Artist Talk: Viktor Timofeev


Analysis Paralysis: Recent Work by Viktor Timofeev
Artist Talk on Wednesday, 17 May at 18:00–20:00

One of the participating artists in the exhibition ‘Shallow Springs’ is Viktor Timofeev (born in Riga in 1984, lives in New York). He will show and speak about recent works and projects – some of them still ongoing – to put the work currently on display at Kohta, Human Abecedary, into wider context.

Viktor Timofeev’s studio in Brooklyn. Photo: Anna Dave

Timofeev makes and shows murals, paintings and works on paper (executed in pastels or ink), as well as works in digital formats, often taking shape as experimental games. In his case, these two artistic registers are united by a strong focus on visual expression leaning towards a dreamlike, expressive magical realism. That is probably one reason why he frequently combines them into installations that transform exhibition venues into stages for performance or simulated bureaucratic environments.

Without being nostalgic, his work evokes the tradition of printmaking and illustration that helped shape the artistic identity of the Baltic states during the Soviet period. Along with the references to virtual reality and automation, the pronouncedly experimental and processual quality of the oeuvre marks it as futures-oriented.

Viktor Timofeev, Fractal Sunset, 2022, oil on paper

Viktor Timofeev, Windows without Buildings, 2022, ink on paper

Timofeev mixes elements of dystopian angst for the future from a not so distant past, around the time of his own birth in the mid-1980s when many were concerned about a nuclear holocaust, with varieties of technology-driven alienation that have a distinctly contemporary feel.

The darkness of his work is both visual and mental, both literal and metaphorical, but never without a certain lightness of touch. That is one reason he is included in an exhibition titled ‘Shallow Springs’.


Viktor Timofeev, DOG, 2021, installation view at Interstate Projects, New York. Image courtesy Interstate Projects, New York

Viktor Timofeev and Jaakko Pallasvuo, Telephone Conversations, 2020–ongoing, still from video

Viktor Timofeev, Bob Doesn’t Even See David, 2023, still from film

During his informal talk Timofeev will discuss recent works such as the installation DOG from 2021, which featured an ‘alphabet clock’ similar to that of Human Abecedary together with a mural, works on paper and computer ‘terminals’, or the dialogical exhibition Telephone Conversations at Newton in New York in 2022, in which he and Finnish artist Jaakko Pallasvuo exhibited their ongoing, collaborative ‘video drawings’. He will also show a selection of his temporary murals and introduce the choreographic work Four Characters in Search of a Random Exit from 2017 (with an excerpt from Bob Doesn’t Ever See David, a related work, still in the making).

Listening session at No Moon in Brooklyn. Photo: John Steinbauer

Finally, Timofeev will talk about No Moon, an event space in Brooklyn that he co-runs. It regularly hosts listening events, screenings and performances. Finnish artist Anni Puolakka staged a performance at No Moon in 2019.

Timofeev studied at Hunter College in New York (BFA in 2008) and at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam (MFA in 2017). He has been exhibiting actively since the early 2010s. Among his solo exhibitions are ‘Proxyah v1’ at Kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga in 2014, ‘S.T.A.T.E’ at Drawing Room in London in 2016, ‘God Room’ at Alyssa Davis Gallery in New York in 2018, ‘God Objects’ at Karlin Studios in Prague in 2020 and ‘DOG’ at Interstate Project in New York in 2021.

He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions, among them ‘Longshore Drift’ at Sorbus Gallery in Helsinki in 2016, ‘Orient’ at Kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga in 2017, ‘Somewhere in Between’ at Bozar in Brussels in 2018, ‘A Barbarian in Paris’ at Fondation Ricard in Paris in 2018, ‘Cosmic Existence’ at Den Frie in Copenhagen in 2019, ‘Riga Notebook: Following the Lines of Waclaw Szpakowski’ at Muzeum Sztuki in Lódz in 2020, the 14th Baltic Triennial at CAC Vilnius in 2021 and ‘Crucible’ at Spencer Brownstone Gallery in New York in 2022.

The talk will be in English.

Viktor Timofeev’s studio in Brooklyn. Photo: Anna Dave