Lena Martynova

Born: 1985, Makhachkala

Lena Martynova was born in the city of Makhachkala in Dagestan (1985). She studied in Moscow at Professional Lyceum of Animation Cinematography No. 333 (2002–04) and the Sergei Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (2006–08). Martynova is currently a student at the Alexander Rodchenko School of Photography and Multimedia (since 2009). She lives and works in Moscow.

Lena Martynova has contributed to such exhibitions as 14 Group Photographs at the Reflex Gallery in Moscow (2007), No Jury, No Prize at the First Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (2008), Test Alarm at VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary in Austria (2011) and On/Off at the Fourth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2011). She also participated in the megazine.biz collective internet project (2009).

While Lena Martynova has extensive experience in working with video, her main instrument for making art is currently the webcam. The cardinal difference with the webcam is that it is designed primarily to take pictures of the operator and not of the surrounding reality. The camera is no longer an active piece of media equipment, constantly moving in space. Staying in the same place, it passively waits to see what it will be shown. This is no longer a continuation of the human eye – it confronts the eye, sometimes provoking aggressive situations.

In Martynova’s Fight video, the artist’s struggle against the instrument is transferred into the exhibition space, where it acquires new meanings and is now read as an attack on the viewer. The limited viewing range of the webcam means that the operator’s body is the point at which the modelling of reality begins. In the Towers series, the artist’s fingers appear as blocks of high-rise buildings, while the “noises” of the non-commercial low-tech format generate “romantic” architectural landscapes.

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