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Room At The End of The World

2024 Curator: Aga Paulina Młyńczak, 16 Nicholson Street Gallery "Room at the End of the World" is a mixed-media installation and a performance with a forest- scented mist at its centre. The work is a satirical interplay between the notions of the sublime and the mundane, depicted through a tableau vivant-style choreography. The work invites us to reflect on our relationship with nature and the environment we live in. With industrialisation and urbanisation, many cities are now devoid of individual identity through the introduction of modernism and the international style in early 20th century creating virtually identical landscapes that become a backdrop for equally regimented and austere lifestyles for many, a modern life which is largely alienated from the authentic relationship with nature. With this piece, Desova introduces us to the concept of ‘corporate-sublime’, as defined-by-the artist, encompassing ‘an imagined future–a post-Anthropocene reality at the bottom of the sea or on top of a mountain–while being surrounded by a corporate-appearing female entourage’. The first layer of the piece interprets the concept of ‘involuntary’ or ‘latent’ memory - Proustian Effect. This term was coined by Marcel Proust in his book Remembrance Of Things Past where the author describes the moment of sudden and overwhelming emotion evoked by tasting a madeleine dipped in tea which suddenly brings back memories. Similarly, the forest-scented fog transports the viewer to an alternative space away from the busy urban environment of Varna. The constructed universe is a fictional analog virtual reality whilst the mist strips the room away from its context and detail, confusing the senses. Whilst the olfactory associations may initially bring the viewer into an imaginary natural landscape, this perception is quickly challenged by the second layer of the piece - the choreography enacted by four women-protagonists. Seemingly plucked from a different corporate universe, the performers are conducting a formal set of mundane tasks usually belonging to an office environment. The methodical and occasionally ritualistic movements suggest a repetitive moment of labour and collaboration. The performance is divided into four acts completing a closed cycle of actions. Semi-erased by the mist, the strange and absurd labour appears to be an awkward, machine-like dance in the near-apocalyptic landscape. In The Room At The End of The World, the relationship between nature and humans is skewed, mimicking Romanticism’s painterly depictions of mist which were concerned with the ‘sublime’, here they are paradoxically contrasted with the everyday banality. The “Room at the End of the World” transports the audience into an alternative timeless purgatorial space.

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