ESCAPEMENT ART is thrilled to present a duo exhibition, “Universe of A Nomad” by two emerging artists Veronika Moshnikova and Ni Daodao. From late 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic has adjusted our daily tempos, taste, and emotions, resulting in a massive restructuring of the economy and public sphere towards virtuality. In retrospect of the pandemic situation, the gallery would like to explore the affective, spatial, and temporal dimensions of human relationships. “Universe of A Nomad” provides critical insight into the sites of mourning, melancholy, and belonging. The exhibition aims to create a dialogue between the two artists on the move. The selected works include the “Memories” series by Veronika Moshnikova and the “Visual Poetry,” “Rabonia,” as well as four latest works about the pandemic experience by Ni Daodao.
Ni Daodao was born in Chongqing, the People’s Republic of China. He works and lives in Pforzheim in Germany and Uster in Switzerland. During 2008-2012, Ni studied Chinese Painting at Chengdu Academy of Fine Arts at Sichuan Conservatory of Music in the PRC. In 2018, he participated in the “Sulwhasoo Intangible Cultural Heritage” project and the “Lacquer and Design” program at the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University in the PRC. During 2020-2022, he has studied Design for Jewelry and Object at Goldschmiedeschule Pforzheim in Germany.
VERONIKA MOSHNIKOVA was born and grew up in Yalta (Crimea, Ukraine). She is currently based in Zurich, Switzerland. In 2010, Moshnikova received her diploma from the Crimean Art School, a college in the name of N.S. Samokish. In 2015, she obtained her MA degree in graphics, visual communication, and contemporary art at the University of the Arts Poznan (UAP) in Poland. In 2020, she earned her Ph.D. degree from the Department of Painting and Drawing at the UAP.
The duo show “Universe of A Nomad” provides critical insight into the sites of mourning, melancholy, love, and belonging. It aims to create a dialog between the two artists on the move.
For many people, the Covid-19 pandemic creates their first contact with the universe of a nomad. The restructuring of the economy and the public sphere towards virtuality, as well as shifting pandemic policy have resulted in reduced income and massive layoffs in many countries, affecting our tempos, taste, income, and emotions. During lockdowns, many homes thus switched on and off into the role of a cinema, a playground, an office, care center, etc. At the same time, numerous grassroot workers and (im)migrants must rework their working and sleeping space. Many reorganized their vans into a mobile home and trading space, because they could not return to their physical homes. In retrospect of the pandemic situation, the gallery would like to extend our visions of everyday life to the affective, geopolitical, and cultural dimensions of a nomadic life. The duo show “Universe of A Nomad” provides critical insight into the sites of mourning, melancholy, love and belonging. It aims to create a dialog between the two artists on the move. The selected works include the “Time Record” series by Veronika Moshnikova and “Visual Poetry” and “Rabonia” by Ni Daodao.
Veronika Moshnikova was born and grew up in Yalta, a city on the southern coast of Crimea, Ukraine. Since 2014, Veronika has been using dots to record her emotional reactions to a cultural trauma on canvas. The “Time Record” series (2020-2021) portrays the artist being penetrated by a sudden loss of her ethnonational identity. Each point holds her grief, love memory, and a vulnerability to the changing nature of geopolitics outside the canvas. Each point records a transformation of the intangibles towards visibility. The dots unpack a continuous drift back and forth between “insider” and “outsider”. They form a monolog about the artist’s biological and emotional ties to her family and community on the Crimean Peninsula, a home that no longer recognizes her citizenship after its annexation to Russia by the Russian Federation. Staying abroad thus loses its poetic touch. Life shows itself as the compulsory nomad temporality. In this respect, the abstraction evidences a twist of clock time and psychological time as well as the past, present, and future geographies.
But what exactly does a nomad position mean? A social outcast? A loser? An ordinary life for some?
Fluid identity is the pivotal motif in “Visual Poetry” and “Rabonia” by Ni Daodao, who came from Chongqing, a mountainous city in the southwestern hinterland of the People’s Republic of China. In 2019, Ni Daodao moved to Lisbon and began using needles, threads, recyclables, and various fibrous materials to create art. The “Visual Poetry” series unfolds Ni’s thoughts and emotional flows from his stay in Chongqing, through traveling in Southeast Asia and short residency in Lisbon, to his settlement in Uster, Switzerland. As if a stream of blood, the thread in scarlet red injects the artist’s temperature into the fragmented substances. Ni created a series of triangles stitch by stitch. They are abstractions of mountains, tunnels, and a record of the artist’s departure from one situational reality to another. Ni sees himself moving in and out of different mountainous regions. At the same time, he tries to free himself from the given stereotypes in various social realities.
The relationship between perception and reality is discussed in his series “Rabonia”. Ni notes, “My childhood dream was to become an astronomer. Compared to the universe, the Earth is only a speck of dust. I always wonder why our planet has been divided by state ideology. What exactly does a state stand for?” The “Rabonia” series is reminiscent of the butterfly dream of the Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi. In the late Warring States period (476-221 BCE), Zhuangzi recorded his dream about perceiving the world through the body of a butterfly. Zhuangzi ended his text with a question about the meaning of “real life”. Besides, the shape of a rabbit hints at Tu’er Shen, a Chinese deity in charge of love and sexuality between men. It is richly evocative of the Ballad of Mulan, “When captured by the ears, male rabbits would struggle with kicking hind legs, whereas the female ones would squint their eyes with eyelids. But when both kinds of rabbit scurry by, who can tell their genders?”
Perhaps the universe of a nomad has nothing to do with an individual’s incompetence of integrating into the mainstream of a nation-state. Nor can it be concluded as a “bad” or “good” experience. We hope that this exhibition inspires you to look at the world through nomadic eyes and explore the meanings of “ordinary” life.