ARTIST STATEMENT: Born in a family of a poet and surrounded by words, for the first twelve-thirteen years of my life I knew I would be a writer. For me and in me, language was alive. Looking at my father, among other writers, I associated language with power and I wanted to be powerful.
When I was fourteen, my family left Russia for America. Because the departure happened against my will, the violence of the transition from St. Petersburg to New York launched me into a yearlong silence: something I had never experienced. When I began to speak again, it was in a foreign language and words had none of their previous vitality. For years to come they stayed pale shadows of themselves. Seeking a newâ€”but also very old, pre-verbalâ€”means of expression, I began to paint.
Embedded in my work is the story of dislocation, loss of language and identity and their painstaking rebirth through the revision of my relationship to power. For me, the beauty of language is inseparable from its brutality. But the primordial silence of images holds a more subtle and more eloquent kind of power.
In my work, I investigate concepts of place and memory, trace and fracture. I am interested in the self that emerges from the rubble of the original context.