Vasily Kafanov

painter and multi-media artist from new York.


My work focuses on reconnecting time. Time is an illusory and shapeless substance. It is homogeneous along its entire length, and we recognize each of its distinct ages by the objects it produces and leaves behind. Time is like a blank canvas on which each age leaves its own inimitable imprint, coloring it with its own recognizable objects. Our parents and grandparents, and generations that came before them were all defined by the objects of their age. We see them in old photographs dressed in the fashion of the day, sitting next to their record players or driving their quaint motor cars. The old photographs, the black-and-white images printed on cardboard from the century before last or the Polaroids from the 1970s, are also now a thing of the past - as are earlier oil portrait of men and women who came before them. It is the objects that pin us to the blank canvas of our time.


I collect those objects, the images of the people they used to define and the ideas - in philosophy, technology, the arts - that gave rise to them, and put them in my work.


I work in a variety of media. I make paintings, collages, sculpture, drawings, and ceramics. I scour flea markets looking for the old object, for machines, mechanisms, and devices of the past, whose purpose we no longer understand but that are ineluctably pinned to the age when they were created. They were once indispensable and useful, and they defined their time. I don't try to restore or even understand them, but I find a new life for them in my work.


Our own age is defined by the amazing variety of objects we have created, but even more so by the objects, we have discarded. This doesn't mean that time has accelerated but rather that ages change one another at a kaleidoscopic pace, without having time to define themselves, to shape into an image or to leave a memory. I see my work as stringing together those half-formed shards of ages and reconnecting them into a continuous timeline.