Ekaterina Panikanova was born in St. Petersburg in 1975 and later graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg. Using a selection of books from different eras and nations, Panikanova assembles canvases out of school texts, various books of science, comics and novels and unites them with drawings and signs, some intentional and some not. The viewer confronts some images of their own, some uninhibited, some censored, and places them in a fund of memory, in a personal unconscious. The artist, using techniques such as stratified painting in books and videos, gives life to inanimate objects that vibrates in a kind of dance, letting more hidden messages leak from their pages.
“I ONCE FOUND A 700 PAGE manuscript and was struck by the difference between its original purpose and how it had ended up. I bought it and used it as the base for a painting. Paper, card and books have a fundamental value in my work. I see them as a body of rules, dogmas, traditions, religious beliefs and scientific discoveries which, right or wrong for their time, free human beings yet, simultaneously, enclose them in a cage.”
“I SUPPOSE MY SOVIET past can be seen in the type of clothing and objects I depict and the symbols I use and the Russian school of art is there, too. However I continuously strive to widen my areas of interest. Living here in Italy I have been able to study ‘the European’ and the ‘European way of life’. The books I use to make my paintings generally come from various different countries of origin in such a way that the stories I tell of the ‘education’ of mankind are true for all of us, regardless of our culture and country of origin.”
“I READ THE TEXTS and choose the illustrations from pages, which I open both purposefully and intuitively. I then join them together in a kind of jigsaw puzzle to express the idea I have in mind. Play and drama are equally important components of my work, which explores both the memory and the formation of the psychology of the being.”
“MY WORK IS A KIND of programme for living where the text is never erased but you can turn the page if you want to. I prefer not to fix my works in time and thus I always try to create works with movement. Everyday life is generally anchored in the past and thus both our present and our future are strongly bound to our past experience.”