With his project Trapped in the Woods, Vlad Yurashko is searching for the origins and future of the Slav peoples. Questions relating to how, when and why the developed as they did have gained in urgency since his first exhibition in 2011 at the gallery of Kuckei + Kuckei. At the time, he was involved in reappraising his own history. The core of his works dealt with the inhumanity he had experienced in the armed forces, the greyness of everyday life, and the daily drill. Now Vlad Yurashko is asking questions about the status quo in general.
His search starts with his return home from Germany in spring 2011, and a ramble through the local woods. He has begun to occupy himself intensely with the origins of the Slav peoples and discovers historical and linguistic clues which lead him to the conclusion that the forest has an essential meaning for them. The first project, entitled Urwald (primeval forest), represents the living space and epicentre of the lives of their ancestors. His vista opens like a curtain, revealing an impenetrable thicket of tendrils and creepers. And from here, he sets out on his search for those things that have shaped the Slav peoples and perhaps continue do so to this day.
One aspect that Yurashko finds so defining is the mercilessness and the frequent brutality of life – both then and now. He believes that ancient instincts have survived, keeping people literally imprisoned in the forests of their ancestors.
Despite this, he, too, is searching for a new approach, as works such as Sitting Figures reveal. This work originated in a spiritual exercise in which our attention is directed away from our counterpart and onto ourselves, without us ever losing sight of the former. Initially, we feel tempted to fight this, but only when we let ourselves go can we free ourselves from physical restraints and transcend our momentary state. Yurashko transfers this exercise onto his work in the forest, leaving the participant figures in a state of dissolution.
With his project Trapped in the Woods, Vlad Yurashko is calling for change. The motif of renewal and conscious change is central to his work. And this also applies to how we can live out our legacy in a different way than in the past.
Vlad Yurashko (*1970 in Poltava, the Ukraine) studied at the State Academy for Design and Art in Kharkov. His artistic development led him from Kharkov to Kiev, and from there to Moscow, where he now lives and works. His artworks were displayed at the 5th Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art and can be seen at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow until the end of March.