It’s after midnight in Brooklyn, and Julia Sinelnikova is the very picture of a psychedelic pixie as she dances her way through an underground rave that throbs with hypnotic drumbeats and the gyrations of electronic-music revelers. The multimedia artist is dressed in neon hues that reflect the colors emanating from Mere Angel, a moving light sculpture she created to set the mood for the event. She estimates that it took her about a month to assemble the intricate figure, attaching hundreds of hand-cut Mylar, resin, and acrylic pieces to two silver globes.
This is the latest installment in a series she refers to as Fairy Organs, all composed of similar materials. Each sculpture emits a captivating range of shadows and colors in response to minute changes in the viewer’s perspective. This serves as an apt metaphor for how our own identities tend to fluctuate in a world where we can capriciously contrive digital personas for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and where radical cosmetic procedures can be performed seamlessly. “It’s fascinating that today we can swap out different organs and body parts for new ones, almost treating them as accessories,” Sinelnikova marvels.
Her light displays are not just a tool for illustrating abstract social issues, though. She wants them to leave a more physical impression on viewers. “I really want my (art) to have the maximum effect on people and for them to be able to interact with it,” she asserts. To model this, Sinelnikova has produced a number of videos in which she dances alongside her sculptures in a synthesis of color, light, and movement.
Sinelnikova’s Fairy Organs have been showcased several times recently, as have her Crystal Fragments, another series of pieces; both incorporate a variety of plastic materials with projected light effects. In January her resin sculptures appeared in Magick Show, a group exhibition at the Galerie Protégé in Manhattan, and at a New Year’s Eve event hosted by the Brooklyn Night Bazaar.
Her work at these venues was inspired by her conviction that “new ideas serve as a vector into the future,” which she shares with her associates at Vector Gallery. Contrary to its name, the Lower East Side location isn’t so much of a showroom as a gathering place for a spiritual tribe that through art and music seeks to create a darkly religious experience; in fact, the group refers to the place as “The Antichrist” and “The Official Art Gallery of Satan.” It has become an especially fertile environment for innovation, and last November, Sinelnikova and her cohort recreated their worship space for Art Basel Miami Beach 2014.
Whether in league with her Vector coterie or on her own, Sinelnikova is committed to finding new ways to amplify the impact of her light displays. Her techniques for achieving this have yet to be unveiled but are likely to include throwing herself into the mix. Standing on the sidelines is not an option for this artist; she’s a sculptor and a dancer with contagious and visceral enthusiasm for her work. That much is clear every time she starts to cavort in the twinkling neon light of her Fairy Organs.