Josh Lilley is thrilled to present Yana Naidenov's first solo show at the gallery. Naidenov’s pulped-paper sculptures imply architecture at a geographical fringe—the coastal bunker, rammed-earth buildings, the dilapidated monument abandoned alongside the ideologies that brought it forward, incomplete buildings forgotten after economic recession, or archeological remnants dug from the ground. Splitting and twisting on themselves, her sculptures portray a sense of hiatus and doubt between imminent collapse and stability. The resolute bulk of the sculptures is deceptive; aspiration and historical certainties become porous, fragmented, light and perishable.
For Eye Scaffold Naidenov employs the language of construction and pursues a discussion of the body, developing sculptures that propose images as constructed entities. We build reality through this lens, negotiating between the visible and invisible. Eye Scaffold refers to the building site, a culturally universal location—fenced-off and tarpaulined, supported by grids and matrices—that serves as a metaphorical backstage for images in the process of formation. Traditional materials of construction (concrete, rebar, sand) as well as elements that often surround and support the body (packaging, vaseline, salt-dough, pulped paper, shower sponges) are employed in a manner that foregrounds physicality and its implied labour, maintenance and fallibility.
Naidenov has recently been developing a sculptural conversation with drawing and the traditional structures of painting—the grid, the woven textile, the frame, the image as a skin—that often begins with the line as a simple unit of construction. Employing these lines in an intermittent play between opacity and transparency, between positive and negative space, there is an ongoing negotiation of surface - in which there is more than one line of sight to follow. Works such as Kumbhaka and Maha Bandha, titled after yogic breathing practices, introduce subtle references to the idea of breathing as a corollary to understanding. Some works are covered, heavily varnished, tight-packed or submerged in silicone, as though frozen and restricted, while others are left bare to breathe, thus emphasizing a pervading notion of porousness in the body of work as a whole. The artworks act as vessels, windows or visors—images that self-consciously refer to their own structure—for looking at and looking through.