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Born in Tuva, a region known for its shamanic traditions, Evgeny Antufiev works with unusual natural materials, meticulously crafting heteroclite objects that mimic ritual paraphernalia. Commissioned for this biennial, Untitled (2019) is a series of marble and malachite sculptures that Antufiev created together with Liubov Nalogina. In one way, these works pay homage to the traditional Russian folk art of paintings on storage chests and spinning wheels, and in another, they refer to the Soviet tradition of monumental art that employs mosaic techniques to decorate industrial and public buildings.
The main material used in creating these objects is malachite—a historically emblematic mineral of the Urals. Irony lies in the fact that Ural deposits of malachite are now fully exhausted, and today this semi-precious stone is imported to Russia from Africa. With the example of malachite as a quintessence of everything Russian, the artists question the immortality of a symbol in our cultural memory and its fate in the exchange of global capitalism.