The Frozen Art of Dunya Zakharova


Dunya Zakharova is a fashion artist who works with many different forms of media: graphics, sculpture and textiles. The title of the exhibit is an allusion to her homeland, Yakutia. In 1938, the region registered its lowest recorded temperature of -77.8°C (-108°F). It is virtually impossible for humans to live in such harsh conditions. The exhibit invites guests to muse on the sensation of missing one’s homeland while experiencing piercing cold. To convey this, Zakharova focused on pale, frozen imagery.

The number also hints at a limit to human capacity. It's an attempt to transport the viewer to a land, on the edge of the permafrost, where it's not just the air that is thick, but the soil itself is frozen deep under the ground. The artist wanted to show a being which exists in a constant struggle for survival, attempting to cover itself in a protective layer of warmth but eventually melting into the colourless mist.

Away from her homeland, the author acutely feels the experience of cold turning into "crystallized pain." This phantom pain is conveyed through Zakharova’s sculptures.

Beneath all this glacial ache hides love, hidden in fragments and expressed through abstract forms. This raw sentimentalism permeates throughout the whole exhibit, an undeniable sign of an artist who has found the courage to display her feelings without fear of coming off as vulgar or trite.