Plague and Locusts 2020. July. Featured artist: Dmitrii Kilaga

© Dmitrii Kilaga. Courtesy of the artist.

© Dmitrii Kilaga. Courtesy of the artist.

Exhibiting artist Dmitrii Kilaga lives and works in Murmansk – a city in northwestern Russia, above the Polar Circle at the end of a deep bay off the Barents sea. He is a painter and videographer. He began to work with video in 2018. Asked to describe his journey he said: “The main reasons and things that drive me to create were always alienation between my personality and society, and tabu for words to express my point of view, and connection to my memories. Tabu for words doesn’t mean that I don’t have a right to say something and especially to hurt someone’s feelings but to bring calamity to my fate as primal fear.

In case If thoughts are material and can harm your soul and body how can I deal with this struggle in my mind – I’ve asked myself.’ And every time when I was reflecting on these questions I heard the ambient soundscapes. And after another day of thinking I hatched the idea: what if I connect my fear with memory and soundscapes in one digital canvas? Since then I started to link my videos and my own ambient produced sounds and at the same time expressing what I allocated and was frightened about something fatal and avoiding straight speech of tabu words for myself.”

Collusion. Digital video, 2020. © Dmitrii Kilaga

Responding to the Ephemereye artist call Plague and Locusts 2020, inviting artists to show all their video work that they can’t exhibit otherwise due to the Covid 19 pandemic, Dmitrii submitted two pieces. Both are black and white, both are accompanied by an eerie soundtrack, but the visual references are quite different. It is interesting that Kilaga has selected the word ‘collusion’ as a title for one of his works. The word that was quite widely used in the context of the political climate of the last few years. In his piece, however, it acquired a slightly different connotation, that of the relationship between the pandemic, people and the government. In Dmitrii’s own words: “The collusion is a forced agreement between two sides: the government and a person in isolation, where the latter can only wait for the pandemic to pass like a train, but the waiting time is not known when a sense of alienation and misunderstanding develops in parallel.” A distorted image of Malevich’s ‘Girls in the field’ is superimposed with the image of a moving train. Both have a heavy symbolic load. Distorted painting of a well known symbol of many meanings, stability being one of them, and a seamlessly endless freight train moving across the frame. More than superimposition of two images in motion, one symbolic, and one real, the passage of time and possible cultures can be read in there.

In\Reverse\Off. Digital video, 2020. © Dmitrii Kilaga.

In\Reverse\Off is a work of a more personal nature: the dream states of a confined protagonist, whose world has collapsed into his bedroom, but nevertheless his imaginary life is outside, fed by his dreams, projections and recollection. Dmitrii explains: “During the self-isolation everyone has an imaginary attempt to play or simulate movement of your personality in different locations. […]at the same time you are on the bed and immediately transported to the shore of the bay and back. And this is how our memory […] plays in reverse direction.”

Dmitrii Kilaga exhibited in his native Murmansk, as well as Moscow in Russia.

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