Vadim Fishkin
The Island of the Day Before


As a first in Austria, this exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of the œuvre of Slovenia-based artist Vadim Fishkin, who began his career as an artist in Moscow in the late 1980s. Fishkin’s work revolves around his interest in the scientific and technological avant-gardes of (South-) Eastern Europe and his exploration of the notions of utopia, cosmogeny, and aeronautics associated with these movements. He is particularly interested in the allegorical, poetic, playful, and humorous aspects that were part and parcel of these avant-garde technological fantasies, along with their socio- political implications.

The exhibition title The Island of the Day Before is borrowed from the novel of the same name by Umberto Eco. Here the author invokes the image of the simultaneity of past and present by letting a castaway stranded west of the International Date Line, the 180th degree of longitude, gaze across the waters at The Island of the Day Before. Vadim Fishkin points us to spatial and temporal contradictions of this kind. His sculptures, (sound) installations, and light projections invariably remain connected to an inner paradox, create a nexus between technical feasibility, scientific facticity, and individual experience or imagination. They appeal to the sensory perception of physical realities as well as to their metaphysical properties and are, thus, oriented towards the visible and the invisible at the same time.

The works on display in this show exemplify universalist and existential questions that have informed Vadim Fishkin’s œuvre throughout his career – they keep him reflecting on transience and loss as well as the eternal human longing to get a grasp on unfathomable and enigmatic realities. Many of his artistic interventions simulate cosmic or scientific phenomena and seek to explore processes that cannot be manipulated by the individual and are in part beyond conventional understanding, with a view towards rendering them quantifiable, representable, and ultimately controllable. Other works focus on the phenomenon of time both as a physical category, which appears to have been rendered objective and controllable, and as a metaphysical dimension in terms of the subjective perception of time.

The Island of the Day Before can thus be read as a metaphor of our present age, in which, not least, global real-time communication via digital networks has resulted in significant changes in our relationship to space and time. When individuals find themselves in an apparent state of place and timelessness and are increasingly thrown back upon themselves, what remains is either the desire to snatch the past from oblivion or to escape into a projective future. Like the novel, Vadim Fishkin’s exhibition guides us along different axes of space and time into a world full of illusions where the impossible appears possible.

Curator: Fiona Liewehr 

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