New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Veils of Happiness
Ekaterina Rozhkova
Veil of Happiness
Richard Millard
Ekaterina Rozhkova, Veil of Happiness

Ekaterina Rozhhkova's “Veil of Happiness" is a delicate and sophisticated exhibition at Sputnik Gallery that focuses on artistic relations between Eastern and Western cultures. Two albums of formal, early twentieth century photographs, one from France and the other from China, both obtained from a Moscow source, are the basis for the composite works of this show. Rozhkova, a Muscovite, spent many of her childhood years in China, and studied in Russia and Japan. Familiarity with Eastern and western cultures, tempered with the artistic influence of the Moscow School of Conceptual Art of the 1970’s, calligraphy and the graphic arts, are apparent in her work.

Arranged in a 6 by 3 grid on one wall of Sputnik are 18 small (9”x12”) works based on the pages from the album of photographs of a Parisian morality play, “Veil of Happiness.” Complete with captions, the photographs, set in a house in Peking, depict European actors in traditional Chinese dress. (One of the premises of the play, –which one imagines to have been an excruciatingly poor production – is the importance of positive perception.) Each of the photographs is carefully overlaid with layers of silk, silkscreened lithographic patterns and hand colored images. The addition of color and traditional motifs along with the method of display makes each image a highly decorative, adroitly created conceptual work.

 by unidentified photographer.
Ekaterina Rozhkova, Installation of “Veil of Happiness”

On the opposite wall is a collection of 7 much larger silk hangings. These hangings present Western-style, studio portraits of a Chinese family by an unknown photographer, each on a different eastern fabric with overlaid silkscreen designs and hand coloring. In addition there is a traditionally framed large lithographic diptych on rice paper of one of the Chinese couples. This treatment bridges the opposing works

While photographs are the centerpiece of these pieces, as the exhibition title indicates, the manipulation of the images creates a range of obstructions (veils) between the photograph and the viewer. Each work presents a different aspect of the theme of individual assimilation and harmony (creating your own veil to see the world).

This show is pitch perfect; a masterfully executed essay on the humors, tragedies, ironies and borders of cultures. Rozhkova’s consistent vision and the time and effort required to fulfill it make for a sophisticated and fascinating presentation of the artist’s assimilation of different cultures,

Ekaterina Rozhkova
Veil of Happiness

547 W 27th St. 5th Fl
Chelsea         Map

212 695 5747

Thursday, October 28 to
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11 to 6