Return to the Renaissance – and beyond – The Friday Times

Large pieces of literature create images in the minds of readers. Even if you’ve never been to a place, through the pages of fiction, you can visit big cities imagined by master storytellers. We can visualize St Petersburg by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Dublin by Jams Joyce, Lucknow by Quratulain Hyder, Bombay by Salman Rushdie, Cairo by Naguib Mahfouz, Danzig by Gunter Grass, Lima by Mario Vargas Llosa, Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk, Tokyo by Haruki Murakami and Patrick Modiano places, which may not correspond to real places, but which are more permanent, pleasant and – populated. Because each reader who opens his books becomes an inhabitant of these cities. Hence the perpetual increase in the population!

Yana Germann – ‘New Renessaince’ – Porcelain

Text, in addition to invoking visuals, often inspires visual artists as well. Or if that’s not quite right, there is a link between writers and artists. A number of image makers are in conversation with the authors, as the two creative endeavors are linked on many levels. Some writers begin their fiction with images (for example Garcia Marquez described the genealogy of his novel The fall of the patriarch seeing a photograph), and several artists interact with the literary works.

Yana Germann, multidisciplinary artist from Russia “dreams of a cultural dialogue between the greatest Russian writer [Dostoevsky] and herself ”, gave rise to a series of paintings and porcelain sculptures, which were exhibited from October 18 to 26, 2021 at the Russian House of Sciences and Culture in Paris. Organized by Eugenia Durandy de Naurois-Turgot, the solo exhibition was entitled “Dream of a Ridiculous Man” (from Dostoyevsky’s short story published in Russian in 1877).

If the artist based in Saint Petersburg maintains his dream-dialogue with the author of Saint Petersburg and “unearths his hopes for a mass spiritual renewal in order to save our civilization from destruction”; she also talks with artists from another era, the Renaissance, the glorious period of European civilization. Yana Germann aims for a new Renaissance (as mentioned in her Manifesto of Meta-Birth) in / by its art. In the works included in his solo exhibition, we find a relationship between the inner world of the Russian writer and the outer aspect gleaned from the aesthetics of the Italian masters.

Yana Germann – ‘New Renessaince’ – Oil on canvas

In fact, there is an intrinsic difference between the act of writing and the production of art. Training takes place in the solitude of an office, even in a café or inside a library, since writing is only one person’s business; but making art requires space, tools, materials – and in some cases the presence and participation of apprentices / pupils. The two types of creations are also accessible in different ways. A book is read by a single person in its space (both physical and mental), while a work of art is normally seen by several people simultaneously, as seen in galleries, museums and collections. public and private.

However, after / because of Covid-19 the situation changed, loneliness became a norm and shared spaces, experiences and encounters were associated with risk. Yana Germann in her manifesto comments on this condition: “The post-pandemic world pushes us to observe from the inside. The internal will manifest itself externally. To create not only as an individual, but as a member of the global community ”.

Yana Germann – ‘Portal’ – Oil on canvas

Yana Germann’s work serves as an intermediary between the past and the present, to glimpse and comment on a future which, like the dystopian world of Margaret Atwood’s novels, is pristine, precise and pure. In a number of works Germann refers to Renaissance imagery, but the works – with steep historical ties – point to another, a contemporary scenario. It is only if a viewer is familiar with paintings from the past that he chooses strands of them, but if not, the works offer a subtle view of our inner and outer landscape.

In fact, the separation between inside and outside is intriguingly challenged in Yana Germann’s art. One of its main motives is to present objects and human beings wrapped in an opaque or transparent fabric / material. It suggests a world that is hidden but not completely hidden. Every artist is aware that the outer arena / substance is as powerful a part as the inner self when it comes to the act of creation.

Yana Germann’s work not only connects us to Renaissance art, it opens with a Meta-Renaissance. It aims to make us recognize our situation: in art, life and ideas

Germann uses the symbol of creation, the egg which reproduced in various mythologies such as the beginning of the universe. Primordial egg, primitive or tangible, covered with white cloth, is balanced on its base in its Egg (porcelain sculpture), or placed in the middle of a light gray / white cloth, or covered with gold is next to several other white eggs laid out on a blank cloth.

Yana Germann – “The egg” – Oil on canvas

The egg was the beginning, just like the Rebirth, and in a way, it’s the same with the Metarbirthday in the case of Yana Germann. For her, “Metarenaissance explores what it means to be a human in our digital age”. The sense of loneliness manifests itself through a thin or translucent layer that overlaps but does not diminish identities. In his oil on canvas, New Renaissance, a profile of a woman (slightly inverted echoing the features of Nefertiti!) is under a plastic sheet with the curve of the figure forming a halo around the head. Likewise, in another porcelain sculpture, a woman’s head is wrapped in a thin cloth.

The subject of covering up, veiling and revealing is not unusual in a world marred by religious repression and pandemic protection, but Germann achieved sophistication in terms of pictorial language. His porcelain sculpture New Renaissance, in its refined and superb execution recalls the Hellenistic statue Nike of Samothrace (around 190 BCE). The thin sheet that protects the head of a young person in Germann’s work recalls the way in which a fragile transparent fabric clings to the marble figure of the Greek period.

Yana Germann – “The egg” – Porcelain

The most impressive aspect of his work is that it can be read differently in many parts of the world. In societies eager to subjugate women, it can be seen as a symbol of resistance, of affirming its presence behind / beyond any blinding effort / measure / material. This can be understood as a commentary on the societal scenario in / after Covid-19 in which hands were gloved, faces masked, bodies protected. An unprecedented situation which forced the artists to react, and according to its manifesto, pushed them “to observe from the inside ……. To create not only as an individual, but as a member of the global community ”.

Yana Germann – “Uncertainty” – Oil on canvas

The landscape of the global community is fully represented in some paintings by Yana Germann who “developed her artistic skills at the New York Academy of Art, New York, USA, and at the Imperial Russian Academy of Fine Arts”. In his painting, Last Supper, we find the tablecloth seized and picked up, but without any human presence. In another painting, Germann goes even further, because Uncertainty is a sheet of white tapestry spread out from above, representing an immense absence / void.

Perhaps the painting that fully and precisely represents our unhappy time is the one that has appropriated this secular clip of the Creation of Adam, from the fresco in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo painted between 1508-1512. In his canvas, called Portal, two hands are about to connect – but stop in the middle, under the sign of internet connectivity; perfectly rendered male and female hands on a white background of sheets. Germann reflects on this physical distance: “Loneliness in the digital age is more present than ever.

Yana Germann’s work not only connects us to Renaissance art, it opens with a Meta-Renaissance. It aims to make us recognize our position: in art, life and ideas – and in the remarkable paintings and sculptures of Yana Germann.

Source link

About Frances White

Check Also

Get that warm, fuzzy feeling – in your home

The transition from summer to winter triggers a primitive response of nesting, cocooning and hibernation. …