Olena Newkryta

Vienna, Austria

»Light sensitivity is such a special photographic characteristic which no other medium can offer.«

Olena, for those who are not familiar with what you do, can you describe to us the motivation behind your artistic practice? 
My cross-media works – whether photography, video, or installation – often evolve from a conceptual and, at the same time, performative and processual approach. The material I am mostly working with is photographic materials and textiles as for me they are both excellent repositories for the storage of traces of human interaction imprints and organic processes, images that don’t simply represent reality, but are rather directly caused by it. In my artistic process I often try to access the information these materials embrace and I directly engage with it by different means in order to debate topics such as: the collective production of images, the decay of ideologies or the transformation of social structures. 

In the present time, when everyone can be a photographer of sorts, the role of the medium is sometimes contested. How do you, as one who has made the choice to work in this medium respond to that assertion?
I don’t think that photography needs justification, nor for that matter should artists who choose to work in that medium find it necessary to “defend” their position. I constantly produce images with my smartphone, which I then send, upload, and so on. I always move in a visual exchange that works differently from my artistic work. I think what distinguishes these two spheres most, that is, artistically intended photographs versus photographs dedicated to other purposes, both of which often overlap, is the sense of expectation, the intention in their production and their look; by which I mean, how such photographs are “read” and located within their respective contexts.

Is there an aspect of photography that is predominant – in other words: Is there anything that can be expressed through photography better than through any other medium? 
Absolutely, because I work mostly without a camera with analog material; light sensitivity is such a special photographic characteristic, and is one which no other medium can offer me. In addition, the theme of visibility as a political category is an essential interest of my artistic exploration and therefore, I find it most productive to negotiate aspects of it in photography. Since the material changes as soon as it is exposed to light and becomes visible – I try to explore this contradiction of seeing, capturing and change in different ways with this medium.

What can we look forward to in your show on the occasion of the first edition of FOTO WIEN? 
In my first solo exhibition “if all this seems too abstract, let me provide a literally embodied image” at Fotogalerie Wien I will present a selection of my previous work, supplemented by newly produced works. I have focused on image production and the handling of images, whereby the “viewer community”, the traces of collective interventions and image production as a social practice, is attributed an essential role. At the Otto Wagner Postsparkasse, as part of the exhibition Curator's Choice, I will also be showing a new installation that addresses the collective, the “we” as a fragile structure.

03 Olena Newkryta Foto Wien Sewing Screens ©Newkryta

sewing screens, video installation on 3 screens, sound 16'30'', 2017; Exhibition view: Everything a Hand Can' Take, Kunsthalle Wien, 2017, (c) Olena Newkryta

04 Olena Newkryta Foto Wien Until We Fianally Meet Again ©Newkryta

until we finally meet again, site-specific photographic installation, b/w PE paper of different formats, 2018; Exhibition view: Reload the Apparatus, AIL, Vienna, 2018, (c) Olena Newkryta

05 Olena Newkryta Foto Wien 2018 Denn Erst Das Gesehene Bild ©Newkryta

denn erst das gesehene Bild ist in Wahrheit ganz Bild geworden, photographic installation, light-sensitive photo paper, setting cloth, 90 x 160 cm (variable size), 2018, (c) Olena Newkryta

01 Olena Newkryta Foto Wien © Jorit Aust

Interview: Florian Langhammer
Photos: Courtesy of the artist if not otherwise credited

Olena Newkryta's website

#photography, #fotowien

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