Ksenia Kopalova

Ksenia Kopalova (Russia) 11/2018

Vecchia Casa (‘old house’)

Graniti is a small community with lots of abandoned and unused houses spread around the city. During the residency I was staying in one of such places: old-fashioned nightstands and clumsy cupboards in half-empty rooms, photos of the family who lived here, the newest dating back to 80-s… I was literally living in a ‘haunted mansion’ and witnessing the afterlife of these objects, the ones that once kept the warmth of human presence but are now silently getting rusty and shabby.

Impressed by the experience of living in such a place, I have created a set of wooden dolls inspired by the shapes of this retro-style furniture and household objects, and placed them onto the walls of an abandoned house in the center of the town, by the San Basilio church.

The doors of this abandoned house are all boarded up. It’s been about 40-50 years since the owners left it, and the citizens were using one of them to place death notices on it. The town council was searching for a way to get rid of those, and allowed me to mount the dolls there.

My work though is probably a form of a ‘death notice’ of sorts as well: a way to commemorate and appreciate the life and warmth that was once present, and is still present in the old architecture, objects of interior and in the atmosphere of the town in general.

This project is an embodiment of nostalgia felt in Graniti, and an invitation to ask oneself, what is ‘home’? And what is it like to leave home?

The characters that I have developed are also the ‘citizens’ of Graniti: each has a name and their own story:

Ksenia firmly believes in the transformative power of illustration as a tool for research and a means of generating knowledge, transcending the boundaries of specific mediums. This philosophy underpins both her independent research and her teaching practice.

For the past 6 years, Ksenia has been sharing her expertise as a teacher in various esteemed institutions. She has taught on the MA Comics program at HSE Art and Design School, as well as on the BA Illustration program at the British Higher School of Art and Design. Her passion for nurturing young talent has also led her to teach at institutions like the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, Prostaya Shkola, and other renowned art schools.

Beyond teaching, Ksenia is a co-founder of Slonvboa, an independent magazine dedicated to exploring illustration within a wider cultural context. Through this platform, she strives to provide a comprehensive perspective on the art form. Additionally, Ksenia writes about contemporary Japanese illustration in her blog, aptly named IINE!

In her professional practice, Ksenia’s commissioned work is represented by The Bright Agency, an esteemed agency that champions talented artists in the industry. With her remarkable skills and unique perspective, she continues to make a significant impact in the world of illustration.