical exhibit and forming a complex structure in which local and author's mythology, local history and conceptual art are intertwined.

Evgeniya Panina
Evgeniya Panina is a Russian artist.

In her artistic practice, Panina works with objects, video, CG, and sound. Her main artistic interests lie within the scope of victimology: the relationships between the 'victim' and the 'aggressor', the relationships between the 'real' and 'virtual' spaces in human consciousness.

Panina has participated in group exhibitions at the Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art, the Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin Foundation, the Sakharov Center and other venues.

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