Yesterday’s Snow
Helmut List Halle, Graz, Austria
as part of Steirischer Herbst festival (curated by Ekaterina Degot)

Irina Korina’s installation in Helmut List Halle creates a world between blind nature and rational construction. This time, she departs from the propensity of nationalists the world over to adopt and extol the patriotic virtues of all kinds of animals, plants, and trees. Lilies of the valley, camomiles, cornflowers, and autumn foliage are all held high as symbols of a native homeland—delicate, beautiful, vulnerable things—while it is the clunky stuff—piles of dirt-tinged snow, full parking lots, and veritable forests of glaring advertisements—that is closer to reality. Such is the thinking behind Korina’s installation. Overdimensional sheaths of wheat stick out from under the melted snow, stumps of birch still flutter leaflike in the breeze. The day before yesterday meets yesterday and tomorrow in a greenhouse-like blow-up of the traditional Russian form for the Paskha cottage cheese Easter dessert, standing like a pyramid on its head. It‘s a weird landscape, an inflatable purgatory of hollow rhetorics, naturalizing nationhood.

Photo: Liz Eve