The Other Shore
Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art presented an exhibition by Lana Stalnaya whose paintings explore the nature of the soul
Nearly three dozen artworks documenting the deeply personal experiences of their creator
An attempt to find an aesthetically sublime form for emotions
Symbolic imagery used to render the inner workings of the soul
Lana Stalnaya’s The Other Shore oil painting series is a refined genre-bending artistic experiment whose inherent dynamics is triggered by the viewer peering deep into the Other. Female bodies, geometric forms of the black-tinted sea and bright red colour insets provide links between the viewer and the thoughts and feelings hidden on the other shore. Unable to access them, we can nevertheless share in their presence and experience.
Reflecting on the artworks showcased in Erarta, Lana Stalnaya says, ‘In my creative practice, I am focusing on the workings of the soul, exploring its borderline states and the functioning of memory – including body memory. Our souls are unique in the way they are capable of leaving things behind and yet still remembering them. I use symbolic imagery to render the inner workings of the soul as though they were manifested in the body. Swept off its feet, the soul can only lie and breath quietly to ease the pain, while a thoughtless word leaves a raw sore on its elbow, and a dream that never came true bruises its knee. All this leaves permanent marks on the soul’s body.
Every artwork aims to capture a certain emotion, to find an aesthetically sublime form for things that can be neither expressed nor reduced to words and objects. Needless to say, every picture is a product of my personal experience. These are bits and pieces of my joys and sorrows, various defeats, curative and destructive thoughts. Each work is an act of aesthetic reinvention of things that are no longer functional. Pain that can hurt no more becomes an exhibit. In this context, every picture is a visual experiment for me.
Time will set the record straight, but I believe in the importance of documenting this continuous present. Our memory has its limitations, but the body remains the reliable recording medium for the priceless marks on the soul. This body memory is a testament to the past, and the only way for our souls to grow.’