Terra Incognita, Anya Belyat-Giunta

From 09 October to 15 November 2014

...Dear imagination, what I love most about you, is your unforgiving nature…

The drawings presented in Anya Belyat-Giunta’s second exhibition at the gallery testify to a work in transition, in search of new graphic territories. Under the common title Terra Incognita, these two sections give a concrete form to this shift toward more monumental formats, and to the artist’s aspiration to explore new interior landscapes.

We are familiar with this artist of Russian origins and her strange, liquid crayon drawings on punched cards, unfolding in a confidential format the mental images of a rather peculiar universe filled with fantastic, rippling creatures. The latter medium, a relic of the early IT era, was used for recording data – and, in particular cases, student grades. The rigorous frame, forming a kind of lace of numbers, draws a contrast with the phantasmagorical figures inscribed within it.

Just as the series, started in 2007, is coming to and end due to the depletion of the stock of cards, Anya Belyat-Giunta reached back to the sources and took an interest in the first machines and their uncommon beauty. These highly graphical structures of tubes and pipes made a late entrance in her work. They now populate her drawings, melting into the transparency of her organic shapes to compose hybrid creatures, evocative of the machine-bodies of fantastic narratives, but also of the cellular compositions of Unica Zürn’s ink drawings.

A second space will be devoted to the large-format works started last autumn. In the wake of Medieval explorer Jean de Mandeville and his Livre des merveilles du monde ("Book of the wonders of the world"), her ink drawings record a geography, at once whimsical and accurate, of her thoughts. The landscape glimpsed from her workshop’s window constitutes the framework and starting point of her tribulations. This daily ritual is the condition that Anya Belyat-Giunta sets herself in order to reach the mental images that come to her, like so many “archetypes of our instinctive, spiritual life”, as she writes. In her Landscape with Entry, mountains fade into multiple tint areas to reveal carnal, slippery entities. Through this landscape, the body manifests itself, albeit in a dispersed manner: only its vital energy, its flux, moisture, respiration can be perceived.

Anya Belyat-Giunta also takes inspiration from science-fiction movies, in particular from Peter Bogdanovich’s Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, adapted from Pavel Klushantsev’s Russian avant-garde film of 1962. This cinematographic influence, with its often artificial settings and effects, can be felt in the outlines of astronauts thatinhabit her dreamy, fertile landscapes. Terra Incognita is therefore akin to a space in metamorphosis. Many are the paths awaiting to be cleared out, but all are filled with promise.

Anya Belyat-Giunta was born in 1975 in Saint Petersburg. The turmoil of the end of the Soviet era forced her family into exile. They first moved to Austria, then Italy and the United States, where Anya spent her teenage years. Drawing was an early passion that accompanied her all along the way. She followed her passion by studying plastic arts in Florence, then in Minneapolis and Toulouse. She has been shown in numerous personal exhibitions in France, Russia, and the United States. She lives and works in Mornant (69440). Since 2012, she is regularly featured at Polad-Hardouin gallery.