(b. 1981, Brovary, USSR; lives and works in Kyiv)

Second Hand, 2018
Tiles, concrete, dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist

Specially created for The Fabric of Felicity, Zhanna Kadyrova’s object continues her series Second Hand (2014–ongoing), which explores ex-Soviet ruins, including the Darnitsky silk factory and the Kyiv film-making factory. Working with ceramic tiles, which she has used previously, Kadyrova presents exaggerated simulations of clothing in architectural spaces, integrating her objects into the existing textures of old buildings. The tautological similarity of the material from which the objects are made to the background on which they appear produces an effect that Viktor Shklovsky called ostranenie, estrangement. Architecture is likened to a living body and its wall covering to skin or clothing. Borrowing the notion of secondhand clothing, Kadyrova proposes a new, modern ethic, calling for a “second hand” to give the old world’s things a “second life,” as opposed to the modernist and consumerist demand for novelty. This approach is shared by Garage, which is located in the former Vremena Goda café, which was built fifty years ago. When the building was reconstructed in 2015, the partially-preserved tiles of the semi-ruined building were intentionally not replaced. Some of the green tiles had fallen off the walls and these became the material for Kadyrova’s new object. The example of Garage enables us to rethink the concept of secondhand not as bowing to necessity but as consciously opting for responsible and rational consumption.

Ekaterina Lazareva