Paradise is Here

Aleksandr Tishkov

November 8th-30th, 2019
PV November 7th, 6-8pm
@Tension Fine Art
London, SE20 8LP


«There is a hole in the world, and the light is running out of it.» 

Ursula K. Le Guin, The farthest shore (1972)


Tension Fine Art is delighted to present Paradise is Here, a solo exhibition of new works by artist Aleksandr Tishkov.

After almost three years away on a mission, InSight 10 safely reaches Earth’s surface with thousands of samples of Martian rocks, soil and atmosphere particles. Over time, Mihka Elly, the only astronaut onboard, has started to experience multiple episodes of somnambulism, blurring his perception of reality, and now confusing his understanding of the world around him. Memories of Mars abruptly blend with images of thawing permafrost, Amazon wildfires and hurricanes in the Bahamas, as seen in the news. 

Paradise is Here takes us into the imagined mind of Mikha Elly, whose distorted perception of time and space asks us: “What is reality?”, and “What is fantasy?”

Tishkov’s new body of artworks come together to create an environment that echoes an ecological catastrophe and a utopian garden, all at once. In doing so, the artist aims to cast a light on current issues related to how cultural heritage is rewritten, acknowledged, and destroyed, as well as how natural resources are being overexploited around the globe. In the course of one month, sculptures made from a wide spectrum of materials will inhabit the gallery space and will inform a series of events accompanying the show’s programme. The schedule of talks and workshops, led by the artist and other collaborators, is designed to turn the exhibition into a space of gathering – to discuss how current natural and political phenomena are providing contemporary societies fragile and brittle.

There is a pinch of irony and satire in the storytelling deployed in crafting the show. Dreamlike scenery tricks the eye, challenging our perception of the natural and the artificial. Phytomorphic objects inhabit a soundscape where the singing of extinct birds meets a burbling stream of glowing liquid, while thick clouds of vapours suffusing the voyager and all its surroundings.

These juxtapositions evoke the precariousness hidden within what seems to be a solid reality – there is a vulnerable equilibrium behind something that looks so rooted as life on Earth. In making new worlds like this one, the artist eventually strives to raise awareness of what it means to be part of an ecosystem on the verge of collapse.

Paradise is Here is generously supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.

Download the exhibition’s public programme here.

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