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On View

Stephen Hilyard

Каtюша (Katyusha)

Three channel video piece based on the story of Pyramida, a show-case community established by the Soviet Union in the high Arctic.

Stephen Hilyard. Каtюша (Katyusha), 2015. Video still.

At its peak Pyramida was home to more than 1000 coal miners and their families. It was evacuated in two days in 1998 leaving a ghost town. Катюша presents three characters who personify different aspects of Pyramida – The Guide (a gray sea bird) & two Lovers. Time becomes unreliable as the viewer jumps back and forth uncontrollably between two time periods. In the 1980s the lovers meet as adolescent young pioneers in the idyllic summer forests of the Ukraine. After the evacuation a mysterious love token is left behind on the tundra amongst the empty shells of Pyramida. The third unspoken time period is only hinted at – always skipped over, never shown – the time that the lovers spent living happily in a town built of dreams at the end of the world. The lonely voice of a Soviet “numbers station” recites the names of the missing.


About the Artist

Stephen Hilyard creates artwork in a wide range of media. A common theme in his work is the paradoxical nature of our impulse towards the profound – at once both sincere at an emotional level whilst remaining wholly mediated by our culture. Hilyard’s work has been exhibited internationally, including galleries in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis, London, Berlin, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Dubai, Sao Paulo, Riga, Perth and Sydney. Hilyard’s practice has been supported by The Huntington Library, The Harpo Foundation, The American Scandinavian Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Wisconsin Arts Board and the Minnesota State Arts Board.