"When the artist Maria Volokhova said to me that she is "interested in the inner world of a human being",
I’ve got slightly suspicious: there were a smell of banality and a risk of shallow spiritualism in this common phrase. After five minutes of conversation Volokhova’s interest in "human’s inner world" turned to be her artistic research of brain-nerves design, stomach’s volume, blood circulation system’s patterns and adipose tissues transparent qualities.
Thus, it became clear that Volokhova understands "Inner World" in a very direct sense and for me literal perception
of roundabout phrases is one of the sign of radical artists (as well as of stubborn children and straightforward punks):
they don’t understand why "A reach man’s joke is always funny" and see animal abuse in "hit two rabbits with one shot".
Direct approach to commonly “metaphorized” topics of human nature, paradoxically, makes presentation of spiritual values more indirect, as well as more revealing and interesting.
Volokhova’s sauce-boats in shape of fetus and ashtrays with nerve-knot design and fatty-pellicle-tactility undoubtedly raise topics of human body perception and aesthetics of “anatomical” uncanny.
The topological aspect of human body and its representation is the first that comes in mind when reflecting on the intestines-like-pot. First, this work sharpens pre-modern perception of “a body, which is a sack with a lot of smaller sacks inside of it”.
Intestines are the thing, which is inside (a body), but still have its own insides, what makes exteriorized intestines still act
as a container, a pot. From another hand, the persistent containing feature of intestines is in paradoxical union with their vast surface area (due to their function of absorbing nutrient substances from digested food). The container, the surface and the interlacing are all come in one here. Another peculiarity of this work is in its strong object-like nature. By serving tea with this pot one is holding “intestines/jejunum” in his/her hands. The thing that is supposed to be hidden and integral with the “whole body”
is here in my hands as something revealed, independent and brought to light.
In spite of the fact that Volokhova shapes a “kitchen utensils” she is not a craftsman, nor a designer. Being interested in printmaking originally, she decided to study china making to be able to express fragility of inner organs both in the visual and tactile dimensions. If porcelain in its basics is treated as something delicate, than it is suitable material to intensify fragility
of intestines. The choice of media was directed by artistic thinking: idea – first, media – second.
Lastly, the functionality of “Jejunum teapot” is not just rejected, but subverted. It is not an item for domestic use, but in the same time it is not a kind of art for distanced observation. Yes, the “Jejunum teapot” is for tea service, but not to satisfy your thirst.
It is to observe the miraculous transformations that can happen when tea, food as well as idea or memory pass through unseen “tubes” of teapot, intestines or human mind: changing its colors, smell and taste."
By Rodion Trofimchenko