Until the Word is Gone
An experimental outdoor installation created by artist Sergey Katran and curated by Irene Kukota, Until the Word is Gone features twenty-six terracotta sculptures created between 2016 -2021 and embodies sound waves of the word “art,” uttered in dead, endangered and living languages (among them are Wichita USA, Pushtu, Gujarati, Finnish, Japanese, Tibetan, Armenian, French, Kazakh, Baoulé, Arabic, Crimean Tatar, Tangut, Nabati, Hebrew, Turkish, Hebrew, German, English, Old Icelandic and many others). A similar installation is on permanent display in Normandy at Les Jardins d’ Étretat, overlooking Monet’s picturesque cliffs, which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage view.
The installation is an in-depth cross-disciplinary project at the intersection of linguistics, art, ethnography and anthropology. It is an exploration of the nature of human language and origins of human civilisation. It is believed that first art forms appeared at least 30,000 years ago and the emergence of the word “art” marked transition to an important new stage in human evolution. There is also a strong evidence of a neurological relationship between visual creativity and language. Referring to this, the project investigates the correlation between meaning and visual representation, as the word “art” assumes shapes of multiple phonetic sound waves, transformed into terracotta sculptures. Whilst encouraging the awareness of humanity’s shared linguistic heritage, the project also reminds of the endangered indigenous languages, which, sadly, continue to disappear. The sculptures embody the fragility of human civilisation and vulnerability of the cultural heritage subject to the destruction caused by wars, natural disasters, and climate change.
About Sergey Katran
Sergey Katran was born in Nikopol, Ukraine. In 1992, he obtained his first degree in Natural Sciences at the Krivoy Rog State Pedagogical Institute. His major subjects were biology and chemistry. He later moved to Moscow, where he received his Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts. Katran is a versatile artist who experiments with Science Art and BioArt, and works in a variety of media, such as installation, sculpture, performance, and video. His practice is grounded in recent scientific and technological findings. In 2012, he became the recipient of the Lomonosov Art Prize for intellectual contribution to contemporary art (the Prize was established by the Faculty of Philosophy, Moscow State University) and in 2019, he was elected as permanent jury member of the Tretyakov Prize.
Sergey Katran’s artworks can be found in museum, private and corporate art collections, such as: Luciano Benetton’s collection Imago Mundi in Treviso, Italy, under the auspices of the Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche; Les Jardins d’ Étretat, Normandy, France; State Russian Museum, St Petersburg; the NCCA (National Centre for Contemporary Art), Moscow, and others.