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Shadows of Consciousness
At a certain point in one’s life, people experience a dream or nightmare so vivid words are scarcely enough to describe what our unconscious has brought to the surface during the hours of rest. Nightmares, in particular, tend to expose our fears, anxieties, and even desires that we cannot or should not express for moral or social reasons. Without words, artist Ilya Shkipin translates the imagery of nightmares into his works, using the darkness as the backdrop for the protagonist of his pieces.
The first impression his pieces give is that of fast and nervous strokes, either with oils or digital techniques, that remind us of that moment between wakefulness and sleep, or the limbo between reality and fantasy. Through anthropomorphic figures, generally with unintelligible faces, Shkipin explores loneliness, distance, pain, desire in both interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships, that is, in the relationship of the individual with themselves.
“Feelings of dread and distress often can be found in my work. I’m trying to create a sort of surrealistic world, filled with anxiety and heightened emotions and imagery.”
The amorphous and disproportionate figures have a great resemblance to expressionism, evidencing the influence of artists such as Munch and Schiele, where the appearance of the human body is not a faithful portrait but a physical exhibition of its emotionality. With compositions reminiscent of collage, Ilya’s work generates sensations that connect the viewer with sensations that can be uncomfortable such as fear, claustrophobia, or pain, bringing to light the shadow of the unconscious.
This is how the pieces of Ilya Shkipin generate a cathartic effect in their audience – by revealing the darkness of the human unconscious they allow to explore individually and collectively the depths of the psyche. Each one of his canvas demands a deep dive into technique and detailing of the work, for the viewer to observe the piece and generate conscious symbolic and verbal dialogues between their own individuality and the universe embodied by Ilya Shkipin on the canvas.
All images copyright of Ilya Shkipin
You can view more work by Ilya on his website.
Article written by Anamaria Aguirre Chourio