Michael Murphenko Labyrinth

[Press Release]

Kyiv, May 12, 2011

The new project, “Labyrinth”, by Michael Murphenko showing at the Tsekh Gallery, is currently the largest solo project in Ukraine. The project combines installation, performance art, video and drawings. It gives the viewer the opportunity for a unique experience of being inside the work of art, looking at the artworks and the other visitors inside from a distance, and later combining these two perspectives to re-experience oneself as creator, artwork, and spectator, all at the same time.

For this reason, a model of a labyrinth was constructed in the Tsekh Gallery. It is a labyrinth in the original sense – not a system of misleading branching passages, but a single route, where the person doesn’t face the problem of choosing a path. The entrance into the labyrinth is the beginning of the path. It will lead to the center eventually, but before that the person must follow a certain way to pass through the whole labyrinth. When one reaches the center, the only thing left to do is go back to the exit the same way one came in. Such is the structure of a traditional labyrinth. Although Murphenko’s installation has a minor deviation from that structure – the Tsekh Labyrinth has two exits (entrances) instead of one and the journey doesn’t end once the labyrinth has been walked through. The visitor can go up the stairs to the balcony and look at the labyrinth from above, ascending to the level of a demiurge, and see the labyrinth from above where it now appears like a scheme or a plan.

A considerable part of the project are the circular-shaped drawings, placed on black walls of the installation, which refer to the themes of alchemic transformations, and also the four videos, demonstrating the four basic elements. All of these elements  disclose the true meaning of labyrinth as place of initiation, of substantial changes, of finding sense, that, in this project of Murphenko manifests as a searching for the authentic meaning of art, the restrictions of artist’s authority, the characteristics of perception features and dictate of the installation.

This Labyrinth unearths and reveals unconscious impulses of various natures, demonstrations of universal categories of being, which only appear to us in extraordinary or sublime situations. That is why labyrinth, despite its obvious rationality and order, seems to be the antipode to the technocratic world with its myths of total functionality and universal logic. Its new symbolic meaning is in demonstrating to the modern world not the clear path of scientific and technical progress, but mysterious and unintelligible world, full of surprises.
Like the concept of utopia, labyrinth comments on the endeavours of Art to become a substitute for religion, science, philosophy and treat the artworks as the “deposit” of vital energy. Desiring to escape from illusory art space, the artist decided in favour of three-dimensional space (in which Murphenko also provokes visitors to find the possibility of the fourth - spiritual dimension), into the world of geometrical volumes, appearance of staging, that finds expression in moving the focus from  form to  practical experience.

The opening reception will take place on Thursday, May 19-th, at 20:00
Address: 69 Frunze str., ZEH gallery