Katya Granova: temporal echoes

Living within the confines of a linear time narrative, where the focus lies on the future and the present, how do we connect with the past? Especially if the vernacular histories are unreliable, where do we turn to look for those who preceded us? For painter Katya Granova, vintage photographs of ordinary people offer direction in this quest. Grounding her paintings on found photographic images, Katya brings forgotten fragments of the past to her canvases. She alters these visuals to create a further fictionalized perspective, using the unsettling reality of subjective histories as a creative fuel. 

Unreliable past

Being born in the twilight years of the USSR, Katya says that her generation “learned early that history cannot be trusted”. She grew up with contradictory accounts of the recent past, even hearing different stories from her own family. This lack of confidence in her past became a primary source of inspiration in her work. In her initial series based on photographs, she delved into her late grandfather’s photographic archive. Continuing to reimagine her family history, Katya’s recent series, When my babushka joined the Reich, explores the fragility of the past and its susceptibility to individual interpretation.

images by PILOTENKUECHE or supplied by artist

One of the distinctive features of Katya’s work is the color schemes she uses. Many of her paintings feature darker hues of red, instantly creating a reference to life and death. Her tendency to use a spectrum of colors around the Bordeaux red also goes back to her family origins. Being raised in a family of surgeons, she witnessed this flesh color in surgical photographs and body atlases all around her. In her aspiration to reclaim the past, it is no surprise that Katya responds to the black and white photographs with colors that dominated her memories. 

Existence through presence

Katya’s interest in the subjectivity of history might have political roots, yet her paintings go beyond the topics of national history. Beyond the lived stories of those occupying the surfaces of old photographs, Katya is drawn to their presence. Also using photographs she finds in flea markets, Katya is interested in the transient nature of human life itself. She inquires those moments frozen in time with an existential approach. In her residency at PILOTENKUECHE, Katya will continue to work with vintage photographs, delving into the complexities of memory, identity, and the passage of time. She also aims to experiment with new mediums and techniques, such as large-scale watercolors and textile installations, to expand the possibilities of her artistic expression.

written by Zeynep Ayta

windy HOME
part of Tour de Franz

Sat 25 & Sun 26 May
2PM – 7PM

Franz-Flemming-Str 9
04179 Leipzig

mute BODY

Vernissage Fri 21 June 7-10 PM
Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 4-8 PM

Alte Handelsschule
Giesserstr 75
04229 Leipzig