ELENA NEMKOVA

THE ART OF MEMORY

The haunting melody of memory
scarred by the passage of time

Above: PPSL 2.0 - The Seven Deadly Sins are free from any accusations: the relation between genes and behavior is based on the simple chemical reflex of human body, 2012
Spray and colour pencils on paper, 67 x 88 cm

Affective Accidents # 7, 2016 (dettaglio)
Hard paper, bi-component resin, plaster, painting

PPSL 2.0 - Brain activity rises essentially during the day-dreaming and it can solve problems faster, new research has shown, 2011
Spray and colour pencils on paper, 67 x 88 cm

Mind-Altering Microbes: Probiotic Bacteria may govern the emotional brain response, 2011
Spray and colour pencils on paper, 67 x 88 cm

It is discovered how in the microbial society that has not a capacity of rational thinking, is able to take advantage from cooperative behavior, 2011
Spray and colour pencils on paper, 67 x 88 cm

Physiologically wealthy people are inclined to deprive of material goods and give away to underprivileged, on the condition of the absence of personal benefits, 2011
Spray and colour pencils on paper, 67 x 88 cm

PPSL 2.0 - Given the choice, people prefer institutional arrangements in which those who over consume common-property resources are punished compared to those in which they go free, 2011
Spray and colour pencils on paper, 67 x 88 cm

“I am not too sure whether I am dreaming or remembering, whether I have lived my life or dreamt it. Memories as much as dreams arouse in me the strongest feelings of unreality and ephemerality of the world.” Eugéne Ionesco, Past Present, Present Past. A personal Memoir

The artistic research of Elena Nemkova brightly scours the human soul with the curiosity of a scientist giving visual and tangible forms to emotions, ranging through worlds that are bright, dark and uncertain. There is almost an echo that transfers emotions and thoughts to the viewer which belong to his humanity, displayed in an unexpected way yet as rigorous and solidified as the certainties of a medical report. Her sculptures, drawings and performances hypnotize us as they are punctuated by an infinite time-scale of precise and inexorable movements; like a metronome waiting for a liberating event.

Thus when we meet Elena Nemkova, we perceive a strong, solid and realistic personality yet with a touch of melancholy, irony, lightness and fragility. This contemporary talent is amazing, this approach to art through contact concerned with the empirical world, the osmotic absorption of new cognitive scientific revelations that are then used in the creative process. Theorem and inspiration, mathematics and philosophy.
Sensory satisfaction that gratifies man and spirit, the primordial form of a synthetic intelligence.

On one side the sculptures of Affective Accidents are "formless biomorphs", soft and sinuous and dictated by the intertwining of woven birch bark, while on the other they present a series of colours created using automotive bodywork paint that seems to freeze both the work and the consequences that emotion has unleashed in the psyche of human tissue by imprisoning everything.

The meticulous care that the artist dedicates to the process of sanding down the work appears as an eternal ritual that accompanies emotions to the surface through the "correct skin". Again, in ‘All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream’, a performance with a man and a woman and a display pop-up created for the first time a year ago in Sao Paulo in Brazil, Nemkova addresses the disorder known as psychiatric romantic amnesia.
An interesting piece of research which emerged from the study by a group of psychiatrists led by Harrison Pope from Harvard Medical School, suggests that this particular type of memory loss is a syndrome linked to culture rooted in nineteenth century Europe, where with the end of the Enlightenment and the rise of Romanticism it is possible to detect fertile ground for this type of trauma.

The two protagonists of the performance move through the territory of uncertainty, the loss of memory caused by an emotional trauma. Everything comes back to the surface thanks to the instinctive memory that is activated by our primary senses, in this case the sense of touch. Nemkova triggers a healing process, acquiring and overcoming an unexpected awareness.

Here are the moments of life, here the disappointments, disillusionments, pain and hallucinations can become occasions for awakening.
"As an artist I am interested in investigating how repressed memories can be stimulated by highly intense, romantic, instinctive and primordial tensions and feelings between two people. What is it that can bring out and re-activate the past? A noise? A place? A smell? Or something that we still cannot explain?”

"Many artists find that as a city Milan offers little in the way of stimulus, with little creative ferment. For me it's different, especially because here I have direct contact with top quality artisans who experiment with new materials, and this is perfect for researching and creating my works."
Since 2010 Nemkova has been a member of the Ouunpo art and scientific research group.

Zelie Brandon Obay

Elena Nemkova

Interview: Cinzia Bontempi / Footage: Luca Garofalo © Babylon

Retinal poetry why the brain remembers the dreams?

Courtesy of Elena Menkova

 Below: All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream, Performance
 Kunsthalle, San Paolo del Brasile, 2014