June 17 – July 29, 2017
Alex Yudzon emigrated from Russia to the U.S. at the age of 8, during the waning years of the cold war. His painting and photographic work both demonstrate a blending of two cultural influences and an exploration of the contradictions and overlaps inherent in them. Unfamiliar Territory brings together works from two different series: “A Room for the Night” explores travel, nomadism, exile and displacement, while “Atlas” explores the fluidity of borders and transience of the nation-state. Together these two series in dialogue with each other create a dual narrative of the concepts of identity, belonging, foreignness and both personal and geopolitical perceptions of place.
A Room for the Night
Hotel rooms are generally weird places, charged with both loneliness and sexual desire. They are a home away from home but offer none of the release of the real thing and ultimately belong to no one. This duality, the simultaneous experience of the familiar and the foreign, is at the heart of the series "A Room for the Night."
Traveling to different hotels around the world, I secretly make and photograph temporary sculptural assemblages out of the furniture and objects found in each room. Working mostly at night, furniture is stacked, leaned and balanced in configurations that often verge on the point of collapse. After these “sculptures” are photographed the room is carefully placed back in its original condition.
Combining formal rigor with a surreal blend of humor and sexual innuendo, the photographs act to invoke internal and external space. They embody our attempt to personalize the generic while examining the loneliness and displacement that accompany a life on the road.
As static representations of the world, maps imply permanence and the reassurance of stability. But, history is as fluid as the sky above, and the ephemerality of borders gives every map a brief shelf life. In the series Atlas, I continue to explore my obsession with cartography, in this case by altering the surfaces of historic maps with paintings of cloud formations. Layers of translucent paint veil and obscure the countries beneath. Regions are rendering fluid and inexact while the sanctity of borders is altered or altogether erased. By utilizing such an intentionally disruptive approach the drawings point to the impermanence of nations and the impossibility of returning to the past.