It's not a...

Part 1. "Near Dark" (black and white photographs, 21 x 29,7 cm, 10 in the series)
Part 2. "In Daylight" (black and white photographs, 40 x 40 cm, 15 in the series)
Part 3. "Facing the Wall" (black and white print with choewing gim, 30 x 40 cm, 16 in the series)

2018
 
Cycle of works It’s not a…, including three parts: Near Dark, Facing the Wall, and In Daylight, focusing on violence instigated by rightwing groups and rightwing political populists. The Near Dark series is comprised of found photographs. Ridnyi has processed them with analogue and digital editors in order to trick the viewers into not recognizing what it is that they are seeing. Visual effects and a dearth of information prompt viewers to fall back on their sensory experience: the fear and anxiety elicited by these works reflect on street violence and the tyranny of paramilitary groups. 

  
"Near Dark" (from the "It's not a...")


In his series In Daylight, the artist not so much conceals, as chooses not to disclose information. He studies the gestures of European populists and leaders of rightwing forces, positioning each gesture in a circle while concealing the person’s identity. A hand symbolizes both authority/power and solidarity. In the early 20th century, a raised fist became the symbol of workers’ unity in a call to establish professional unions. Fists were also used in propagating leftwing ideas on resisting capitalism. Ridnyi reveals a sea-change: rightwing populists have since appropriated the methods, gestures and achievements of the leftist movement, discrediting not only the left as such, but also broader principles of freedom of speech and personal expression.

    
"In Daylight" (from the "It's not a...")


The emerging cultural phenomenon of rightwing radicalism finds expression in the Facing the Wall series, in which the artist obscures the fascist symbols of rightwing radical organizations, some of them from Ukraine, Russia and Poland, with chewing gum. Chewing gum is the perfect symbol for youth culture in its associations with carefree lifestyles, an unwillingness to assume responsibility for one’s actions, and cultural or ideological immaturity. As long as young people lack critical perspective and follow easy solutions or “hype,” instead of their own ideas, they will continue to be predisposed to the visual and ideological trappings of rightwing radicalism wherever it comes into vogue. What could possibly go wrong with chewing gum, or the “playful” and capricious fascination with rightwing imagery and symbolism? Ridnyi’s work shows that chewing gum eventually hardens into a fairly durable substance. Similar things can occur with ideology, as long as it isn’t questioned.

  
"Facing the Wall" (from the "It's not a...")


  
"In Daylight",
"Facing the Wall" / "Near Dark"
"Facing the Wall"
(gallery Labitynt, Lublin, 2018. Photo: Wojciech Pacewicz)