Image Credit: © Stanislava Pinchuk, The Red Carpet ( II ). Architectural intervention and performance. Documentation photo print on cotton rag, 1.2 x 1.5 metres. Edition of 10 + 2 AP, 2020. Commissioned by All About Women festival, Sydney Opera House. Image courtesy of the artist and Antidote Projects.

Peeling Back the Layers of ‘The Red Carpet’

Sketchbook images provided by Stanislava Pinchuk

Does Stanislava Pinchuk ever sleep?

It appears not, as the Ukrainian-Australian artist has just unveiled yet another incredible project, this time teaming up with Antidote Projects and the Sydney Opera House to create The Red Carpet. Part architectural intervention, part performance work, The Red Carpet features a Ukrainian Bessarabian rug transposed onto the Monumental Steps of the iconic Sydney venue.

Aside from being an insanely beautiful set-building, it’s also a hell of a conceptual onion to peel back the layers from. We were lucky enough to get our hands on Stanislava’s sketchbook, excerpts that show just how detailed and meticulous the undertaking of The Red Carpet was.

Within its ornamental design, The Red Carpet contains a data-map of the damaged topography of Kiev’s Maidan square protests, which marked the beginning of Ukraine’s illegal invasion, annexation and ongoing civil war. Stanislava also draws inspiration from women throughout history who have documented their own experiences of conflict through textiles.

‘Making this artwork was a huge feat of set-building for us—mapping and tracking on-site, working in-camera with transparencies, paint and light and set-building in post-production,’ she says. ‘The work involved data-mapping the Maidan, to every millimetre and height field and weaving it into a rug design. We were so fortunate to work with some frequent Wes Anderson collaborators in our set-building process.’

Referencing architect Jørn Utzon’s highly public and controversial relationship with the NSW Government during the Opera House’s construction back in 1959 (things deteriorated so badly that Utzon was taken off the project before its completion, and he never returned to Australia to see the world-renowned building), The Red Carpet aligns with his desire to one day see the Opera House as a building used by artists as a town square—a Maidan of its own.

After two years in production, and endless dreamings in her sketchbook, The Red Carpet is finally complete. And while the work’s thoughtful intention has all the hallmarks of a Stanislava Pinchuk art piece, it’s a departure from the kind of work that has made a name for herself both in Australia, and abroad. ‘Ultimately, The Red Carpet feels like a really exciting breakthrough for me as an artist, to new levels of scale, colour and architecture to my previously restrained, monochromatic works,’ she says.

The full suite of works from The Red Carpet will be shown at Stanislava Pinchuk’s forthcoming early career retrospective at Heide Museum of Modern Art from June 27-October 11 in Melbourne.

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