2011, Installation,
 7 parts
100 X 100 cm.

Textile, Embroidery, Sewing.


2011 — Turku biennal 2011 "Patterns of the mind", The Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova Museum, Turku, Finland.

I know that the spectators will find it frightening. Nevertheless, I do not aim to scare anyone, it just happens.

— Tatiana Akhmetgalieva

Embroidered in fluorescent green threads on a black canvas background, a naive drawing of a face, hands, a smile, and screams is glowing in the dark. As though taken from a school exercise book and magnified multiple times, the spontaneous picture is reminiscent of childhood fears, when blurred sounds and shadows make up a scary fantasy in a dark room. “I know that the spectators will find it frightening. Nevertheless, I do not aim to scare anyone, it just happens,” Tatiana Akhmetgalieva admits.

Textile is a material well known in contemporary art for its ready-made and tactile qualities. Even if textile is traditionally considered a feminine material, that is not quintessential for Tatiana Akhmetgalieva.

What more, it is important to her not only because of her professional training in the field of textile art. She studied at the Textile Department of the Alexander von Stieglitz Art and Industry Academy in Saint Petersburg.

In addition to her textile panel installations, such as “Stages of a Puppet” (Stadii kukolki) nominated for the Kandinsky Prize in 2010 and “Klotho” (Kloto), which was displayed at the first Ural Industrial Biennale of Contemporary Art in Yekaterinburg, she is also famous for her video artwork.

Tatiana Akhmetgalieva ventured into video art at the Pro Arte Institute where she created a series of video installations, e.g. “Cradle” (Kolybelka) or “Happy Childhood” (Schastlivoye detstvo), that are associated with bizarre or even surreal childhood images.

For Tatiana Akhmetgalieva, working with fabrics mainly allows her to show different relationships. Fabrics are woven. They are created by connecting threads. These multiple entwinements may serve as an allegory of the relationships between people, the connection of different thoughts and the conception of their meaning. The thread of life is also woven.

Like the goddesses of fate, the Parcae, spin, twine and cut the threads of human destiny, the artist embroiders, ties, and pulls the threads, uniting her characters. For her, the threads embody words and thoughts that pass from one person to another.

According to her own words, these images represent her “inner” voices. It is dark and there is someone whispering, someone laughing, and someone screaming. It is not a self-portrait in the true sense of the word, but rather an inner notion of oneself, visualizing the picture of contemplations, words not yet spoken, and of decisions to be made.

The name of the installation itself evokes both memories of a thriller and words of love. Whispers are the confidential, private, and gentle words spoken to our sweetheart or child that may be puzzling and frightening at the same time. “Whisper” lures the spectators into its inner space, gently embracing them and at the same time frightening them by its all-absorbing darkness.

If the canvas serves as the warp of the picture, on which an illusion of a three-dimensional space may be created, then the textile in the artist’s installation has three dimensions. The threads protrude into the spectator’s space. Apart from literally binding together each of the characters, they also connect the whole piece of art with the spectator.

The images on this textile polyptych seem unfinished. It is unclear whether they are only being woven on the one side or whether they are actually being undone on the other. This uncertainty and processuality are crucial for the artist.

“Whisper” represents an attempt to see oneself from the inside, to show one’s feeling, to turn oneself inside out, to open one’s inner space, which is founded on semi-darkness and whispers, on the transition from laughter to screams, from black to white, from flatness to volume, from a light-absorbing background to a brightly shining drawing.

Author of the text — Olesya Turkina.

CURATOR — ELENA Kolovskaya.

tanya akhmetgalieva
tanya akhmetgalieva