Simultaneous realities exhibition at Brixton Library

Painting by Yulia Krylov from exhibition at Brixton LibraryYuliya V Krylova was born in Kazakhstan when it was part of the Soviet Union. Her work, currently on show in the exhibition Simultaneous Realities in Brixton library, reflects a diverse cultural heritage and “her life from the age of four”. Leslie Manasseh spoke to her about her paintings and the inspiration behind them Paintings on one wall are journeys “above the level of thought” where the images emerge along the way. Spiritual energy drives this journey rather than the process of reproducing a vision or idea already in her head.

These works begin with a pattern created by smoke and ash as Yuliya slowly wanders beneath a canvas holding a lit candle above her head. Images – often from the natural world, albeit slightly fantastical – then appear and are highlighted in colour.

For example On the Edge of Consciousness (below right) brings to the fore images which are hidden in the smoke patterns. These are complex, dynamic works with a dream-like quality. In the paintings on the other wall, there is more obvious visual control.

There are, for example, some visual themes which appear in a number of works. Many of these are animals or birds which Yuliya explained, echo the totems traditionally used to denote tribes or places in the cultural history of Kazakhstan.

I thought a portrait of someone holding their own decapitated head was a rather dark image. Yuliya explained that this was more a metaphor for meditation and “disconnecting the mind from body” which is central to the way she creates her works.

This is an interesting show by an artist from a very different place and culture. It includes a series of poems by Paolo Piccardo inspired by the paintings themselves and described as a conversation between two artists using different media but exploring similar themes.

The exhibition is free and runs until 20 September in Brixton library: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10am-8pm; Wednesday, Friday 10am-6pm; Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 12pm-5pm www.lambeth.gov.uk/places/brixton-library

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