fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Zhenya Machneva
La Biennale di Venezia

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Zhenya Machneva

1988, Russia

  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    FRI - SAT UNTIL 25/09
    11 AM - 8 PM

    TUE - SUN
    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Zhenya Machneva’s tapestries transform the gleaming steel fantasy on which the Soviet Union’s economic fortune was to be built into a world of the uncanny. Inspired by a visit to the Leningrad telephone equipment factory where the artist’s grandfather worked for forty years, Machneva intertwines images of obsolete factories, industrial landscapes, and mechanical objects with the digital present. Created on manual looms, Machneva’s tapestries stand in contrast to the speed and efficiency of contemporary technologies while mirroring the work ethic that made the industrial labour possible in the first place. In works like Elephant Head, Portrait, Totem (all 2020), or A Dog (2021), human and animal analogues complicate the idea of technology as a purely logical domain. A Girl (2022) suggests a reprisal of the human-machine hybrids envisioned by the early 20th century avant-gardes. Echo (2021), inspired by a furnace Machneva found inside an abandoned train depot on the outskirts of Budapest, similarly builds a mask-like composition out of bolts, gaskets, and snaking wires. The image of a hardwired automaton rendered in supple thread encapsulates the play between Machneva’s own decidedly low-tech process and the quasi-mechanical images it produces.

Madeline Weisburg

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Biennale Arte
Biennale Arte