The Solace of Captivity (Excerpt) by Indie Choudhury
The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages. Virginia Woolf
In Captive II (Sandra the Orangutan), an early drawing within a group of black and white drawings called The Captive Series, Yulia Pinkusevich develops a narrative of containment. The hegemonic geometry she creates refers to both physical and psychological captivity, and, subsequently to space as construction and embodiment. Light and dark battle against each other and recede to a shadowy presence, which is both a presence and the lack of one. In a similar way, these drawings give a sense of the artist placing herself within the construction and yet removing herself from it in the same gesture.
The act of mark making becomes a way to lift Pinkusevich out of the very construction she places herself in. This tension corresponds not only within the architectural composition of the drawing but in its tonal composition.
Pinkusevich uses beeswax and charcoal on paper to add greater depth to the color, giving a translucent luminosity to the black that belies its suggestion of blockage. This black conveys both captivity and immensity, giving it temporal and spatial dimensions. It construes a narrative of its own in addition to the figure that is captured within it. The eternal gaze of the captive figure animates the charged space, evoking a drama that plays out in certain questions: is it the figure or the viewer who is captive? Are we looking or being looked at? The opaque, amorphous figure stands against a starkly demarcated white line that intersects the receding black space and the picture plane, providing an extra dimension to the dark. In this image, white simultaneously delineates encapsulation and articulation of the space whilst black is used to express a more psychodynamic configuration. The juxtaposition of each presents us with frames within a frame, alluding to the power of the refracted line as a transgressive gesture that disembodies the constructed narratives of space and presence in this image. Captivity for Pinkusevich is a complex and dynamic interrelationship of potential architectures, perspectives and narratives that slowly evolve and dissolve into each other.