The profound and sensually erotic imagery of 1971 Russian born artist
Irina Polin is reflective yet irritating at the same time. When
first viewing Polin’s portrait photographs – the first
group of work that will be on view – one assumes to have an
idea of her intentions.
enough, that idea becomes deluded. The confusion grows because Polin
takes photographs as a first step and then, as the second step,
uses them as templates for her paintings, extracting only a portion
of the image to recreate with paint.
painting is complete, as a third step, she further extends the image
by photographing these paintings “after” her own photographs.
is said and done, Irina then destroys the painted portraits, liberating
the final photograph from its origin.
In a second group of works Polin created photographs
after the paintings of worldfamous painter Balthus. Balthus is notorious
for his daring, erotically charged compositions of women in “suspense-like”
situations. His work has been discussed in the most controversial
ways internationally. Almost as if her admiration for the great
painter has to be dominated by doing something as if she was defending
herself, by appropriating the master’s painting in another
medium, the young Russian-Swiss artist transforms the scenes and
sequences in Balthus’s paintings into models with dolls and
artificially created, three-dimensional, almost “homely”
surroundings. It is as if Polin would say to Balthus: “I express
my respect for your art by putting my spell on it”.
Irina Polin, who for the past 10 years has been living
and working in Switzerland, masters with a playful confidence the
seemingly effortless coexistence of fiction and reality, of present
and past. One clearly recognizes a joy of both life and creation,
of playing and masquerades. Irina Polin’s work is of greater
depth than is first apparent. Reality and dream are not shut out...
they stand side by side as equals.