Olga Lomaka brought her new project Pink Magic into London. It consists of sculptural elements fitted into canvas-covered constructions: this is how the artist seems to achieve the 3D effect. The flat surface turns into an illusion and takes on volume characteristics due to its construction and the riot of colour. The name for the series derives from the Pink Magic cartoon in which Pink Panther acts as a magician, deftly and elegantly performing his tricks to the amazement of the public.
Apart from having an almost ubiquitous presence in film, comics, advertising cartoons, Pink Panther entered the mainstream consciousness as a contemporary Pop icon. Actually, many critics believe, his status is on a par with Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans and Coca-Cola Bottles. In 1988 Pink Panther became an obsession with the artist Jeff Koons. Lomaka is under the spell of Koons’ work and ideas, especially him being mentioned among her favourite artists. She also seems to be enjoying the allusions contained in her work.
Nevertheless, the main source of inspiration for Pink Magic was the modernist Italian artist Lucio Fontana and his series of spatial paintings, known as the Cuts. The series was created between 1958 and 1966 (see, for example, his Spatial Concept. Expectation, 1966). The artist perceived these cut canvases “as resurrecting memories of utopian wish fulfilment” (Anthony White). Generally, his work is associated with “pure geometry”, “pure spirituality” and “pure reason”. Fontana defended the concept of art as creation and even as beauty and sought to create a form within painting that consisted of space. There the cut in the painting opens the canvas, not just providing “a window to look through as in a daydream, but a passage to a beyond, where the objectification and commodification of the artwork never existed.” By clashing the idea of painting as window with that of painting as object in his Cuts, Fontana drew attention to the materiality of canvas through cutting, while retaining the impression of pictorial depth. The monochrome surface invited the viewer to read the cut as a figure on ground. Thus, the open canvases with a single vertical cut emerges, in Fontana’s view, as the promise of ecstatic fulfilment of the artwork’s integration with real space, the reconciliation of object and subject.
Olga Lomaka makes a brave leap, linking Fontana’s ideas with feminist theories. In her series, the cuts represent the female principle and Pink Panther – the masculine principle. She takes the inspiration from the Cuts and relies on Fontana’s exploration of spatiality and void to reinterpret it in the light of the mainstream feminist ideas. In her own words, “Fontana’s cuts and holes symbolise for me the infinite space, the Universe. However, as a female artist living in the 21st century, I also view them as the infinite space and the infinite process of birthing, the constant, on-going evolution. Her work also seems to be consistent with Fontana’s wish “to construct a volume from nothing, with a form, with a hole”. Lomaka seems to enjoy playing with aesthetic principles, allusions and philosophies by clashing pop-art aesthetics with Freudian, conceptualist and minimalist ideas.
The interaction between the protagonists of these 13 installations reveals new facets of the relationship between sexes. The key message is contained in the Infinity installation. Developing the discourse on the masculine and feminine, Lomaka turns the traditional “battle of the sexes” into a joyful game that brings pleasure to both participants, and puts emphasis on their connection with each other, the process of interaction and the magic that is being created at that instance.
Apart from musing on the happy match of Pink Panther with Fontana’s ideas the guests could also enjoy some canapes with champagne, dj- sets played by Hugo Woddis and start conversations with Olga’s friends among whom were sculptor to the Royal family Frances Segelman, Miss Universe Anna Andres, actor Malcolm Modele, publisher Svetlana Zakharova, journalist Anna Nasobina, curator and art critic Sasha Burkhanova, financier David Gigauri, star photographer and journalist Joe Alvarez and many more. It was a truly international art event.