Vienna-based multidisciplinary artist Darja Shatalova has created a site-specific installation called "1030 Days" that blends personal experiences and perceptions of the pandemic with official statistics from February 2020 to March 2022, encompassing a total of 1030 days. The installation consists of a wave-like pattern, where coded notes on personal perception and organic microscopic studies are contrasted with official statistics. The installation comprises 26 levels, each representing a month and displaying a dense structure of numerical information, emotional maps, and coded diary-like entries.
Shatalova's graph-like visualization of Covid provided her with a creative means of processing personal experiences and emotions, while also serving as a historical record capturing the emotional and cultural impact of the pandemic in a way that official statistics cannot. By making complex information more accessible and engaging, the visual representation encourages deeper understanding of the pandemic's impact, fostering dialogue and reflection on the ways in which Covid has affected people's lives.
“The collection of data is generally an important part of my artistic practice as well as in my personal life, whereby these two worlds interweave strongly. The motivation for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data derives from the higher ambition to grasp and understand the temporal events in my life and environment. The process of structuring represents a pursuit of correlations and thus patterns in seemingly distinct situations. I continually maintain different records and lists, whereby the translation of the data into an artistic work usually goes hand in hand with the completion of this registration. In effect, the artwork represents the conclusion of the research for the temporal period”, Shatalova explains.
During the creation of the graphics, the artist embarked on a journey through time. They attempted to mentally re-experience the self of each respective month in order to create a comprehensive mental map of their perception. This process involved repeatedly immersing themselves in the emotions and sensations of that time, which informed the final outcome of the artwork. The installation are quasi-abstract self-portraits, in a way, that translate Shatalova's sensations and emotions of a certain period into organic forms and symbols. Shatalova was inspired by the graphic examinations of Ernst Haeckel, a scientist from the end of the 19th century, his notations are reminiscent of microscopic studies and visually allude to themes of bacterial, biological, and microbial research. Shatalova prioritizes having a data background and building her work on a conceptualized system. Simultaneously, the work aims to speak for itself and encourage viewers to form their own associations and interpretations without being completely deciphered.
Because Shatalova’s works are multidisciplinary and interconnected, forming a network of references from the data can also be translated into performative actions or auditory sound compositions. This type of translation creates new levels of reception and showcases variations of the core idea. The inclusion of sound in the artist's work is particularly important, as it represents an extension of the objects. Through sound performance, the work gains another possible perception, interpretation, or translation. This process is akin to the incidence of a number, which can have varied significances depending on the context. Using different mediums to express a concept allows for a richer and more nuanced understanding of the idea, while also reaching a broader audience.
The work "1030 Days" was created as part of the "On the road again" tender of the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, where artists from various countries were selected to carry out their works in cooperation with local Austrian Cultural Forums. Shatalova applied for Mexico City and was able to realize her exhibition in the Biblioteca Vasconcelos in Nov. / Dec. 2022. All winning projects are being presented together in a joint group exhibition at the Künstlerhaus Vienna, which runs from 17 Feb. to 21 May 2023. This installation of "1030 Days", the 26 levels representing the 26 months of the pandemic, will be arranged in a variable way based on new spatial conditions at the Künstlerhaus. This decision will accommodate the new space and also aims to create a bracket in the exhibition's circuit by splitting up the installation. The pandemic, which served as the initial situation for the call for entries, becomes the subject of investigation and serves as a link between various spaces within the group exhibition. It is important to highlight that the exhibition's aim is to reach a broader audience, and by displaying works from different parts of the world, it creates a platform for international exchange and dialogue on the theme of the pandemic. Shatalova also designed and produced a book to accompany this installation.
Darja Shatalova (*1988, RU) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Vienna. She studied Transmedia Arts at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and before Mathematics Education at the University of Cologne. Her works oscillate between space-based installations, performances, sound pieces and artist’s books. A central element of the artistic work process is the collection and translation of data towards a structuring and ordering of current events and everyday life. Darja Shatalova has exhibited among others at Künstlerhaus Vienna, Taxispalais Kunsthalle Tirol Innsbruck, Kunstraum Niederoesterreich Vienna and Galerie3 Velden am Wörthersee. In 2019, she received the Starting Grant for Visual Arts from the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Public Service and Sports and in 2020 the Working Grant from the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. Her works are in the collection of the City of Vienna, the State of Tyrol, the Artothek des Bundes, as well as in the libraries of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg and the mumok Vienna.
February, 17, 2023