Katya Granova (b.1988) is an artist and curator from St Petersburg, Russia, who currently lives in London. Her first degree was obtained in Social Psychology at St Petersburg State University, then she gradually changed her career to art practice. Granova also holds MA Art&Space Degree from Kingston University London, a Certificate degree from Paris College of Art, finished the ICA Moscow course “New artistic strategies" and received MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art. Recent exhibitions include Signature Art Prize Gala, London (2020), New Painting, Galerie Dutko, Paris (2020), and Act 1. Scene 5. Room in the Castle with Smirnov-Sorokin Art Fund in Moscow (2021). Granova is a current member and a co-founder of the APXIV art collective, which has had many exhibitions over the last 4 years in Moscow, St Petersburg, Budapest, and Copenhagen.
She has held residencies with the Dukley Art Residence in Montenegro, Art Residency Normandy in France, Smirnov-Sorokin Fund in Moscow, Russia, and the Kunstarhuset Messen residency in Alvik, Norway. Granova was shortlisted for the Bankley prize 2019, Bridgeman Award 2020, Art Rooms Award 2019, longlisted for John Moores Prize 2020, and has won a Signature Art Prize 2020 in the painting category. She is represented by Dutko Gallery (France), Castlegate House Gallery (UK), and ArtFlood Gallery (Russia).
The wish to penetrate the past, to rebel against the irreversibility of time - this is what fuels my practice. I use vintage photographs as a means of launching my painting. And photographs are my Orwellian time machine. They allow me to have a window into the past, but this window is cut by the person behind the lens, so it is biased and selective. Photographs tease us with a glanced moment but they do not allow the moment to be entered into. So as a time machine, the photograph is rather flawed.
In my practice I alter, abstract, and fictionalize transferred photographic images, either of my family or found in flea markets, leaving an imprint of my own bodily movement in them through my gestured marks - and this movement is driven by the desire to reclaim the past. By translating the sign of “oldness” into a painted image I can control the visual dynamics of the photographic image, start to impose my own subjective position, organize a formal space and think through painting. The large formats of my canvases allow me to feel them not as a window, but rather as a portal to the past, through which I can insert my presence. I seek to disrupt the linear spatial perspective of the photograph, so I deliberately destroy the relationship between the foreground and background, mixing them into a single pictorial mass of slimy paint.
Therefore, my painting is a way to enter into some sensual interaction with the reality from the past, captured in images, driven by my protest against the subjectivity of history.