"Yesterday Is The New Tomorrow"
Daria Melnikova
Curated by Alexander Burenkov
March 2017
Melnikova's works result from an observation and study of daily routines, clichés and contingencies, forming an attempt to reconstruct the inner logic of these mundane episodes and reveal private experiences that once made them possible and necessary. The artist is interested in public places and their influence on the behaviour of people united by common intentions and desires, mechanisms of conception of a unified aesthetic experience in standardised environments, made possible through readymade design and architectural solutions, philistine decor and stereotypes. In the series of works "Room 1. Brewing Harmony", "Room 2. Fool's Gold" and "Room 3. Follow Me" (2014-2015) Melnikova's appeal to the aesthetics of offices, rest rooms, coffee houses and standardised churches, skilfully designed not only with consideration of functionality, but also with an aim of creating a certain state, allowed for a discussion on ultimate conformism, submission to objects, adoption of norms and stagnation of internal development under the influence of external routine factors. In the project "EX-UVIA" (2016), the artist, reflecting on the shaky concept of home that has been deprived of association with physical space, constructed a fantasy environment of an abandoned dwelling deprived of comfort and coziness, likening it to animals' shed skin, shells or scales.


Daria Melnikova's collaboration with ISSMAG gallery coincides with her one of the first trips to Moscow, where she will use the whole city as an artistic medium – contemporary Moscow architecture will act as a witness of time reflecting cultural and political processes and changes in lifestyle of people of different generations. In tourist photos the crooked huts of Terekhovo village coexist organically with skyscrapers of Moscow-city in the background, so do an elderly woman and her teenage grandson who are forced to live in one apartment. Presenting modern Moscow as a collage of contrasting architectural styles, technologies and values, Melnikova will create an installation from elements typical to traditional Russian wooden architecture – twisted columns, carvings, balusters – combined with modern materials – plastic, metal and concrete, searching for a possibility of a harmonious dialogue and a joint way forward, impossible without continuity of traditions.


In 2015, Daria Melnikova was the first laureate of kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga, having won a two-month residency at the Berlin Institute of Contemporary Art KW. Justifying their choice, participants of the international jury of the prize Alessio Antoniolli and Robert Leckey described the artist's language: "Daria Melnikova achieves a balance between visually impeccable and intriguing, between manual work and mass production. From exquisite sculptures inspired by modernism, in which warm, patterned fabrics are used, to clay "prototypes" with hand-made prints and deformations, Melnikova's works attracted us precisely because they seem mysterious, bold in form and not so easily verbalized."