Natalia Gurova | Artist


Natalia Gurova is an artist born in Belarus, raised in Russia and based in Vienna. She did a journalism degree in Moscow and worked for different media including newspapers, radio, online and TV. Her artwork at the moment focuses on the objects and structures that trigger change in human behavior. Natalia focuses on materiality, objects and installation.

  • 2018 — n/a Academy of fine Arts, Vienna, Object Sculpture, professor Julian Goethe
  • 2014 — 2018 University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Site-specific Art, professor Paul Petritsch
  • 2003 — 2009 MA-equivalent in Journalism, Moscow State University

  • Sammlungen und Archive. Vom Umgang mit den Dingen, in the frameworks of the Big Art conference.
  • Thicket of ideas — Thicket of times, students of the Academy in dialogue with Raqs media collective, Exhibit Galerie, Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, 9 October 2021 — 30 January 2022, curated by Stephanie Damianitsch, together with İklim Doğan, Nikolas Ettel, Jannik Franzen, Giulia Gabrielli, Kyungrim Jang, Robert Jolly, Julia Kronberger, Cathérine Lehnerer, Guilherme Pires Mata, Sebastian Meyer, Vitória Monteiro, Michelle Seidl, Sophie Anna Stadler, Ujjwal Kanishka Utkarsh
  • "Woher kommst du?" at FAVORIT stage, curated and organized by Natalia Gurova and WedMi collective. Winning project of FAVORIT, Kulturhausbrotfabrik, Vienna
  • Oh Mini Golf, mini golf parkour at F23, curated by One Mess Gallery
  • "I see the sun", DUO exhibition with Evgeny Dedov at bAU2-6, Vienna
  • "I never promised you a fig garden", group show of students from Julian Goethe class in the garden, Vienna
  • "Where light is", sculpture, vitrine solo show at LazyLifeVienna
  • Mixed feelings, part of group show curated by Basil Fischler at WAF, Vienna
  • Ausstellung fuer Mama, Art Kolkhoz, Semperdepot, Vienna
  • "die weisse ab-haus-verkaufs-kunstschau" #06, das Weisse Haus, Vienna
  • Suggested Life, (solo), Kunstraum Delikatessenhaus — Panorama view, Leipzig
  • Meet the Universe, Aula der Wissenschaften, Vienna
  • Exhibit on Resources, public art project in 3 spots in Vienna
  • Birth and Decay, Aquarium, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna
  • Without form, without subject, without face, Kaeschmaesch, Ennsgasse 20, Vienna
  • Rundgang 2019, Academy of Fine Arts, Kurzbauergasse 9, Vienna
  • How about a Ménage à trois ? Visuality, installation, Studio H is the Shit, Munich
  • The Essence, Annual exhibition of students from University of Applied Arts of Vienna, VZA3, Vienna
  • Alles OK, video installation, sculpture and silkscreen, Paulusplatz 5, Vienna
  • Repetition is a form of change, spatial installation, Paulusplatz 5, Vienna
  • Studio Frankenstein, Kunstradio, FM4, Vienna, Austria
  • "Clitical Talk", "The seesaw", sculpture, Improper Walls, gallery, Vienna

  • Dome entered the house, display for the Round Table "Propulsion: On Changing Futures", Paulusplatz 5, Site-specific Art department at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna
  • Essence 2016, "Stille Post", sound installation, Alte Post, Vienna
  • J' A R R I V E, "I'm a mushroom too", sculptures, Kunstraum SUPER, Vienna

  • "Pflanzenspaziergang – Flower's walk", performance, drawings, Palme 13, Vienna
  • "Zoning", performance, Fluc, Vienna

Where light is
Sculpture, 2021

Wood, metal, lamp, cable 65 cm x 45 cm

Photos by Natalia Gurova, Evgeny Dedov

Sculpture, 2020

Mixed media, 180*250 cm

For her special project presented by Marcello Farabegoli at Vienna Art Week 2020, Natalia Gurova created a site-specific installation for the Red Carpet showroom Altes Landgut (Old Manor), which is situated in the U1 subway station with the same name.

With regard to Vienna Art Week's motto "Living Rituals," Gurova did research on the site where the subway station has been since 2017. She analyzed the history of the place and the rituals that were performed at certain times. Originally a factory and brick building complex, the edifice was taken down in the 1830s in order to build a new location functioning as a casino, which was in line with other luxurious Viennese institutions such as the Tivoli in Meidling or Dommayer's Casino in Hietzing. Today, only the name of the subway station reminds of the former establishment. Relating to forms of pastime, which going to a casino entails, the artist addresses the notion of boredom, a phenomenon which manifested itself differently over the centuries.

Gurova's installation tries to tackle a history of different forms of boredom, such as spleen, melancholia or the black humor (l'humeur noire), which Louis XIV exerted when letting only certain counts sit down at dinner parties, while others had to endure a standing reception that made them get bored after a while. At the same time, excessive tea parties became a spleen that created drug-like exuberance in 17th century England. The Russian version of melancholia can be found in the 1859 novel Oblomov, in which a nobleman experiences fatigue and has to find techniques such as his daily afternoon nap to come to terms with an abundance of time. A non-conformist, he even denied social gatherings and preferred idling around the whole day.

The circular shape of the sculpture has differently inserted levels or racks, where objects are placed, questioning whether notions of boredom have changed over the centuries and which new forms have evolved to protract time. Today, the phenomenon of public transport represented by the subway station equally leads to moments of dullness. Moreover, with the different lockdowns that have been imposed over the past months, the repetitive moments of daily routine didn't allow for much diversification and created new forms of boredom nobody would have anticipated. Gurova thus links the site and its historical implications with current moments of artistic thought and invites passers-by to linger and contemplate.

Walter Seidl

Urticina eques reflex - pet me not come back tomorrow
Sculpture, 2020

Silicone, metal, 250 cm x 70 cm

Silicone is often used in filmmaking to create masks that resemble human skin. Questioning the topic of touch regarding conscious and unconscious touch nora aaron scherer and Natalia Gurova used silicone to create a sculpture with a surface that looks like it wants to be touched - a colourful candy-like invitation. At the same time, there is something alienating to it. They are using this moment of confusion to rethink ways of safe touching. Framed by a metal container the sculpture allows a change of perspective and connection if you stand in front of each other divided by the see-through silicone skin.

Cellar of cells
Sculptures, 2019

Mixed media, 30*50 cm

Second skin

Sculpture, 2019

Mixed media, 100*70 cm

Silhouettes of love

Sculpture, 2019

Metal, 55*55 cm

Sculpture, installation, 2019

Mixed media, 40*110 cm

The subject of time and space could be considered in terms of visual changes. Nothing is eternal or static. The space is so unique. It is reminiscent of the temple of science. Walls couldn't be touched, and nothing can be changed. It has to stay as it is. Everything is gigantic and microscopic that couldn't be embraced by common sense. Sciences have a high level of abstraction. People trust numbers. Numbers are unseen and untouched. Things in itself. Numbers and signs could measure a lot of events and entities. Emotions and thoughts, feelings were inspected and dissect as well, but it's hard to create an equal measuring instrument for them. Everything is about the matter and looking for the matter. Nothing and everything. Secrets of the universe and our origin are still not dissected and hardly materialised. To create a frozen in time alien is a very abstract thing. But to make a representation of it is possibly materializable. Life will touch and change it soon.
Sculpture, installation, 2019

Mixed media, 60*140 cm

Photosynthesis is the most uncomplicated process of energy transformation and an example of light-dependent reactions. The life of a flower is a cycle of consuming, transforming, growing and dying.

The project involves modelling an existing form, inspired by the cycle of birth and decay, resulting in an object with an ambiguous origin. An aim was to render organic form through an urban-utopian prism and to investigate the mutation of natural and machine-like form.

The flowers of evil is a book by Charles Baudelaire. It includes notions like Spleen, decadence, the term of beauty, the motif of disgrace and decay. For Baudelaire, it becomes a kind of gestural language, a poetic medium. The notion of grace for him is neither presentation nor representation, but something like an artificial alternative to birth.
Baudelaire says nature is a system of perpetual analogies in which one thing always corresponds to another — physical objects to each other (colonnades in a temple, for example, to trees in the forest).

The cycle of decay:
Flowers do not age honestly like leaves, which lose nothing of their beauty, even after they have died. (G. Bataille, Visions of Excess). Flowers wither, and they die on stems that seemed to carry them to the clouds.

Photo credits: Maria Sizikova

The Seesaw / Die Wippe
Sculpture, 3 m*50 cm, wood, metal, color, 2017

How to use:

  1. Sit alone, sit together, sit a group
  2. Use swings for measuring narcissism
  3. Imagine childhood and think of the uncanny
  4. Forget about the playground
  5. Set up swings in front of your house, on the square, at the bus stop, near the Parliament building, at a party
  6. Use them as a tool for co-dependence fun
  7. Try to reach the highest point and speed
  8. Think about Dr Frankenstein and his creation
  9. Try to embrace the now
  10. Try again

Circuit Game
Das Weisse Haus, Vienna, 2017
Sculpture and board game at the same time

135*85 mdf table, 2 m metal hanger, 3 helmets, micro computers, objects given by scientists, LHC map, loudspeakers.

This project grew out of a student trip to the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. During the visit, the students conversed with scientists, visited various parts of CERN, explored the workshops where parts for measuring instruments are made. They also descended below the ground to see the world's largest computer – a huge machine created to help discover the small particles that the Universe consist of. The work that stemmed from this trip is an interactive board game, assembled from objects donated by CERN scientists as well as found at CERN, symbolically and practically connected with the scientists' lives. The playing field is a scheme of the Collider. Game zones represent life sphere's of an average scientist who is trying to find a solution to the origin of life, and also is dreaming about receiving the Nobel Prize. To create this work, the artist conducted several interviews with various CERN scientists. Each part of the playing field contains a button on which one can click and listen to an excerpt from these interviews. Scientists talk not only about particle physics, but also about the ups and downs of their career, personal life, fears and hopes.

Video documentation →

Photo credits: Peter Kainz, Natalia Gurova

Seize or Invoke
Spatial installation, Paulusplatz 5, Ortsbezogene Kunst department, University of Applied Arts, Vienna. 2017
Red walls, set of light, newspaper collage, bench.

This work is the result of a reflection about the eerie, undetected gaze and the hidden. The work began with a series of black and white analogue shots Vienna streetscapes, which often seem deserted, uninviting and hiding something. Many places and areas in Vienna look very calm and respectable, although it is likely that many of them witnessed acts of crime and violence. In almost every residential area, something of the sort has happened as some point, possibly in every home. Banal crimes motivated by jealousy or alcohol addiction.

The artist wanted to reconstruct and re-imagine the fact of a crime that happened next to the gallery where the work was exhibited. The crime was reported by the tabloid Heute. The artist altered the typical page of this newspaper so that the viewer could draw a parallel between the crime scene and the exhibition site. To create the right atmosphere, the artist stole a bench from the street where the crime occurred, and transferred it to the gallery. The bench was deliberately damaged slightly - only by going around it one could notice the cuts. Although the bench was still usable however the intuitive desire to sit on it was lessened. The same bench is shown on the front of page of Heute.

The installation aims to confuse and makes you want to solve a riddle or become part of this puzzle. You can solve it only by comparing, matching and mentally copying the elements of the installation.

I'm a mushroom too
Video HD, 12 min, preserved artist's conk mushroom, a-crystall copy from artist's conk mushroom 33*21 cm.

Video is the result of a 2-year communication with a mycologist Gerhard Koller, who has studied mushrooms for more than 20 years. The camera follows Koller and the artist on their walk in the forest in Burgenland (Austria). The scientists point to different types of mushrooms and talks about theirs features and characteristics . An Artist Conk mushroom (Ganoderma applanatum) was also found during one of the excursions with Gerhard. The artist preserved the mushroom, and later created a gypsum copy from it. Subsequently she took it to another 'mushroom' walk. In the video both versions of the mushroom are present – the real one and its copy.

Video →
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