The Unexpected Guest

2019, watercolours on paper 70 х 50 сm, video

2019 — Solo show, Centre Point, Basel, Switzerland

The new graphic series of the artist Tanya Akhmetgalieva is the time machine, an itinerary list and at the same time an observation diary, created in Basel and specially for Basel.

Symbols and objects organized inside this visual map are fragments of reality marked on the route as lighthouses or markers and signs in order that one could find the way to crypt, treasure trove, forgotten or abandoned by the guest during his trip. In her works, Tanya Akhmetgalieva recreates reality from dreams, from reverie, from memories, collecting them from everywhere and building up a collection of treasures. 

This collection reminds us about childhood, where everyone had their own “hiding place”, where the most important items of value of the owner were kept. Such hiding places or treasury is small secret for a child. In adulthood, these are already getting to become enigma which is not appropriate to share with anybody.

Watercolor lies uneven background, stretching on paper, like memories, frozen in memory, but dissolved in time and vanished by minutes of waiting. For the author the distance is not measured in kilometers, it is composed of signs, symbols and events.

Bright, almost plastic colours conflict with black and white, almost faded images reminiscent of black and white photographs, memories or excerpts from film. The author cuts out the details from the paper, trying to erase something and in other words to recollect as a mosaic in another image of her new universe. The “Unexpected Guest” series is an observation of the carousel of events that fill a person’s life from the moment when feelings begin to dissolve in time and space.

Drawings record objects or events, creating a museum of memories, where each object has its own history, has its own provence, and all together they come form a separate layer of memory collection.

Tanya collects this story to complete it for herself, not to tell it. Like a children’s toy forgotten on the shelf of an antique shop, memories slip away, are covered with the dust of time, and real people or events become phantoms.

In her attempts to feel the fabric of reality, the artist stretches out her hand towards it, but instead of hard rock and flesh, she finds a papiermache, almost artificial set of fantasy mountains.

The hero of this visual diary is the same uninvited, unwelcome und unexpected guest who rovers in an attempt to find a home. Sunbeams are hiding from him behind the clouds, leaving only a slight feeling of warmth on the body.

Like a watercolor spilled on paper spreading beyond the borders of the drawing, history runs away from the viewer, remaining lots of the facts and events behind the brackets. The viewer himself turns out to be an involuntary guest in someone else’s notebook, where the story is intertwined with the story, and the thread of the story is constantly dissolving between the lines.

“Unexpected Guest” is a dream that has become an obsession from which it is impossible to wake up, it is a storm that has broken into a sunny day, turning everything upside down, it is a memory caused by a random detail and it is a feeling that a man did not expect to get. 

As the essence of dreams on the author’s palm remains laying a crystal, reminiscent of the secret, of the part of the treasury box collected during the journey. This crystal is illusively shining and shimmering, attracting attention and also breaking the reality we are used to into fragments.  


tanya akhmetgalieva
tanya akhmetgalieva