Cosmoscow Blog

"Series": Ulyana Podkorytova

The Cosmoscow Foundation continues the “Series” program, aimed at researching serial thinking. Last weekend - June 20 and 21 - a new graphic comics “Infodemia” appeared on Instagram, created by the young Russian artist Ulyana Podkorytova.

Three real news, found by Podkorytova on the Internet that at the same time looked most improbable, barely distinguished from fake, were taken as its basis. The absurdity of what is happening in the comics is a reaction to the overabundance of the information field.

The character Gertruda Rude, who in Podkorytova's comics usually performs ironic feats based on fake news, in this story appears indirectly, as a defender, while Babushka-Ventriloquist becomes the main character. As a reflection of Podkorytova about the infodemia that accompanies the coronavirus pandemic that engulfed the humanity, the series addresses the absurd state of the contemporary media field, where truth and fiction can no longer be distinguished and news is produced only to support the spirit of people during the pandemic or distract them from the ongoing global changes in politics and economy.

The uncontrolled spread of disinformation (infodemia) is a sign of the time, especially revealed during the coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020, when criminals sell fake COVID-19 remedies and commit cyber attacks on important electronic information storage systems, and many sources contain conspiracy-related information about the connection of 5G technology with disease. "We have to fight not only the COVID-19 epidemic, but also the "infodemia" — the spread of false information," says the WHO General Director Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.

Created by Ulyana Podkorytova character Gertruda Rude (also knows as Cockeyed) bares the Soviet heritage in her name (Gertruda is an abbreviation for "geroi truda" meaning "hero of labour", it is no accident that on the clothes of Rude a hammer and sickle are drawn). And the last name refers to the participant of OBERIU - Nikolai Oleynikov - and his pseudonym Makar Rude, who later became a character in drawn stories. With the community of writers and poets, the artist also shares a craving for the grotesque, alogism and absurdity, as one of the methods of depicting reality: her characters always get into strange situations, the plots for which the artist derives from trash news in the spirit of Express newspaper or Life news. However, in her works Ulyana Podkorytova combines contemporary and traditional folklore: the artist explores the ethnography of the Russian North, combines lubok, icon painting and Arkhangelsk chants.

The fully graphic comics "Infodemia" is available on Instagram.

Ulyana Podkorytova was born in 1984 in Bryansk. Lives and works in Moscow. In 2017, she graduated from the Rodchenko School (Kirill Preobrazhensky's Video Art workshop). In 2016, she graduated from the Voice Laboratory at the Institute of theater directed by Natalia Pshenichnikova. She is a graduate of the faculty of graphic arts of the Moscow state university of printing named after Ivan Fedorov (2007). In 2017, she became a nominee of the Innovation state prize in the field of contemporary art. In 2019 she took part in the international festival of debut cinema in New Holland (Saint Petersburg) and the Platonov festival of arts (Voronezh). The artist's personal exhibitions include: Cockeyed (Center of Contemporary Art Winzavod, 2016), Single Copy (Garage Museum of contemporary art, 2018), etc. She participated in the art residencies of the Gogova Foundation (Baku, 2017) and Garage Museum of contemporary art (Moscow, 2019), etc.