THE PAIN RECORD
Katya Buchatska’s installation reproduces a typical room in a natural history museum presenting exhibits of a temporary exhibition—archeological findings and archival documents focused around the figure of the paleontologist William Falconer. We know that Falconer was born in Edinburgh in the mid-19th century, studied paleofauna and died during an expedition under mysterious circumstances. There searcher’s remains, conserved in gypsum, have been preserved due to the efforts of his assistant. The unusual fact that Falconer’s body has become apart of a fossil collection draws attention to his personal diary. Partially represented in the exposition in the form of a printout, the diary reveals the details about the causes of Falconer’s tendency to self-harm.
In the glass showcases, Buchatska demonstrates a dinosaur bone (the so-called “Edinburgh specimen” found by Falconer), a gypsum cast of a man’s body, and a handwritten diary. The installation is titled the Pain Record, which refers to one of the versions of the paleontologist’s death — suicide in a flow of hot lava, which can preserve the form of a body, but leaves it empty.
Using only three objects, the artist tells a personal story from the 19th century, far removed from her own context. In her practices, Buchatska often works with the topic of time, applies the methods of media archeology and uses the tactic of “soft” intervention in the environment(gallery, museum or natural space). In the Pain Record, the artist draws attention to the found objects at an archeological distance and raises the question of their meaning for a contemporary viewer, the role of the author in this kind of artistic gesture, and the ability to perceive the drama hidden behind the objects when you are on this side of the glass case.
curator, art-critic,editor in ISTpublishing