if barking sounds
If you can hear barking in the sound.

"Owls are not what they seem."
Twin Peaks.

Anna Afonina presents a new series of paintings and objects in which she explores the problem of the gaze, addressing directly the gaze of the hunter and the victim. In this project, prepared in the last few months specifically for the pop/off/art gallery, she questions the subject-object relationship and its hybridity.
The artist concentrates specifically on the figures of the hunter and the victim, as their interaction is initially built on the privileged gaze, when one looks, observes, peeks, peeks at the other, who is unaware that he is watching at this moment. The author's interest in the gaze is particularly relevant today, when the politics of post-truth has probably reached its limit and is approaching a crisis point.
In her new pictorial series, Anna endows the hunter's optics with qualities typical of the gaze of reptiles or the human eye equipped with a thermal imager. Thanks to this we begin to see how the otherworld suddenly appears before us - cryptids, monstrous animals, mystical characters and unearthly people look at us with glowing eyes from the paintings. Through these heat spots, the artist captures traces: abandoned and acquired guises of various entities, which have chosen as a resistance strategy numerous transformations, transitions, flowing, "immaterialization" and assemblages. Through these transformations, the object moves from the passive position of the victim to the active position of the hunter - it starts looking at the observer itself, and the hunter suddenly becomes its target. It is at this point that the formula "to see is to lose" works like a spell - the loss of subjectivity and its flow from one to the other leads to a shift in optics, to the realization that what we see is also looking at us.
This point of shift, the failure between the real and the unreal, the expected and the manifest, the heard and the said, the true and the false inevitably leads to the search for an alternative language and an unconventional space of communication. And the artist finds it precisely in reincarnations and flowing roles.
It is important to note that the expression taken as the title of the exhibition is a slightly modified part of the mnemonic phrase for a chemical experiment: "If you hear barking in the sound, don't ignite the hydrogen. Simple and as if carrying no meaning, the phrase warns against a real explosion. Thus, the images and characters in Anna Afonina's new series of works, flowing and transforming, cease to be what they seem. Perhaps by changing and, at first glance, losing touch with the real world, they are also called upon to save us from an invisible and unknown threat.
Lizaveta Matveeva

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