Ambient Anxiety in Curious Kudu

photo by Anya Shilonos

Art uses a universal language to enable and encourage people to share experiences and feelings. So say Elina Yumasheva and Djuro Selec whose joint exhibition, Ambient Anxiety, is currently in Peckham’s Curious Kudu gallery.

Their work explores two key issues facing humanity: climate change and the transformational impact of technology. Both pose major threats to our world and way of life and yet both seem to have an inexorable momentum in the face of which we appear helpless – under control rather than in control.

They aim to create a space for people to connect and share this collective feeling of being overwhelmed. 

Although their work is very different in terms of subject and visual language, it is rooted in this joint ambition.

Elina’s work occupies a space between abstraction and landscape – a place of troubled journeys in dark, oppressive environments. Largely monochromatic, it draws you in with a hypnotic quality, but leaves you lost in a strange and uncomfortable world of uncertainty and fear.

She said “art uses a universal visual language which can drive attention to universal problems and challenges, in my case environmental concerns”. Elina has a background in environmental science and sustainability and sees her art as a continuation of this work; “my painting is a porthole to an emotional experience” which talks about the dangers of climate change in a different way. 

Photo by Anya Shilonos

By contrast, Djuro’s work at first seems a bright and bold venture into a digital world of computer graphics. But the soft colours hide a harder reality. Under their surface is a different world – a manipulative and seductive place of traps and fault lines, disruptive, dangerous and overwhelming. She is interested in the very contemporary tension between the real and virtual worlds, and how our dependence on ever more powerful technology creates confusion between the two.

“My art makes me feel most alive and connected to the world. I’m exploring the gap between the online and offline worlds, the difference between our screens and our environments and the problems of sensory overload…

The concept of Ambient Anxiety was first articulated by Paul Virilio in his 2005 book “The Original Accident” which described how humanity faces multiple threats as we race towards our own destruction.

The show invites you think about a series of crises facing the world, and very contrasting styles make for an an interesting visual experience. This is high quality work from two young women artists who have much to say.

Go and see it if you can.

Ambient Anxiety is free and runs until 29 May in Curious Kudu, 117 Queen’s Road, SE15 2EZ.

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