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  • Source: Muse Magazine
  • Author: Becky Elmquist
  • Date: Winter 2015



Photograph by Clement Pascal

Kon Trubkovich is a rarity. His concise and intelligent acknowledgment of the past and its impact on his work justifies his longevity in the contemporary art world. Trubkovich creates a manifestation of emotion captured through various mediums and personal experience, humanizing a connection.

Because every work of creation, quite apart from its cosmic position, is the representation of pure phenomenology – every phenomenon manifests itself of its own accord. This manifestation is always distinct from form, and is the essence of the immediate, the trace of the immediate. — Yves Klein

Kon Trubkovich is an artist of thoughtful and sensitive expression. He is directly linked to the narrative/un-narrative of his work and so evokes intensely personal emotions from his viewers. Even at first glance his work has a dreamy and mysterious nature and is immensely rich in both personal and historical sentiment. Offering his viewer’s a portal into his collective experience, he labels his artwork “an elaborate self-portrait.” This open dialogue of origin and the layers of both medium and subject matter are saturated with intelligence and creativity. The medium in Trubkovich’s recent work are developed through his “desire to understand the physicality of memories.” The VHS tape was his vehicle into this notion. It is a medium that is finite and has an abbreviated lifespan that mirrors this lifespan to that of a memory. In his attempt to process time he was able to remove the clichès of metaphor from his work.

In his “Mama” series, Trubkovich sourced a childhood video of his mother taken the day his family left the USSR in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster. The reduction of the footage through pausing, which he refers to as a “painterly gesture,” resulted in 24 single frames which he then created replica paintings for. His intended participation took a turn when it developed into a “strange examination of my experience and not hers.” There were obvious reasons for this embodiment. When he began to work on the series he was the same age as his mother in the video, and the subject matter and close connection with the images are emotionally charged, bringing to the surface a questioning of his own equivalent ego and what that might encompass.

Trubkovich’s disarmament of the loaded nature of these images is achieved by his use of serial repetition. This reductive element further questions the lifespan of a memory and the complexity of this recollection, “They become placeholders for an abstract feeling. The project itself is a psychical index of time rather than a static image.” Each curated extraction serves as both an emotional and physical measure for both the viewer and the artist.

Left: Leap Second, OHWOW, Los Angeles, CA, May 18 – June 23, 2012
Right: Untitled (Lenny), 2014 Graphite on paper, 29 X 22 1/2 inches (73.7 X 57.2 cm)
Images courtesy of the artist and OHWOW Gallery

Trubkovich states that an intention of his work to embody an “inbetweenness of things,” that will result in a consistent search for clarity. His exploration of memory and how the viewer reaches recollection is layered, both in a metaphoric and literal context.

This multitude of layers, concerning both the process of his craft and its arbitrary meaning, account for the state of dreamlike mystery in his work. His films communicate this intention distinctly. In “Snow,” there is a powerful delivery of nostalgia throughout each thoughtfully constructed layer. The snow itself serves as a literal allusion of the ambiguous nature of a memory – the snow blurs our sight and blankets the recognizable. The film also pays homage to both the past and future, creating a beautiful tension between the narrative and un-narrative.

After taking some time off to welcome his first child into his family, Trubkovich is ready to dive back into work, “I’m in a funny place where everything changed overnight.” This pause seems to have brought about a higher self-awareness and confidence within his work. With several projects mounting for the next two years, including a solo exhibition at OHWOW, curating a show for Marianne Boesky Gallery, a monograph, a solo project at United Artists, Ltd. in Marfa, Texas, and a group exhibition with four other artists in Tel Aviv, we can certainly look forward to a continuation of Trubkovich’s subtle narratives and the delicate phenomenon of poignant simplicity that are left in their wake.